Mountaineers fall to Falcons, 17-14
Life is full of certainties. They include taxes, death, and now add bad weather when the Housatonic/Wamogo Mountaineers football team hosts the Avon Falcons. Two years ago, a monsoon-like rainfall dumped four inches of rain on the homecoming proceedings. Mother Nature decided to take things up a notch for Saturday’s game, of course, and dumped a heavy snow on the two teams during Avon’s 17-14 double overtime win over the host Mountaineers again on homecoming weekend.Falcon junior Will DeStefano capitalized on one of Housy’s three turnovers, to kick a 23-yard field goal in the second overtime. Mountaineers head coach Deron Bayer was quick to point out the catalyst in the team’s second loss in as many games. ”Can’t have turnovers. In a game this close, you can’t turn the ball over.” While Housy gave the ball away on turnovers, their staunch defense forced the Falcons to turn the ball over on downs two times and once by a Donyell Williams interception that stopped the visitors at the Mountaineer 29-yard line on there first drive of the game.The Falcons were able to move the ball in the first half, large in part to the running of Colin Moore (45 carries for 215 yards and one touchdown), but the Mountaineer “bend but don’t break” defense was up to the task. After the Williams interception, the Mountaineers were forced to punt. On the next Falcons possession, they got down to the host 34-yard line, but again the Mountaineers defense held, this time forcing Moore out of bounds for a sack on fourth down. The key set of plays for Bayer’s defense came with 8:22 left in the first half. Avon drove down to the Housy 10-yard line setting up a first and goal. After Moore ran the ball for two short gains, Matt McElhone dropped Falcon Jimmy Murphy for a four yard loss, setting up a fourth and goal. Once again faced with a must stop scenario, the Mountaineers rose to the occasion. Williams broke up a pass attempt to thwart yet another Falcon scoring attempt, the game was scoreless at the half — and Mother Nature was about to get involved in the act.With the snow falling in the third quarter, Housy’s defense rose to the occasion again as junior John Haddon scooped up an Avon fumble and went 40 yards for the first score of the game. Jake Sutterlin (34 carries, 151 yards, one touchdown and a two-point conversion) punched in the two-point conversion and Housy led 8-0. Moore got Avon on the board late in the third quarter with a one-yard run and the two-point conversion and the game was again tied. The teams traded turnovers on each of their next possessions. Housy gave the ball up on the Avon 12, and Moore did most of the work as conditions worsened, taking the Falcons to the Mountaineers 27.Regulation time ended with a Sutterlin pass falling short and it was “Kansas tiebreaker” time — an overtime procedure in which each team is given four downs to score from the 10-yard line.Avon had the ball first and once again went to Moore, who took just two plays to score a touchdown. However, the two-point conversion falied and Housy went to work down 14-8. Sutterlin carried the ball three times to tie the game but was stood up at the goal line on the two-point try, and it was on to overtime number two, tied at 14-14.Housy got the ball first in the second frame. After a false start penalty pushed them back, Sutterlin gained two yards on a run; his pass attempt on second down fell incomplete. On third down Sutterlin got to the seven-yard line but was stripped of the ball. The stingy Mountaineer defense stopped the Falcons first three attempts, setting up a fourth down at the 6-yard line. Falcons coach Brett Quinion called for DeStafano to attempt the 23-yard field goal in the driving snow. It cleared the crossbar and gave the visitors the come from behind victory. After the game Bayer was proud of what his team had accomplished despite the outcome. “These boys rarely come off the field and they play their hearts out. Stopping Avon on four downs near the goal line was tremendous. If they had to kick a field goal to beat us, so be it.” Next up is a tough road battle against an always tough Coventry Patriots team in Coventry next Saturday. Thomas Brissett is the statistcian for the Mountaineers.