NORTH ADAMS -- Half the plays on McCann Tech quarterback Justin Cote's wrist were passing plays. Coach Bob LeClair had every intention to come out throwing the ball, but the weather dictated otherwise in the first half.
McCann had its choice of run or pass in the second half, but decided to stick with the ground game. It paid off as John LeClair scored from 47 and 3 yards out in the fourth quarter to break a tie and give McCann an opening-week win, 18-6 over Ware.
"The offense was a little slow in the beginning, but I blame the weather for that because we had some passing plays we wanted to open up with, but it wasn't going to work," Cote said.
McCann had the ball for just five snaps in the third quarter and gained no yards. The defense seemed porous until T.J. Therrien broke though the line on first-and-10 from the McCann 16 and tackled Zered McCoy for a 4-yard loss. Ware had moved the ball from its own 22 with no negative plays until that one. Two incompletions and a 1-yard run later and the defense had stopped the threat after Ware controlled the ball for 6 minutes, 34 seconds.
"It was a big changing point right there. Before that, we didn't really have much going for us," John LeClair said. "It was kind of a back-and-forth game. Right there was right where it changed."
The defense had bought the offense some more time to figure things out. It did just that in the fourth quarter.
The second play of the
McCann took advantage of great field position on its next offensive series. Starting on the McCann 25, the offense needed just five plays to triple its lead. Therrien picked up a crucial third-and-5 from the 14, which allowed LeClair to punch it in two plays later from the 3. He had more than made up for his first-half fumble, which set up Ware's only score.
"[The difference is] our conditioning," Bob LeClair said. "I just think that the work ethic that we have and what we make these guys do pays off in the third and fourth quarters. Our guys weren't fatigued or anything like that, and I think that's a testament to what we do."
For as well as the offense played in the fourth quarter, the first half was a grind.
The Hornets struggled to win the line of scrimmage and the backs struggled to find open lanes. They gained just 41 yards on their first three drives and were trailing 6-0 late in the half. Then McCann got a surge of energy from its vocal leader.
After John LeClair gained a modest two yards on first-and-10, McCann went to the no-huddle offense, and it worked. T.J. Therrien took the handoff, broke through the line, shed a few would-be tacklers and was off 50 yards to the end zone.
"[The hole] was wide open. I saw daylight and I took it. That was the spark we needed to get going," Therrien said.
"First win, it's the first step to being undefeated, that's just how we look at it. We got to keep going. We're going to keep improving, and I think we'll be a threat this year."
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