WILLIAMSTOWN -- The Mount Greylock football team has been here before. When the postseason rolls around, the team heads to artificial turf fields.
MIAA rules require all postseason football games to be on artificial turf fields. The Mounties have experienced a wealth of success on the turf in the past. The Mounties have played at Mahar Regional High School three years in a row at the semifinal level and are 3-0 at that site. This weekend's Western Massachusetts Division III Super Bowl is at Westfield State University. The Mounties are 2-0 in the title game at Westfield in the past two seasons.
That success could be in part to a practice tradition the Mounties have developed when postseason play rolls around. Coach Shawn Flaherty takes his team to Williams College to practice on the Enzie Lamb Field to get a feel for the turf.
"I feel like it adds a lot to the game," Flaherty said. "We go to Williams to practice and have the last few years, just to give the kids a feel for the fields."
The practices on a turf field apparently are helping. Not only are the Mounties perfect the past few seasons in the playoffs, but they also put up a state playoff record 62 points on Tuesday night.
"I don't know if you can see it in the game, but our team is just used to it," running back Ethan Ryan said. "A lot of kids come off grass and onto turf and they don't know what it is like. It's a little more of a solid ground. You can make cuts faster on it and things like that. It's just another way coach Flaherty gets us prepared, as always."
A turf field provides a smoother surface for the players. On a grass field, the weather can play a big role on the field conditions.
Greylock spent Thursday and Friday on the turf at Williams.
"Playing on the turf is just a faster game," senior Tyler Picard said. "I feel like you need to get used to it. You need to get used to running on it, tackling on it and being tackled on it. I really think practicing at Williams helps us."
Being tackled on a turf field is different because of the surface. The field is solid so it does not give as much when a player is driven into the ground. That same solid surface allows players to be faster. Because the field is solid, a player's cleat doesn't dig into the ground like it would in grass, allowing him to make sharper cuts and pick his feet up faster.
If a 62-0 rout in the semifinal against Greenfield is any indication of how much the Mounties like turf fields, Belchertown could be in for a long day Saturday. The team accumulated 491 on the ground, with Ryan earning 286 of those.
"I like the turf a little more," Ryan said. "When I cut it doesn't dig in as deep so I can pick my foot up a little bit faster and get going better."