DALTON -- Tyrell Thomas picked a great time to score his first high school football touchdown.
Trailing 16-6 with all the momentum in the Berkshire County title game leaning Wahconah’s way, Mount Greylock needed a big play. Thomas took care of it when he fielded a kickoff at his own 35 and took it all the way to the Warriors’ end zone. The tally brought the Mounties within two points of the Warriors and swung the momentum the other direction. Greylock was able to build off that momentum to take a lead and win its third straight Berkshire County championship, 22-16 over Wahconah.
"That was huge for us," running back Ethan Ryan said. "It really just killed their momentum. I felt we were starting to die out there and we really needed that to bring us back and get us in the game."
Until that point, the Warriors had forced the Mounties to put the ball on the ground five times and had taken it away twice. Lane Grogan had just fired his second touchdown pass of the night, this one to Jordan Fiske, and things were looking bleak for the Mounties.
"I think it woke my team up, before that we were really hanging our heads," Thomas said. "We really let them get in our heads and we forgot what we came here to do. It was only the first half, so the game wasn’t over, but we needed something like that."
Aside from the 65-yard touchdown return, the Mounties had a first half most of them would rather forget. They had fumbled five times and lost two. They committed four penalties for 40 yards. Quarterback Brodie Altiere was 0 for 3 in the passing game. Ryan had just 63 yards on 10 carries. Grogan completed 6 of 9 passes for 62 yards, and two touchdowns.
Then Thomas had the return and things turned around. The Mounties forced Wahconah to turn the ball over on downs on the next drive and Ryan finished the half with two carries totaling 40 yards.
"That [return] brought us back," coach Shawn Flaherty said. "I felt like we were still in the game, and what, we were [down 16-6] at that time, I just felt like we were losing them.
"You can talk, you can say what you want to say, but nothing makes up for it like a big play like that. Tyrell really bailed us out and brought the team back."
Thomas had another game-changing play late in the fourth quarter. With Ryan on the sideline because of a cramp in his leg and the Mounties facing a third-and-8 from their own 38, Thomas stepped up again -- make that jumped up.
Altiere struggled to complete passes throughout the game, going 0 for 3 up that point. The freshman quarterback dropped back and let a pass go just before getting hit. The pass appeared as though it was going to sail high over Thomas’ head. Then the basketball star took over.
"I used my basketball skills for that one," the junior said. "I acted like I was going up for a rebound. I went up there, grabbed it and secured it to the ground."
The catch was good enough to net the Mounties a first down. They weren’t able to completely kill the clock with that drive, but ran the clock down to 4:20 before giving the ball back to Wahconah.
Grogan was just 3 for 8 in the second half and was sacked twice. The Warriors gained just 80 yards in the second half.
Ryan finished the game with 151 yards on 18 carries and two touchdowns and helped the Mounties grab a little revenge for the loss the Warriors handed them on Oct. 26. That loss snapped the Mounties 33-game winning streak.
Mount Greylock 22, Wahconah 16
Greylock 6 8 8 0 -- 22
Wahconah 0 16 0 0 -- 16
MG -- Ethan Ryan 1 run (Pass failed), 6:58.
W -- Darrow Brown 16 pass from Lane Grogan (Jordan Fiske pass from Grogan), 3:56.
W -- Fiske 15 pass from Grogan (Ethan Wells run), 1:25.
MG -- Tyrell Thomas 72 kick return (Ryan run), 1:13.
MG -- Ryan 4 run (Ryan run), 6:48.
First Downs 9 11
Rushes-yards 32-187 26-141
Passing yards 14 92
Comp-att-int 1-4-0 8-18-0
Fumbles-lost 5-2 2-1
Penalties-yards 6-50 5-25
RUSHING -- Greylock: Ethan Ryan 18-151, Davion Clement
5-19, Brodie Altiere 1-5, Eric Leitch 1-13, Michael McCormack 7-9. Wahconah: Lane Grogan 15-71, Darrow Brown 4-2, Ethan Wells 7-68.
PASSING -- Greylock: Altiere 1-4-0-14. Wahconah: Grogan 8-18-0-92.
RECEIVING -- Greylock: Tyrell Thomas 1-14. Wahconah: Codi Arthur 1-4, Wells 1-17, Brown 3-19, Jordan Fiske 4-52.
For complete coverage of the Berkshire County Championship game, see Friday’s edition.