WINSTED >> The Gilbert/Northwestern Yellowjackets held on to defeat Housatonic/Wamogo on the final play on Thanksgiving morning to win the 29th Berkshire Bowl, 27-22.
“Out of all the teams we played this year, I respect you guys the most, you never quit,” said Yellowjackets head coach Scott Salius to the Mountaineers during the trophy ceremony after the game.
This was the first varsity game the Mountaineers played since Oct. 19 after forfeiting five straight games due to low numbers because of injuries.
“Nobody here can be more proud of you guys,” Housatonic/Wamogo head coach, Deron Bayer told his team after the game. “I love you guys, excellent, excellent job.”
The coaches weren’t the only two impressed with the Mountaineers effort.
“You got to give them all of the credit, to come out here after the season they had and play in this game,” said senior quarterback John Lippincott. “This is an important game and like we always say they never quit.”
The Yellowjackets came into the game with a Class M playoff spot already locked up and rested most of its starters throughout the game, the number one defense didn’t play once during the game.
“When our starters were in they showed what they can do,” said Salius. “We were able to give all the kids on the team a taste of the Thanksgiving tradition.”
Gilbert/Northwestern jumped out to a 20-0 lead in the third quarter on two Tony Ortiz runs and one by Seth Dayton. After a 1-yard touchdown run by Mountaineers quarterback Chance O’Neil, Lippincott took a quarterback sneak 48-yards for another Yellowjackets touchdown extending the lead to 27-6.
After Lippincott’s touchdown run, Salius removed his first offense and that was when the Mountaineers began its comeback. Nick Camardi took a handoff 55-yards for the score, which was followed up by a O’Neil pass to Justin Dean for the two-point conversion. O’Neil scrambled back 20-yards, breaking two tackles before finding Dean alone in the end zone.
Yellowjackets’ backup quarterback Jarret Klebe fumbled the ball on fourth and inches giving the ball back to the Mountaineers at mid field. O’Neil orchestrated another touchdown drive, a 13-yard touchdown to Rob Whipple. O’Neil ran in the two-point conversion to cut the deficit to five, 27-22.
The Mountaineers attempted an onside kick, which was recovered by the Yellowjackets. After backup quarterback Jarret Klebe took a knee to run out the clock, the Mountaineers called a timeout. On the next snap the Yellowjackets fumbled giving the ball back to the Mountaineers with 30 seconds left in the game.
“After we kept turning the ball over we were very nervous at the end of the game, we were giving the ball right back to them,” said Salius.
O’Neil then completed two passes, but time was not on Housatonic/Wamogo’s side as the clock ran out and the game was over.
“We were a little bit nervous. We were just hoping to get a lead early and hold on.” said Yellowjackets running back, Tony Ortiz who had 139-yards and two touchdowns on just 10 carries. “It’s a nice finish for our last home game.”
The Yellowjackets season is not over yet as they are the No. 6 seed in the Class M Tournament and will take on the No. 3 seed Joel Barlow at a time and place not yet determined.
“We’ve done some advanced scouting on a couple of teams that we can get,” said Salius. “We are going to spend three good days to get ready.”
Gilbert/Northwestern 27 Housatonic/Wamogo 22
At Gilbert High School
Gilbert/Northwestern 0 14 13 – 27
Housatonic/Wamogo 0 0 6 16 – 22
GN – 13-yard run by Tony Ortiz (Joe Columbie kick good)
GN – 34-yard run by Tony Ortiz (Columbie kick good)
GN – 17-yard run by Seth Dayton (kick no good)
HW – 1-yard run by Chance O’Neil (two-point fail)
GN – 48-yard run by John Lippincott (Columbie kick good)
HW – 55-yard run by Nick Camardi (two-point good, Chance O’Neil pass to Justin Dean)
HW – 13-yard pass from Chance O’Neil to Rob Whipple (two-point good, O’Neil run)
Passing Stats: GN – John Lippincott 3-7, 72-yards. HW – Chance O’Neil 5-11, 43-yards, 1 touchdown; Steven Kopeno 1-1, 20-yards; Nick Camardi 0-1.
Rushing Stats: GN – Tony Ortiz 10 for 139-yards, 2 touchdowns; John Lippincott 4 for 96-yards, 1 touchdown; Seth Dayton 2 for 21-yards, 1 touchdown; Jake Roth 5 for 19-yards; Jack Weber 2 for 16-yards; Nick Mussen 5 for 15-yards; Luc Mussen 2 for 6-yards; Jarret Klebe 2 for -17-yards. HW – Nick Camardi 5 for 88-yards; Chance O’Neil 27 for 80-yards, 1 touchdown; Steven Kopeno 9 for 25-yards; Kenny Weaver 1 for 5-yards.
Receiving: GN – Paxton Lewis-Franklin 2 catches for 52-yards; Seth Dayton 1 catch for 20-yards. HW: Rob Whipple 3 catches for 27-yards, 1 touchdown; Chance O’Neil 1 catch for 20-yards; Nick Camardi 1 catch for 9-yards; Kenny Weaver 1 catch for 7-yards.
Records: Gilbert/Northwestern 9-2, Housatonic/Wamogo 0-11.