Wood's sacks preserve MAU's second straight win

BENNINGTON — In a game where offense was at a premium, it was the Mount Anthony defense that put the Patriots over the top.

Linebacker Shane Wood had a pair of sacks in the final minute to preserve Mount Anthony's 6-0 win over North Country on Friday night at Spinelli Field.

With 1:43 left in the fourth quarter and North Country down by six, junior quarterback Alex Haugwitz tried to lead a game-winning drive. Starting at midfield, he completed a pair of passes, the second good for 12 yards and a first down.

His next two throws were incomplete, the last one nearly picked off by Mickey Bernard. He ran for three yards setting up 4th and 7 at the Mount Anthony 30.

He scrambled right, but Wood caught him and flung him down to take over on downs with 52.6 seconds left.

"Our defense didn't do well in Week 1, giving up 60 to Fair Haven," said MAU coach Chad Gordon. "But we challenged them and they've stepped up, only allowing seven last week and pitching a shutout tonight."     

North Country had one more chance in the dying seconds after MAU's next drive netted minus-13 yards. One play from the 40 with one second to go, Haugwitz looked for a receiver, but MAU had them all covered up, allowing Wood to get in for another sack, a walk-off in this case, and give MAU the victory, its second-straight for the first time in three seasons.

"Big players step up in big moments," Gordon said. "Shane has really been a leader. And he doesn't get those sacks unless the coverage is there, and those guys did a great job."

The only score of the night came on Mount Anthony's first possession of the second half.

Starting at midfield, MAU quarterback Will Fischer led a 12-play drive, all on the ground. Eventually, on 4th-and-goal from the 1, Fischer snuck in behind his big offensive line to give MAU the lead.

During the drive, Fischer had a big 15-yard run on first down and Wood came up with an 8-yard run on 4th-and-2 in the red zone. He fumbled, but Jake Harkins jumped on it to help MAU keep possession.

"Will was a little banged up in the first quarter, we try to get things off of him, and it started to loosen up later on," Gordon said. "It was a wet field and we were trying to protect the ball. We've been preaching to believe in your teammates and move on when bad things happen and I think we're doing that."

Fischer had 77 yards rushing on the night on 21 carries.

Mount Anthony improves to 2-1 and faces Milton on the road next Friday.

Gordon said he was pleased that the crowd was a big one, something the Patriots haven't had in recent years.

"We have the Kates Krazies in basketball, our student section is the 12th man," Gordon said. "I get pumped up and so do the kids. It's great to give them a product they can root for."


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