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Beavers Bound for the Postseason

Glenn Arnold gave his family a few hours on Thanksgiving Day.
After beating Nipmuc to close out the regular season 8-3 and on the strength of five straight victories, the Valley Tech head football coach took a little time to enjoy food and family before turning his attention right back to that other "F" in his life. The Beavers impressive finish to the year was enough to qualify the team for the Division Three play-offs, and Arnold and his coaching staff would have less than a week to prepare for the opening game against Narragansett.
"We had a rough stretch in our schedule to open up the season," he said. "But the kids really followed through every week and got ready and showed me they were ready to go."
The Beavers began the year 3-3with wins over Tri-County, Assabet, and Maynard and losses against Littleton, Bay Path, and Grafton. In the Assabet and Maynard games, Arnold saw his team pick up two victories by a combined three points, something he said highlights a big difference in this year's team.
"This team has really learned how to win the tough games," he said. "There was no hesitation when the team was down to get a big score or stop whereas in the past we would get down and it would seem like that was it or we would be up and then give up a late score."
The Beavers' loss to Grafton would be the final defeat of the regular season as the team rolled to the second best record in program history. For awhile, it didn't seem like the Beavers would even give up another point, let alone lose a game. Valley tech pitched shutouts against Nashoba Tech, Worcester Tech, and Keefe Tech. When the defense finally allowed the opposition to get on the scoreboard, it was in garbage time, as Monty Tech scored twice late in a 39-12 Beaver victory.
Arnold said the defensive effort starts with senior corner back Ryan Leshinski. "We would always just put him on the other teams' best receiver," said Arnold. "When you can lock in a defensive back on a wide out, it really helps out the rest of the defense."
Valley Tech capped off the regular season with the 24-16 win over Nipmuc. It was a game were senior fullback Matt Gendron and junior tailback Julian Picard stole much of the show on offense. But Arnold said quarterback Dan Avery showed how vital he is to the Beaver attack. "He doesn't make many throws," Arnold said of the junior signal caller. "But the plays he makes are big plays, often third down conversions when we need him to make the play and he does."
And the Valley Tech team as a whole made enough plays to win eight games and earn a post-season bid and a shot at its first Super Bowl since winning it all in 2006. The success may have caught some Central Mass football observers by surprise, but Arnold envisioned this team right where it ended up. "I thought if we stayed healthy, we could be where we are," he said. "We got off to a slow start, but given all that happened, I am very pleased with where we've come."




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