By Chris Piscioneri
01:05AM / Saturday, September 21, 2013
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Turnovers are an offense's worst nightmare and a defense's best friend.
The Mount Greylock Mounties (2-1) found themselves in a nightmare early Friday as two turnovers put them behind by two touchdowns before the end of the first quarter and two more in the fourth quarter halted their last chances for a comeback.
Hoosac Valley would take the win 20-12 against the home team.
The play that started it all for Hoosac Valley (3-0) was on their second possession of the game, on fourth down the Hurricanes were forced to punt and senior Brandon "Scooter" Tworig was able to catch up to the ball as it bounced towards the end zone and down it inside the Mountie's one-yard line.
"I just ran as fast as I could and hoped for the best," said Tworig when I asked him how he was able to catch up to the punt. That hustle by Tworig turned out to be huge for Hoosac as Mount Greylock fumbled on their second play, giving the Hurricanes first and goal on the three-yard line.
On the next play, Hoosac's Tyler Mach punched into the endzone giving Hoosac an early 7-0 lead with a minute to go in the first quarter.
But he wasn't done yet. On Mount Greylock's second play of their next drive, quarterback Brodie Altiere rolled right and with heavy pressure, tried to throw the ball away but it ended up right in the hands of Mach who sprinted up the sideline 60 yards and into the endzone to put his team up 13-0 with eight seconds still left in the quarter.
"We wish we could have that interception back and obviously the fumble on the three," said Mount Greylock head coach Shawn Flaherty. "It definitely hurt us. You can't spot Hoosac 13. That makes it real tough, especially with the team that Hoosac's got this year. So it made it a real challenge for us."
This year's Hoosac Valley team showed off a high amount of offensive firepower in the first two games of the season but on Friday night they made a statement that their defense is just as strong. Four total takeaways for the Hurricanes included three interceptions and the one fumble recovery.
"Turnovers are always going to hurt you," Flaherty added. "That's what we always say. Turnovers are going to lose you the game. We had our backs up against the wall and we felt like we could throw and we needed to. Unfortunately we had the interceptions instead of completions."
Trailing 20-6 heading into the fourth quarter, the Mounties had a chance to put another score on the board with plenty of time remaining for the defense to get the ball back. That's when Tworig came up with his second huge play of the game. An overthrown pass by Altiere surprised him and after juggling the ball a few times he was able to corral it, giving the Hurricanes the ball back.
"I didn't expect the ball to come to me on that one at all," Tworig said.
"Tworig did a great job," added Hoosac Valley head coach Dayne Poirot. "He made some big plays tonight. In games like this you expect seniors to come to come out and make big plays and step up. Scooter did that."
Tworig made some crucial plays for his Hurricane squad that helped put them in a position to control the game. But perhaps the two biggest plays that sealed the deal for Hoosac Valley were made by a sophomore and a junior. Jameson Coughlin a sophomore for the Hurricanes came up with the team's fourth turnover of the game when he picked off Altiere with two minutes and 42 seconds left in the game.
Three plays later it was junior running back Mach who rumbled for six yards on fourth and three with a minute to go giving Hoosac a fresh set of downs to run the clock out.
Despite having a 20 point lead at half-time, Hoosac's offense made some key mistakes of their own that could have cost them the game if it wasn't for Tworig and Coughlin's interceptions. After Tworig's interception at the start of the fourth quarter, the Hurricanes were knocking on the door again with a first and goal from the nine-yard line. A bad snap flew over Hurricane quarterback Matt Koperniak's head and was scooped up by Greylock's Matt Malloy who returned it to the 46. In just a minute and half, the Mountie's were in the endzone cutting the lead to just eight.
"I'm extremely proud of the kids and the way that they handled themselves from half-time on," said Flaherty. "To make that kind of comeback, it's unfortunate we fell short. I think we are going to take a ton from this game. I feel like this will be a defining game for us and it's going to be positive for us."
For Hoosac, Poirot was very proud of how his team played but also talked about how they can still get better.
"We had a big lead and we got to learn to maintain that. They're a good team. Good teams don't get down when they get down by three scores like that. You know, we made some big plays to get us ahead. So we need to keep pushing. I felt like we might have let up a little but those are things we got to work on. Those are things we can learn from a game like this."
"We might see them again," added Tworig. "So, we just got to keep working."