Hoosac Valley Shuts Out Mount Greylock

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires.com Sports
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CHESHIRE, Mass. -- In a game where one team piles up 530 yards and scores 36 points, you might think it would be hard to identify the key moment.
You might really be surprised to find out that moment came on defense.
But the turning point in Hoosac Valley's 36-0 win over Mount Greylock on Saturday afternoon came early in the second quarter with the Mounties looking to complete a drive to tie or take the lead.
It was fourth-and-1 at the Hoosac 6 with the Hurricanes holding a 6-0 lead. The Mounties (1-2) attempted to run over the left tackle to sustain a possession that started at their 44, but Hoosac linebacker Jameson Coughlan sniffed out the play, made a tackle just shy of the line of scrimmage and got the ball back for his team.
"It was a big play," Hoosac senior Tyler Mach said. "We knew we had to stop them -- for the game.
"If they got in, they would have picked up intensity. So it was a big stop for us, and we made big plays."
Mount Greylock's coach agreed that a score at that point could have given his team a lift.
"We had the same opportunities last week [against Monument Mountain]," Shawn Flaherty said. "We had two opportunities to punch it in last week, and unfortunately, we didn't get it. Today, it's the same story: We drive the ball effectively, we get it down here, but we can't punch it in.
"Touchdowns are emotion boosters. They change the flow of the game. I think if we punch one in down there, we've got a momentum swing, and we're still feeling like we're in this darn game."
Instead, Hoosac Valley (3-0) went 93 yards in 10 plays. The big play was a 54-yard bubble screen to the left side for Mach. The capper was a 10-yard completion from Matt Koperniak to Peter Barrow.
Mach ended up with a huge day offensively, rushing for 265 yards and a pair of touchdowns to go along with the 54 receiveing yards.
But he wasn't the whole story offensively for the Hurricanes. Koperniak ran for 59 yards and threw for 112, and Brenden Ellsworth and Avery Hall ran for 43 and 41 yards, respectively.
"We have a lot of kids who can run the ball and can do things well," Hoosac coach Dayne Poirot said. "We've been working them and working them, and we have to keep doing that. It turned out well for them where they ran hard, and they have to keep doing that rest of the season."
Mach, who has more than 400 yards and five TDs with an average of more than 15 yards per carry this fall, said the team was well prepared for its league opener.
"All week we worked hard," Mach said. "Our line did a helluva job getting upfield, making big blocks and making holes for us.
"We watched films last week. Monument got to [Greylock] outside, so we we knew we needed to do that, and that's what we did."
The third time Mach touched ball on Saturday, he took a pitch to the right, got to the edge and raced 82 yards to give Hoosac a 6-0 lead. The bubble screen that set up touchdown No. 2 went down the left sideline.
In the third quarter, a 45-yard Mach run to the left got Hoosac out of the shadow of its goal line, and a 59-yarder two plays later completed a 96-yard drive to give the 'Canes a 20-0 lead.
Mach did not touch the ball in the fourth quarter, but Hoosac scored on its last two possessions anyway: a 12-yard run by Avery Hall and a 51-yard burst up the middle by Koperniak.
While Hoosac got production from a lot of different weapons, Mount Greylock came into the game without one of its big threats and lost another on the opening possession of the third quarter, when it was still a 14-0 game.
Receiver Michael McCormack watched the game in street clothes with an injury. Running back Patrick Storie (42 yards) left after a 4-yard gain on the fourth play of the second half.
"Obviously, we're playing [Storie] both ways, and we lose him at the linebacker spot, too," Flaherty said. "Our backs were up against the wall anyway, but it definitely makes it a lot tougher."
Flaherty said there was no timetable for McCormack's return to the lineup. Storie, who appeared to injure his right leg, was tended to by an EMT on the Mounties' bench.
Mount Greylock faces another tough test on Saturday when it hosts Pittsfield (2-0), which is coming off a come-from-behind road win at Chicopee Comp. Hoosac heads south to face Monument Mountain (1-2) on Friday night.
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