Hoosac Valley's Late Drive Puts Away Spartans
GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. -- Tyler Mach ran for 214 yards and three touchdowns in the Hoosac Valley football team's 28-14 win over Monument Mountain on Friday night.
The speedy running back scored on runs of 38 and 92 yards, but perhaps his biggest run went for just 4 yards and produced no points.
That was the run that converted a fourth-and-2 at midfield and sustained the game-clinching, 79-yard drive that ate up most of the fourth quarter and put the game out of reach for the Hurricanes (4-0).
Hoosac had just stalled a Monument drive that went to the Hurricanes' 12, and with about six minutes left in a six-point game, Hurricanes' coach Dayne Poirot was not inclined to give the ball back to the Spartans.
"We talked about [punting] for a little bit, but in that situation, you want to put it on your offense, give 'em a challenge and see if they can do it," Poirot said.
The right side of the line and sophomore back Brenden Ellsworth paved the way for Mach to pick up the much needed yardage, and nine plays later -- all runs -- Ellsworth plunged in from the 1 on third-and-goal to put his team ahead, 26-14 with 1 minute, 22 seconds remaining.
Ellsworth then ran in the two-point conversion to provide the final margin of victory.
"That was a great drive by our offense, very important," Poirot said. "We just drove the ball down the field. Took a lot of time off, ate up the clock and just executed. We communicated a lot better.
"Brenden [Ellsworth] does a great job, and he's learning to run the ball better as he goes."
Ellsworth ended up with 83 yards, and Avery Hall added 55 for the potent Hurricane ground attack.
Monument Mountain (1-3) got 147 yards and a touchdown from Mark Leon-Duque. The Spartans also earned another measure of respect with their second near upset of a season that began with a four-point loss at Pittsfield.
"Hoosac is tough," Monument coach Chris D'Aniello said. "And when you come into that game, you're playing against a jersey, too. You're playing Hoosac, so you've got to mentally prepare for that.
"But I think we did great. We're in a good place. The big play killed us again. I don't think they beat us up by any means."
Hoosac did draw first blood on a 38-yard run by Mach that saw him drag a defender the last 10 yards into the end zone.
But Monument responded right away with a 56-yard drive of its own. Mike Buffoni capped it with a 10-yard burst, and Leon-Duque added the two-point conversion to give Monument an 8-6 lead with 14 seconds left in the first quarter.
The Spartans then gained some momentum with a goalline stand after Hoosac drove to the 5 on its ensuing possession.
Monument's offense -- helped by a roughing the punter penalty -- got the ball out to midfield, but a short punt gave the 'Canes the ball at their 46.
From there, a couple of Matt Koperniak passes -- including a beauty deep down the left side -- got Hoosac to 14. And two carries by Avery Hall and Mach did the rest to give Hoosac a 12-8 lead going into half-time.
Monument was forced to punt on the first possession of the second half, but it pinned the visitors on their own 8. Unfortunately for the Spartans, that's scoring position for a Mach-led offense, and he broke loose for a 92-yard run to make it 18-8. Ellsworth's conversion gave Hoosac a 12-point lead.
Monument Mountain responded with a 74-yard drive that took just six plays. The big one was a 46-yard scamper by Leon-Duque on a pitch to the left side. He capped the drive with a 4-yard run to make it 20-14.
The Spartans then forced Hoosac to punt, and the hosts went from their 44 to the Hurricanes' 12 before Hoosac's defense stiffened.
Jameson Coughlan made the big play, dropping quarterback Austin Pectal for a 4-yard loss to put Spartans in third-and-18. Two incompletions later, Hoosac had the ball at its 21 with 9:09 left in the fourth, setting the stage for the game-clinching drive.
With Wahconah also winning in South County on Friday (28-0 over Lee), the stage now is set for next Saturday's clash in Cheshire between the undefeated defending Western Mass champions. Game time at Hoosac Valley is 1 p.m.
You might want to get there early if you want to find a parking space.