Hoosac Valley Roars into Sectional Final
ADAMS, Mass. -- Matt Hall ran for 115 yards and three touchdowns, and the Hoosac Valley football team scored 55 straight points en route to a 55-14 win over Mount Greylock on Friday in the Western Massachusetts Division 8 semi-finals.
Vance Eugene threw for three touchdowns, ran for one and picked off a pair of passes for the top-seeded Hurricanes (9-0), who moved on to next week’s sectional final against No. 3 Ware (9-0), a 25-16 winner at Lee on Friday night.
It was a drastically different game than Hoosac’s 36-22 win over the Mounties (6-3) back on opening night. But Mount Greylock was a drastically different team this time around, with a number of starters in street clothes, including starting quarterback Michael Wellspeak, who went down in last week’s regular season-closing loss at Amherst.
Meanwhile, Hoosac Valley keeps rolling, scoring 47 or more points for the fifth time in six games -- the lone exception a 32-0 win at Pittsfield.
The game was tied, 8-8, after one quarter, but Hall broke off scoring runs of 46 and 40 yards on Hoosac’s first two possessions of the second quarter, and the home team was off to the races.
“They did a really good job early and made some big plays,” Hoosac Valley coach Dayne Poirot said of his offense. “We had some guys hustling downfield and making some good blocks to spring him, and Matt ran it well when he got there.”
Hoosac Valley ended up scoring on seven of its next eight possessions; only the expiration of the clock at the end of the second quarter kept the ‘Canes out of the end zone during that stretch.
Hoosac’s defense gave up a touchdown on Mount Greylock’s second possession after the Mounties got a short field after recovering a fumble at the Hurricanes’ 25. Cal Messina capped an eight-play possession with a 12-yard pass to Jason Betti, and Messina ran for the 2-pointer to give Mount Greylock an 8-0 lead.
The scoring drive was helped by a personal foul against Hoosac that allowed the Mounties to convert a fourth-and-7. The Hurricanes were flagged for 90 yards of penalties in the first half.
“I felt like we dominated even more than what the score was at half-time,” Poirot said. “We have to improve on those things. If they want to make it as far as they want to make it, that's something for them to improve. It's on us. We've got to do it together and make better decisions.”
Eugene ran in a 10-yarder to get Hoosac on the board and the conversion to tie the game, starting the 55-0 spurt.
After Hall’s second TD in a three-minute span gave Hoosac Valley its first double-digit lead, the Canes added a 35-yard pass from Eugene to Nick Waterman to push their lead to 28-8 at half-time.
Eugene threw for two more TDs in the second half, which also saw David Critelli and Hall score on runs of 29 and 6 yards, respectively.
Mount Greylock scored the game’s final points in the closing minutes when Messina completed a 3-yard touchdown pass to Eli Ostheimer.
“It was a quick adjustment,” Mount Greylock coach Andrew Agostini said of Messina’s switch from tailback to quarterback. “It was only a week. But he's got a great arm. I thought he played pretty well under tough circumstances. He did a great job.”
Messina’s shift was one of several that the Mounties had to make during the season, moving pieces around as they tried to make it back to the sectional final for the second year in a row.
“The biggest thing with the injuries is you have to shift people around and all of a sudden you're not as strong as you were anywhere,” Agostini said. “The other thing is you don't just lose a wide receiver, you generally lose a wide receiver, a cornerback and someone on special teams.
“I suppose it was good experience for [the younger players]. The last game is always the toughest game, no matter when it is or why or how. But I'm very happy for everybody who came out here and played. They played very tough. They knew what they were up against and they still came out here and did it. That was great to see.”