Hoosac Valley, Millis Share Mutual Respect Going into Title Game
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- On Saturday afternoon, the Millis and Hoosac Valley football teams will be locked in a battle to the finish.
On Tuesday morning, they were tossing bouquets at each other on the same field where that battle will take place.
“These teams aren’t a joke anymore,” senior captain Adam Bush said at midfield of Gillette Stadium after the MIAA Football State Championship Breakfast. “It’s the best against the best.
“I think [Millis] is a team very similar to us. We both like to play hard-nosed football.”
Millis (10-1) coach Dana Olson agreed.
“Our coaching staff was out there [at Hoosac Valley’s state semi-final win],” he said. “They’ve got a good football team. It’s old-fashioned football for the most part. They like to come right at you off tackle. They’ve got a dynamic quarterback who can run and throw. We’re looking forward to the challenge.”
The winner on Saturday afternoon will claim the state Division 8 title. Nolan’s team last year earned a Division 4A state crown. He said he was not surprised that his program was able to reload and make another run to the final so quickly.
“We had 18 juniors on last year’s team,” Nolan said. “That made up our team last year. We knew we had a good nucleus coming back. We knew we had a shot.
“This class -- we’ve been to four straight South Championship games, this will be, obviously, our second state final in a row. And a lot of these kids started as sophomores, so they’ve played in big games. They don’t get rattled easy any more. They’ve been there, done that.”
That senior class includes quarterback Bryce Latosek, who threw for 395 yards and four touchdowns in Millis’ state semifinal win two weeks ago, and Kurt Hopkins, who ran for 207 yards in the team’s South sectional final win the week before.
Hoosac Valley (11-0) has a potent offense of its own, led by dual-threat quarterback Vance Eugene and a running game that features Matt Hall and David Critelli.
The Hurricanes have spent most of their time since the Nov. 18 state semi-final working on the things that got them to this point, Hall said.
“We’ve been focusing on the stuff we’ve been doing all year,” he said Tuesday morning. “The next few days is when we really key on the opponent. We’ll watch a lot of film and do adjustments then.”
Hoosac Valley coach Dayne Poirot agreed, saying that the extra week between games does not alter his approach to implementing a game plan.
“It changes the time frame a little bit, but I don’t think it changes what we do,” he said.
“I don’t know if there’s a comparison [between Millis and] a team we played this year. They’re a team with a lot of good athletes. They have good size up front. They’ve been here before. They’re a well-coached team.”