WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Hoosac Valley football team won back-to-back Division 8 Western Mass titles with an overtime win over Lee, 16-14, at Williams College Friday night.
This was familiar territory for the Hurricanes (7-2) as they were in the same spot last year going for their first Division 8 title. This year was a little different thanks to Mother Nature adding an extra element to the game
Hoosac kicked away its first possession with a quick three-and-out giving Lee (7-2) a chance to strike strike first. After a couple big plays for Lee resulting in back-to-back first downs, the Wildcats coughed up the ball. Sam Larabee was quick to react, recovering the ball for Hoosac Valley. This costly turnover led Hoosac to its first and only score in regulation.
It was the usual ground and pound Hoosac has been accustomed to all year, after a nice 18-yard catch from Liam Feeley, quarterback Justin Meczywor found Larabee in the back of the end zone to give them the lead, 8-0. Meczywor added a rushing touchdown in overtime to go along with his passing touchdown.
“I wanted to score first in the game with everything that could happen weather wise,” Hoosac Valley coach Dayne Poirot said. "It’s not easy playing in these conditions, these guys were always going to come out and play and be resilient."
From that point on it was a back-and-forth competition with the weather playing a big role in ball security. One of Lee’s biggest chances of the game came on a long run for a touchdown that was called back due to holding late in the first quarter.
The second quarter started similar to the first with an early punt from Hoosac, only this time Hoosac fumbled the ball before getting the kick off giving Lee good field position. Lee looked like it was going to take advantage of this field position, getting it to first-and-goal on the 1 yard-line. Unfortunately for the ‘Cats, they were unable to get the score thanks to a stout defensive series by the Hurricanes.
The end of the half got a little dicey for both teams as they tried to get a score before the break. Taggert Roosa recovered a fumble for the Wildcats, who once again looked to punch one in, only to be picked off in the end zone by Liam Feeley. The score stayed 8-0 at the break and stayed that way through the third quarter and most of the fourth.
Late in the fourth Lee broke off a big run on a jet sweep from J.J. Jimenez to get them in another goal line opportunity. After a fumble for a loss of yards it eventually turned it over on downs. It seemed like no matter what Lee did, it just couldn’t find that one play to get in the end zone.
“We played well,” Lee coach Keith Thomson said. “We had a few opportunities that we missed. We had a few too many mistakes tonight, but hats off to Hoosac they did a great job. Our kids stayed and fought and I’m awfully proud of them.”
Fight they did as the Wildcats finally got their break with less than a minute left in the game on a Homer Winston touchdown run; the two-point conversion tied it at 8-8. Both of these teams fought so hard it was only fitting that we went to overtime to decide it.
Hoosac Valley got the ball first in OT, and right off the bat they would get a 10-yard run from Justin Meczywor and a two-point conversion to put the pressure on Lee. Lee almost answered the call with a touchdown throw to Cole Redstone, but came up short on the two-point conversion.
It was an uphill battle for Hoosac all season long after barely escaping from a loss in their first game and then following it up with two straight losses after. The Hurricanes stayed focus and would rattle off 6 straight wins including this one to become champions.
“I told our guys to just keep getting better and keep improving,” Poirot said. “You look at our Greylock game, and we’ve come a long way from that game. A big testament to our kids that play scout team, They do a fantastic job posing as the opposition, and it’s not always easy, they help improve our team.”
Hoosac will play next Saturday in the state semi-finals against the winner of Saturday’s game between Lunenburg and St. Bernard’s.