Hurricanes Are Ready For Western Mass Super Bowl
"In a way, to us, it feels so much better to win a game like this," said Hoosac senior captain Ian Hill after last Saturday's semi-final win. "It sucks to make mistakes. It sucks to have penalties but it just shows that our team is ready to go on to the next round. Just overcoming everything this game, this season, and in my four years. It means a lot more to us. In my opinion, Berkshire County is one of the best places to play football and this was like the Super Bowl today. I think Greylock or us could beat any other of the teams that are playing. Thank god it was us and I think we can bring it back."
The Hurricanes (8-1) will travel to Easthampton (8-1) to take on the number one seeded Eagles who just squeaked by Hoosac valley by a half a point in the new MIAA power rating system to gain the top overall seed. The game is scheduled to kick-off at 7:15 on Sawyer Field at the Williston Northampton School. This will be the Hurricanes first appearance in the Western Mass Super Bowl since 2009 when they defeated East Longmeadow 22-16. Second-year Hoosac Valley head coach Dayne Poirot is appearing in his first Western Mass Super Bowl after leading his team to the semi-finals last year.
Poirot said the team focused on fundamentals and improving as a team during practice this week. Last week, Hoosac Valley fumbled and lost the ball four times in the first half.
"You know we are going to be playing a championship," Poirot said. "We want to have everything right and play well. The kids know what's here. It's hopefully like we have approached every week. They know there is more at stake but our practices are intense and meaningful all the time. They are excited and know what is on the line. Our goal all year has been to improve every week."
One of the main differences from other weeks that the Hurricane team is adjusting in preparation for the big game is easy for everyone in town to see and that is because the Renfrew Field lights have been on the past couple nights. Poirot and his team have been practicing at night under the lights instead of at their normal after school hours so the team can get used to performing at night rather than right after school or in the early afternoon like they are used to during the regular season.
Hoosac's opponent is an explosive team that knows how to put points on the board. Easthampton is averaging a whopping 45 points a game on the season. There lowest scoring game was their only loss of the season in which they scored 22 points against Belchertown but in all their other games they put up 44 points or more.
There is no secret to their success either. Running the football is their bread and butter. The Eagles average an astonishing 377 rushing yards per game. The team's workhorse is junior Lou Burrell. The running back has racked up 1,564 rushing yards to go along with 23 touchdowns. In last week's semi-final victory over Cathedral, Burrell racked up 375 yards of total offense all on the ground with five touchdowns.
"We have to limit the running game," said Poirot. "They run wishbone for the most part. They run a little bit of flex one but they have a kid (Burrell) who scored 18 touchdowns in the regular season so it speaks for itself."