Hoosac Drops Back-And-Forth State Semi

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires.com Sports
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Hoosac Valley dropped a back-and-forth contest to Northbridge in the football state semi-finals on Saturday.
LEOMINSTER, Mass. — The Hoosac Valley High School football team did not make it to the commonwealth's first state championship game.
But the Hurricanes did make one heck of a statement.
Northbridge rallied for a touchdown with 30 seconds left to beat Hoosac, 29-22, in the Division 5 state semi-finals on Saturday afternoon at Doyle Field.
Rams quarterback Koby Schofer ran for 173 yards and threw for 126, including 25 yards to Chandler Brooks for the game-winning score.
Heavily-favored Northbridge needed that score after Hoosac rallied from a 14-0 deficit early and scored a go-ahead TD on a 77-yard screen pass to Tyler Mach with 2 minutes, 33 seconds left in the fourth.
"Definitely this was a statement," Hoosac junior Ian Hill said. "The attitude going into this was, except for the people on our sideline, not a single person thought we even had a chance. People from 'Pigskin Prophet' and everything said we didn't have a chance."
Hoosac coach Dayne Poirot agreed that his 'Canes showed the rest of the state a thing or two about Berkshire County football.
"I don't think many people here thought we were going to play a game against this team," Poirot said. "The guys from the [Worcester] Telegram and ESPN Boston, I don't think they thought we had a chance in this game.
"We haven't really been picked all year. But I think if you asked this [Northbridge] coaches, they'd tell you we played much more of a game than they expected."
It started out looking like the walk in the park that "they" expected.
Northbridge took advantage of the wind at its back and field position to score the first two times it touched the ball.
Jake Wood scored on a 1-yard plunge midway through the first quarter, and Schofer threw a 7-yard score to Brooks to make it 14-0 early in the second quarter.
But Hoosac came alive midway through the second period. An interception by Matt Braman set up a short field at the 29, and four plays later, he was in the end zone after taking a swing pass to the right side from Matt Koperniak and scampering 16 yards to make it 14-7.
Hoosac's best drive of the game produced the game-tying score early in the fourth quarter.
The Hurricanes marched 87 yards after a Brandon Tworig interception deep in Hoosac's end.
Koperniak directed an 18-play drive that consumed 7:13, spanned the third and fourth quarters and ended in the sophomore QB's run over the left side to make it 14-14 after Hill kicked his second extra point of the game.
The Rams then went 62 yards to regain the lead when Schofer scored on a keeper up the middle from the Hoosac 18 with 3:21 on the clock.
A wind-aided kickoff forced Hoosac to settle for a touchback and the ball on its 20 on the ensuing possession, setting the stage for Mach's 77-yard score.
"We were setting that up the whole game," Mach said. "We were just waiting to call it, and our line executed perfectly. They got downfield and blocked for me, and then it was just open.
"I think that was the first time [we ran that]. ... We had been practicing it the last two weeks."
Poirot decided to eschew the extra point and put the ball in Koperniak's hands, and he rewarded his coach with a 2-point conversion run to the left that gave Hoosac its first lead, 22-21.
After a short kickoff was fielded at the Northbridge 35, the Rams needed 11 plays — six through the air — to go the distance and earn the hard-fought win.
"This was a great team we played, and for us to come out and battle with them is a good feeling," Mach said. "Knowing our team left everything on the field — you can't ask for anything more than that."
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