Game of the Week: Pittsfield, Hoosac Valley Searching For Consistency

By Stephen DravisPrint Story | Email Story
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A little flexibility has gone a long way for the Hoosac Valley and Pittsfield High School football teams.
That does not just mean the kind of flexibility that comes from doing calisthenics — though presumably they have that too. It means the kind of flexibility to adapt to a change in plan during the season.
For Hoosac, a new quarterback and new roles in the offense produced a big win last Friday that sees the Hurricanes one game over .500.
For Pittsfield, the willingness to take on new roles has led to to two wins in their last three games and needed momentum going into Friday's meeting with the 'Canes at Wahconah Park.
"We've moved a couple of guys around, and the guys have responded every time we moved them," Pittsfield coach Brian Jezewski said. "We have depth at the skill spots and depth on the line... They're supporting each other, and practices are really competitive. We're hoping the practices are carrying over to the way we play."
Both Pittsfield (2-3 Berkshire County, 2-3 overall) and Hoosac (3-2, 3-2) are looking for more consistent play the rest of season.
Hoosac opened the season with a blowout win over 2011 Western Massachusetts Division 3 Super Bowl participant Lee. But the Hurricanes were shutout twice in a three-week span before new quarterback Corey Puccio led them to their third win by handing Wahconah (3-1, 3-2) its first loss in league play.
Pittsfield got its first win against Lee in Week 3 but followed it up with a disappointing outing against Monument Mountain (1-3, 1-4) before getting back in the win column against Drury.
"We're a roller coaster ride, I'll tell you that," Jezewski said. "Even during the week in practice, we'll have moments of greatness and then there are times when you're scratching your head.... We hit a bump in the road against Monument, but I was really proud of the way the kids came back in practice."
Pittsfield can chalk up some of its inconsistency to youth. The Generals have just five seniors on the roster, and none of them are in the starting backfield.
Sophomore Chad Shade directs Pittsfield's option attack with classmate Devon Tucker and juniors Dominic Traversa and Kyle Shade getting most of the carries.
Tucker is leading the way with about 600 yards of total offense and 44 points this fall.
Jezewski said he is encouraged with the way his youngsters have responded, but he also relies heavily on leadership from the few veterans he has.
"The entire backfield is coming back (next year), but when we're playing well, it's the guys up front," Jezewski said. "That's where most of our upperclassmen are."
Hoosac has a bit more experience across the board, but injuries and other issues have kept a number of the 'Canes off the field during the first half of the season.
Hoosac coach Dayne Poirot said his team is back to full strength for the stretch run.
"I feel like their hard work paid off (against Wahconah)," he said. "But they'll realize very quickly they have a long way to go still.

"Pittsfield is a big test for us, just the same as Wahconah was. ...I hope we can achieve consistency by eliminating the mistakes."
Poirot said even in 28-0 and 30-0 losses to St. Joseph and Mount Greylock, respectively, the Hurricanes had some success moving the ball. Hoosac just had trouble finishing.
"On third and 3, you have to get a first down," Poirot said. "You can't get a penalty. It's a false start here or a holding penalty or a missed block assignment."
"With the experience we've gained, we're starting to limit the mistakes we're making," he added.
Even with those mistakes, Hoosac has amassed more than 1,000 yards of offense with junior Ian Hill leading the way.
Jezewski is impressed with what he has seen on film from the 'Canes.
"(First-year) Coach Poirot is part of a long line of Hoosac coaches, and they have great, athletic kids," Jezewski said. "It's definitely going to be a challenge for us. They are one of the top tow or three programs in the county year in and year out. It's a testament to their youth programs and the work ethic of their coaches.
"That's what we're trying to build here at Pittsfield High. It's about the program, not individual teams."
Poirot, who has had a chance to see the Generals on film and person, said he thinks this edition of the Pittsfield program poses some unique challenges to his team.
"Both their kids at the wing, when they get out in space, have been dynamic for them," he said. "They make people miss on tackles.
"(Chad) Shades' come a long way in running the offense. He seemed great last week. ...I don't think anyone runs the option the way Pittsfield does, and they run it well. ...We don't see that type of action all the time, and it's difficult to simulate a quarterback who runs it always. But we have some kids working hard to do it."
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