CHESHIRE, Mass. — For most teams not having your senior captain starting quarterback and senior starting running back would cause a lot of problems, but it didn’t throw off the Hoosac Valley Hurricanes as they moved to 5-0 Saturday, defeating the visiting Monument Mountain Spartans, 42-12.
Hurricane three-year starting quarterback Matt Koperniak was suited up and headed out for the coin toss before the game but then stayed on the sideline the rest of the game as sophomore backup Nicholas Waterman lead the offense. Senior running back Avery Hall also did not play in the game but was not dressed as he walked the sidelines in sweats.
The running backs took a lot of pressure off of Waterman as they moved Hoosac up and down the field all afternoon to the tune of five touchdowns. Waterman was able to showcase his arm though as he connected for a touchdown pass to freshman Vance Eugene with just 15 seconds to go before halftime. Waterman threw a beautiful fade route to left corner of the end zone where Eugene went up and snatched the pass over the defenders head.
“I thought Nick did well,” said Hoosac coach Dayne Poirot. “He got in last week and got some playing time. Got more comfortable during the week and he played well today.”
“He had a great week of practice,” added senior captain Jameson Coughlan. “We killed offense this week. We nailed all the plays in his head. He’s a great athlete. We knew he was going to excel.”
The Hurricane machine continued to run at full speed largely in part to the job the running backs David Crittelli, Brendan Ellsworth, Donald Monsees, Maxwell Shafer, and Matthew Hall did in on the ground.
Junior Ellsworth did all of his work in the first half alone as he finished with 134 yards on 12 carries for an impressive 11.2 yards per carry average to go along with three touchdowns. His scores came on runs of one, five, and 57 yards.
Sophomore Crittelli also had a strong afternoon as he went over the century mark, finishing with 105 yards, and his classmate Monsees just missed on 100 yards, as he finished with 96 and a touchdown. Sophomore Shaffer added another 73 yards to the Hurricanes rushing total and classmate Hall chipped in with 43 yards including a 31-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
“We’re six running backs deep. We’ve got a bunch of tough kids that run really hard,” said Coughlan. “Crittelli runs very hard and Matt Hall even came in. Little guy ran hard and even scored a touchdown at the end. We got a bunch of guys that want to step in and Avery will be okay.”
Monument was able to find the end zone twice on the afternoon, and senior captain Brandon Perry was a big reason why. The quarterback and defensive back was all over the field making tackles, completing passes, and making big runs.
Late in the third quarter, the Spartans faced a third down and 12 on their own 48-yard line. Perry took the snap headed towards the left sideline then saw a hole and exploded up field cutting back to the right side of the field all the way to pay dirt for a 52-yard touchdown run.
Two possessions later, Perry connected on a deep fly route down the seam to junior wide receiver Cayvon Truden for a 74-yard touchdown catch.
Monument Mountain moves to 1-4 with the loss and heads back home next weekend to host Pittsfield on Friday night. Hoosac Valley also plays Friday night when they travel down to Dalton to face rival Wahconah.
Attendance, effort, and heart are three things Coughlin said will be most important for this week of practice heading into the game against Wahconah. ”It’s a special week and all the kids know that,” he said. “The whole county knows that. It doesn’t matter if you’re from Dalton, Cheshire, Adams. You’ll be there Friday night.”