ATHOL -- The first series had the Athol football team thinking upset. But things changed dramatically once the Hoosac Valley Hurricanes got their hands on the pigskin.
Hoosac torched the Red Raiders for seven touchdowns and 428 yards on the ground, en route to a 46-6 opening-night drubbing in Athol.
Things started off well for Athol. They moved the ball downfield on an eight-play, 69-yard touchdown drive which ended with Andrew Poor catching a 4-yard touchdown pass from Todd Smith for a 6-0 lead.
The enthusiasm on the Athol sideline would dissipate quickly once Hoosac began to march downfield, mostly behind the running of senior fullback Ian Hill (15 carries, 174 yards) and a dominant Hurricane offensive line. Hoosac junior back Tyler Mach would open the scoring with a nine-yard touchdown run to give the Hurricanes a 7-6 lead they would never relinquish.
Athol worked the ball down to the Hoosac 1-yard line, but the Hurricane defense held up, eventually sacking Smith for an 11-yard loss, and eventually taking over on downs.
Hoosac would once again capitalize, employing a no-huddle offense to take the ball 88 yards on an eight-play series which ended with an eight-yard touchdown run by sophomore quarterback Matt Koperniak to make it 14-6. Hoosac would score again before the end of the half when Hill scampered 76 yards for the touchdown.
Things didn’t get much better for the Red Raiders in the second half, when a Poor fumble gave Hoosac the ball at the Athol 6. Two plays later, Hill was in the end zone again, courtesy of a three-yard run. Athol would fumble again on the next series, giving Hoosac the ball at the 46, Five plays later, Mach was in the end zone again following a 24-yard run.
The Hurricanes would score two more times, courtesy of touchdown runs of 18 yards from Koperniak, and 38 yards by sophomore David O’Brien.