CHESHIRE -- So much of football is about stats. Fantasy leagues have only furthered that. That's likely why Austin Milesi can be easily overlooked.
If you were to rank the top defensive linemen in Berkshire County using an array of fantasy scoring systems, there's a chance he'd appear on the first page of one. That's not a knock against his ability; it's just he's played in only five of the team's nine games.
The junior defensive end suffered a separated shoulder in the 20-12 win at Mount Greylock in Week 3. He came back against Drury in Week 8.
"He was still positive. He was at practice," senior Ian Hill said of Milesi while he was out. "We always used to pick on him. We'd be like, ‘Your legs aren't broken.' He's like ‘I know.' So he'd come in a helmet once in a while. He'd be playing with us.
"He stepped up and was a good leader, especially for the junior class and showing everybody else how to come back from an injury, how to still help your team."
The Hurricanes cruised 42-0 in that latest chapter of the Drury-Hoosac rivalry, and the Hurricanes' defensive line was the biggest reason for it. That was a group effort.
He made his presence known in the Western Massachusetts Division V semifinal game against Mount Greylock.
Milesi, who had dropped into pass coverage, was the one who caused the fumble near the Hoosac goal line, which the Hurricanes recovered in the end zone for a touchback to seal the game and a trip to today's championship against Easthampton.
"We ended up having to drop him on [Robby] Buffis to try to do something to slow them down," coach Dayne Poirot said. "He's played linebacker. He's just a very athletic kid, so he's been able to play all over."
That was the second big play Milesi made against the Mounties. Earlier, he read Brodie Altiere's roll out, shed his blocker, got himself in the passing lane and came away with the interception.
Those are stats worth noting. Those are stats championship teams make.
"It was just on-the-spot moment," Milesi said. "It just kind of happened. Being in the right place at the right time, I guess."
Another one of the must-have ingredients to win a title is leadership, and it's something Hoosac was missing with a sophomore filling in, along with some other traits that make him a solid defensive end.
"[Milesi's] more aggressive. He's got a little bit longer arms. He's more experienced overall," Hill said. "He can do things we saw with the interception.
"A little bit more athletic kid, quicker. So just adds some speed to our defense."
It wasn't the first time Milesi was involved in a serious injury.
In Week 2 of the 2012 season, Zach O'Neill went down with a shoulder injury. Milesi was next on the depth chart and gained valuable varsity experience as a sophomore.
It "just prepares you more," Milesi said. "Instead of going from JV to varsity [this year], you're already at the varsity level, so you know what to expect. Just go out there and do what you have to do."
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