Hoosac Valley football falls to Millis in MIAA Division VIII Super Bowl
FOXBOROUGH — On Saturday at Gillette Stadium, the Millis offense presented a problem the Hoosac Valley defense could not solve.
The Mohawks sent four receivers out wide, really wide, and with the NFL-distance hash marks on the field, the wide outs looked to be a mile away from quarterback Bryce Latosek. This put Hoosac's defensive backs in one-on-one situations and gave favorable matchups for the Mohawk offensive line inside.
Millis consistently exploited these matchups on the ground and through the air, racking up 389 total yards en route to a 37-0 Division VIII state championship victory. The win gives Millis its second straight state title.
"It's hard for any defense to play in space the entire game," Hoosac Valley coach Dayne Poirot said. "[Millis has] done a good job executing throughout the year. That team's done a good job of making people make a ton of plays in space. When you have Latosek, when you have four or five really good receivers that are going to move around and make plays when you get the opportunity, then it's a lot easier to spread the ball out. Spread the field horizontally as well as vertically."
Latosek did a great job of finding the open receiver and delivering an on-target ball. He completed 8 of 12 attempts for 164 yards and three scores. His success through the air was setup by a dominant run game. The Mills offensive line opened gaping holes for running back Kurt Hopkins. Hopkins rushed for 185 yards on 25 carries, the largest total surrendered to a single rusher all season by the Hurricane defense.
"I've got the best offensive line in Division VIII," Hopkins said. "They get a push and I just try to make the right read.
"We run zone plays, zone counter reads, so the blocking schemes change every time. It's hard for the teams to pick up in it. Who's blocking them, who's getting down blocked. ... It's been a problem for every team we've faced all season."
Millis' balance prevented the Hurricanes from selling out to stop a certain play. The Mohawks scored on all four of their possessions in the first half. Hopkins carried the load on the opening drive, marching down the field and setting up a 37-yard score from Latosek to Raymond Hilaire.
Another wrinkle in the spread is the jet sweep, which Millis used to score its second touchdown with 9 minutes, 17 seconds left in the second quarter.
Hoosac's deepest penetration came late in the second quarter. The Hurricanes used a 34-yard completion from Vance Eugene to Nick Waterman to convert a third-and-four to the Millis 32. The 'Canes could not advance the ball further, however, turning the ball over on downs as Eugene fumbled on a fourth down run. Two plays later, Latosek found Andrew Brooks for a 50-yard touchdown, giving the Mohawks a 24-0 lead at halftime. Brooks led all receivers with two catches for 64 yards and two scores.
"They positioned themselves well and they executed very well," Hoosac right tackle Adam Bush said. "With the type of defense we run, we've never really seen that [offense] before. They came out with a good game plan. Their linemen knew what to do and they just played well."
Offensively, Hoosac's usually dominant run game was shut down. Short runs on first down put the Hurricanes in unfavorable down-and-distances, forcing Eugene to pass more than the 'Canes are accustomed to. Millis' defense was especially tough on third and fourth downs. The stats say Hoosac converted 7 of 12 attempts on those key downs, but a majority of those conversions came with the game in hand.
Hoosac's first loss came on its biggest stage, but the Hurricanes were simply beat by a better team. Hoosac is a young squad overall, but seniors such as Eugene, Bush, Waterman, Hall, David Critelli and Donald Monsees all played key roles. The 'Canes will need to reload with a lot of new faces, but for now, the current group of players can look back fondly on a very successful season.
"This is a one and a lifetime chance," Eugene said. "It was good to be out here."
Millis 7 17 13 0 — 37
Hoosac 0 0 0 0 — 0
M — Raymond Hilaire 37 pass from Bryce Latosek (Andrew Brooks kick), 6:23.
M — Dominic Zonfrelli 6 run (Brooks kick), 9:17.
M — Christopher Edwards 32 kick. 4:01.
M — Brooks 50 pass from Latosek, :43.
M — Latosek 10 run (Brooks kick), 4:35.
M — Brooks 14 pass from Latosek (kick missed), 1:22.
First Downs 21 7
Rushes-yards 33-225 26-121
Passing yards 164 60
Comp-att-int 8-12-0 5-11-1
Fumbles-lost 1-0 2-2
Penalties-yards 8-60 5-63
RUSHING — Millis: Kurt Hopkins 25-185, Bryce Latosek 4-0, Dominic Zonfrelli 3-32, Kyle Farrington 1-8. Hoosac: Vance Eugene 13-96, Matt Hall 6-20, Liam Feeley 3-0, David Critelli 3-4, Logan Leja 1-1.
PASSING: Millis: Latosek 8-12-0 164. Hooosac: Eugene 5-11-1 60.
RECEIVING — Millis: Raymond Hilaire 3-56, P.J. Adams 3-44, Andrew Brooks 2-64. Hoosac: Izaha Stubbs 1-13, Nick Waterman 2-38, Hall 1-6, Critelli 1-3.
Akeem Glaspie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, at @TheAkeemGlaspie on Twitter and 413-496-6252.
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