Hoosac Valley football rallies in second half to beat Mount Greylock
The Hurricanes racked up penalty yards with personal fouls, gave the ball away twice and struggled to generate much offense. Even with their failure to execute in the first half, the 'Canes big-play ability meant they were never truly out of the game.
Trailing 22-8 with 3 minutes and 20 seconds remaining in the second quarter, Vance Eugene hit Matt Hall for a 53-yard completion. Three plays later Eugene dove into the end zone from one yard out on a quarterback sneak. The two-point conversion cut the deficit to six and gave the visitors confidence heading into the second half. It was all Hoosac from then on, leading to a 36-22 victory.
After allowing 114 total yards in the first half (107 rushing, seven passing), Hoosac allowed just 77 total yards in the second half. Greylock's line took it to Hoosac in the first half, but in the second, the Mounties appeared to wear down.
"I think that's part of it," Greylock coach Andrew Agostini said of wearing down in the trenches. "The first game is always tough. It's always sketchy for a lot of reasons, but we certainly didn't see anything that we weren't aware of or caught us off guard.
"Their line really blew us of the ball in the second half. We have to make some adjustments positioning people, but I think they did wear us down. They pulled a Hoosac Valley and drained us that second half."
John Krol, Joe Degere and the rest of the Hoosac offensive line set the tone in the second half. They sprung running back Steve Stodja for 39 yards on the first play after halftime. Four plays later, Eugene hit Hall in the right flat for a seven-yard score. A failed option run on the conversion attempt left the score tied at 22 with 7:38 remaining in the third.
Greylock struggled to move the ball in the ensuing drive. They got 10 yards on a pass interference call, but could not generate much after that. Facing fourth-and-three, Greylock quarterback Michael Wellspeak looked for Sean McCormack on the end zone off play action, but Eugene was in position to knock the ball away.
Hoosac responded with a 20-yard run from Stodja. Eugene ran for two, and then Stodja took a handoff and went untouched up the middle for a 38-yard touchdown with 4:58 left in the third. Hoosac would not trail from then on.
"We kept ourselves in the game," Stodja said. "The first half was really sloppy, but toward the second half we kept our heads in the game and outplayed them."
The teams exchanged punts in the fourth half, before Hoosac delivered the knockout blow. On the third-and-seven from their own 37, Eugene hit Nick Waterman on a streak down the right sideline for a 63-yard score. Eugene went 6 for 6 with 143 yards passing. He added 48 yards rushing. Stodja rushed for 128 yards on 14 carries.
Cal Messina showed impressive moves out of the backfield in the first half for Greylock. One play after Hoosac took a 8-6 lead in the first quarter, the junior took a toss going right, shook multiple defenders and went 60 yards for the score. Hoosac fumbled away the ensuing kick return, leading to a four-yard Jude Rorke touchdown run. Messina finished with 74 yards rushing. Wellspeak went 3 of 11 for 42 yards one touchdown and an interception.
Hoosac coach Dayne Poirot said his team needs to clean up the mistakes moving forward.
"We talked even last night: There's going to be 110-120 plays [during the game] and there's a lot that's going to go wrong," he said. "We've got to minimize those mistakes, come back and correct them."
Hoosac 0 16 14 6 — 36
Greylock 6 16 0 0 — 22
M — Sean McCormack 7 pass from Michael Wellspeak (pass failed), :30.1
H — Vance Eugene 1 run (David Critelli run), 4:53.
M — Cal Messina 40 run (Eli Ostheimer from Wellspeak), 4:43.
M — Jude Rorke 4 run (Messina run), 3:20
H — Eugene 1 run (Hall from Eugene), :24.
H — Hall 7 pass from Eugene (run failed), 7:38.
H — Steve Stodja 38 run (Eugene run), 4:58
H — Nick Waterman 63 pass from Eugene (pass failed), 3:56.
First Downs 8 9
Rushes-yards 39-149 38-232
Passing yards 42 143
Comp-att-int 3-11-1 6-6-0
Fumbles-lost 1-0 3-2
Penalties-yards 2-10 7-80
RUSHING — M: Michael Wellspeak 11-35, Cal Messina 14-74, Taylor Cummings 2-15, Jude Rorke 4-25. H: Steve Stodja 14-128, Matt Hall 4-10, David Critelli 11-46, Vance Eugene 9-48.
PASSING — M: Wellspeak 3-11-1 42. H: Eugene 6-6-0 143.
RECEIVING — M: Sean McCormack 3-42. H: Stodja 2-17, Critelli 1-4, Hall 2-60, Nick Waterman 1-63.
Reach sports writer Akeem Glaspie at 413-496-6252 or @TheAkeemGlaspie.
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