Hoosac Valley tops Frontier in D-V semifinal
ADAMS >> Mark Twain once described it best. "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics," he wrote.
Through a quarter and a half against Hoosac Valley Friday night, fourth-seeded Frontier Regional had run 23 plays against the typically-stout Hurricane defense. For all that work, the Red Hawks got nothing.
Top-seeded Hoosac on the other hand scored on a 12-play drive in the first quarter and a three-play drive in the second quarter. The visitors never recovered and Hoosac advanced to the Western Massachusetts Division V championship game with a 28-6 win at Renfrew Field.
"They came out and pounded us," said Hoosac's Jameson Coughlan. "They're the same team as us. I think we came out a little flat, but the coaching staff did a great job telling us what to do."
The Hurricanes limited the Red Hawks to 31 plays over the final three quarters as they reached their second Division V championship game in as many seasons.
"This win is huge for us. Frontier is a great opponent. They played a great game. We just put out more numbers and came out [with the win] at the end," said Hoosac running back Avery Hall, who scored three of Hoosac's four touchdowns. "Hopefully, we can carry this momentum throughout the playoffs."
The Hurricanes will play Taconic for the Division V title next weekend at a neutral site and time to be determined. Taconic advanced by knocking off defending champion Pittsfield 19-12.
Hall had a huge offensive game for the Hurricanes. The senior back scored on a 75-yard screen pass play in the second quarter and had touchdown runs of one and five yards in the third quarter. Hall had 169 yards in total offense, rushing for 94 yards on 19 carries to go with the 75-yard touchdown pass play from quarterback Matt Koperniak.
But the game turned in the first quarter after Hoosac played some bend-but-don't-break defense.
The Red Hawks took the opening kickoff to their 35 and marched all the way to the Hoosac 22. But on fourth down, Stephen Worthley was tackled behind the line of scrimmage by linebacker Coughlan.
Brenden Ellsworth capped a 12-play, 77-yard drive with a five-yard TD run, helping put Hoosac up 8-0. The Red Hawks came right back.
Aided by a 15-yard facemask penalty, Frontier marched from its 37 to the Hoosac 27. The drive was also helped by a clutch fourth-down pass play from Nolan Muzyka to Justin Farrick. But the Red Hawks were called for holding on the drive and came up two yards short of the first down.
Three plays later, Koperniak threw a screen pass to Hall, who scampered through the Frontier defense and went 75 yards for the touchdown. The two-point conversion made it 16-0.
Hoosac coach Dayne Poirot credited the Hoosac defense for helping give the offense the momentum.
"It was huge. They had the ball for way too long early on," said the Hoosac coach. "We finally got into a rhythm in the second half. I think we had them playing our game a little more and our kids felt a little more comfortable.
"You have no idea. Everybody was so, so frustrated. Not with each other, because our chemistry is so great," said Muzyka. "We were just frustrated with ourselves that we didn't do our jobs."
Hoosac led 16-6 at halftime, and scored on the first drive of the third quarter. On the ensuing kickoff, Cam Alibozek's kickoff ricocheted off a Frontier player and Hoosac recovered. Four plays later, Hall scored his third touchdown of the night and the Hurricanes were off to the championship game.
"We've been working toward the Western Mass. championship all season," said Hall. "We're just taking it one game at a time, and now it's finally here."
HV—Brenden Ellsworth 5 run (David Critelli run), 1:01.
HV—Avery Hall 75 pass from Matt Koperniak (Critelli run), 4:43.
F—Nolan Muzyka 6 run (Pass failed), 0:31.
HV—Hall 1 run (Run failed), 8:43.
HV—Hall 5 run (Run failed), 6:59.
RUSHING—Hoosac: Brenden Ellsworth 11-80, Avery Hall 19-94, David Critelli 3-154, Matt Koperniak 3-(minus-1), Maxwell Shafer 1-0. Frontier: Aaron Landry 11-38, Stephen Worthley 16-58, Nolan Muzyka 9-52, Seth Gewanter 3-5.
PASSING—Hoosac: Koperniak 4-6-0 152. Frontier: Muzyka 6-15-3 60.
RECEIVING—Hoosac: Hall 1-75, Shiheem Gallaway 1-1, Javon Reynolds 1-25, Ellsworth 1-41. Frontier: Landry 4-35, Justin Farrick 2-25.
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