The leaves are changing colors, the sun is setting earlier and as a 27-year Berkshire County resident — I still have no idea how to dress for these late-October games.

We’re barreling toward the end of the regular season and it’s getting easier to recognize the ripple effects that a game may have. Week 7 features two teams atop their divisions in the MIAA Power Rankings, Wahconah and Hoosac Valley.

Wahconah’s perfect season will be put to the test as Northampton, which ranks eighth in D-IV, looks to dethrone the Warriors as the class of D-VII. Speaking of thrones, the Hurricanes are conquering each and every opponent they face, but arguably the season’s biggest battle is looming in the Game of the Week on Saturday.

Hoosac Valley will host Lee in a big-time bout with major implications as the Wildcats currently sit seventh in the division.

The Hurricanes and Wildcats are using Saturday’s game as a collection site for the Sheriff’s Office “Toys for Tots” Campaign. Donation boxes for new toys and games will be at the ticket table. Monetary donations will also be accepted.

We’re not done!

The city showdown between Pittsfield and Taconic will take place at Berkshire Community College and the game will be streamed live as Pittsfield Community Television’s Game of the Week. The game will stream live on PCTV’s Facebook page, PCTV ETV Channel 1302 and PCTV Select.

Game of the Week

Lee (4-2) at Hoosac Valley (5-1), 1:30 p.m., Saturday

Hoosac Valley is atop the D-VIII power rankings, but coach Mike Bostwick didn’t think too much of it.

“I feel the same,” he said during practice on Wednesday. “We have a job and that is to get better every week, we don’t care until it’s actually playoff time, we want to win and get better.

“For some people it is hard not to pay attention to sometimes, but if we win and do what we’re supposed to, that stuff will take care of itself.”

Saturday’s matchup between Hoosac Valley and Lee isn’t technically a playoff game, but there is certainly a lot at stake.

“A league title is on the line and both teams are fighting for a state playoff berth moving forward,” Lee coach Keith Thomson said. “We’re entering this game, especially on the heels of a tough loss, thinking this is a must-win game for us.”

A loss to Easthampton snapped a three-game winning streak for the Wildcats, who gave up more than 18 points for just the second time this season in the 20-19 loss.

Much like the division, Hoosac is leading the Intercounty South standings with a record of 3-0 and Lee is one spot behind at 2-1.

“These guys understand that this is a big Berkshire County game,” Bostwick said. “I respect Lee and how they do things and coach Thomson does a hell of a job.”

Hoosac’s Shaun Kastner Jr. and Aaron Bush combined for 260 yards a week ago as a win over Belchertown marked the team’s fifth-straight victory. With that in mind, the Orioles were the first team to put points up on the Hurricanes since Week 2.

“They know that I haven’t been happy with how things have gone the last two weeks,” Bostwick said, “not really in games, but how practice went and it started spilling into games.

“[The focus in practice] has been much better this week and we need to continue that.”

Hoosac’s last win against the Wildcats, by a final of 12-7, came in Lee on Sept. 20, 2019. However, Lee beat the Hurricanes by that same exact score on Nov. 8, the Western Mass. D-VIII semifinals.

“Hoosac has been a great rivalry for us over the past few years being in the same division and league,” Thomson said. “We’ve had some nail-biters and nothing but respect, they’ve been a flagship program in the county for a long time.

“We have to be at our best because we know they’ll be ready for us.”

Pittsfield (4-1) at Taconic (2-4), 6 p.m., Today

One of these two teams will leave BCC’s turf with a snapped winning streak.

The Generals, ranked sixth in D-V, are coming off a 44-20 win over South Hadley and proving to be an unstoppable force on the offensive end. Last week marked the fourth-straight week with at least 40 points. Patrick Rindfuss added another five touchdowns to his stat sheet, Louis Rhodes and Davon Solomon continue to be strong weapons in the offense with nine total touchdowns on the year.

Taconic is 16th in D-VIII after Dez Merced’s 100-yard pick-6 was the difference in a 20-14 win at Chicopee. With Merced and Sean Harrigan, who had two interceptions last week, on the outside, the Green and Gold may have some chances to load the box and trust the corners on Pittsfield's receivers. The issue, however, is loading the box with defenders means that just one broken tackle can turn into a touchdown, which has been the calling card for Rindfuss as Pittsfield’s quarterback.

Taconic is going to have to take — and make — a few chances to keep up with a Generals squad that can put up numbers in a hurry.

Drury (3-1) at Smith Vocational (1-4), 6 p.m., Today

The Blue Devils exited St. Joseph’s Park a week ago with a bad taste in their mouths after falling 34-30 against Pathfinder.

Drury had chances to take the game and is setting sights on Smith Vocational with hopes of getting back on track. Don’t be fooled by the 1-4 record, the Vikings are currently 24th in D-VIII’s 41-team race due to a tough schedule thus far.

Drury is 21st in D-VII and tailback Louis Guilotte has been virtually unstoppable with 831 yards rushing and five touchdowns on 80 attempts through four games. Pathfinder rushed for over 200 yards against the Blue Devil defense, but a week of practice may be enough for the Mount Greylock and Drury co-op to tie up the loose strings and return to an identity that outscored opponents 74-12 in the first three games.

Monument Mountain (2-2) at Pathfinder (2-4), 7 p.m., Today

Don’t let last week’s bye distract from you the fact that the Spartans enter the weekend riding a two-game winning streak. Monument is starting to figure things out with 14-0 wins over Athol and Smith Vocational. Quarterback Hunter DeGrenier suffered an injury in the win against Smith Voc. and Reece Mullen was forced into action under center, completing a 27-yard touchdown pass to Ashton Aloisi.

The Spartans are ranked 21st in D-VI and are playing Pathfinder, the 21st-ranked team in D-VIII.

Not only do the Pioneers like to run the football, they love to force defenders to make instinctive decisions in the process. Pathfinder crowds the line of scrimmage and leans on a variety of misdirection to find lanes. Additionally, they’ll hand the ball to Giovanni Perniciaro before a bundle of offensive players begin pushing him past the line of scrimmage and down the field.

Monument Mountain has showcased its ability to slow down the run since Week 1. However, the Spartans run into trouble when they don’t score and the defense is forced to remain on the field for most of the game. A touchdown or two early will have Monument cooking with Crisco.

Northampton (5-1) at Wahconah (6-0), 7:30 p.m., Today

Every week seems to be a heavy-weight fight but the Warriors are yet to get knocked down. Quarterback Ryan Scott threw five touchdowns against Amherst with Ben Noyes capturing three passes for points. Additionally, Jonah Smith averaged close to 7 yards per carry and has 13 rushing touchdowns through six games.

The Warriors reached the top of D-VII by outscoring opponents 86-15 over the last two weeks. Wahconah started the season with a win over Pittsfield and knocked off previously undefeated teams in Week 4 and Week 5.

Northampton, which is ranked eighth in D-IV, is the next fighter to step into the ring and take a swing at Wahconah. Both teams are 3-0 in the Suburban South, which means that the winner of this game will be alone atop the league standings.

The Blue Devils are riding a four-game winning streak and have won each of the last three games by at least 12 points. The Warriors have scored at least 41 points in each of the last four games and that is a mark Northampton has reached just once on the year.

If keeping up with Wahconah’s offense sounds hard enough — the defense has allowed more than 14 points just once over the last four games. The Warriors have come to play and no one has kept up with them through three quarters of the season.

Jake Mendel can be reached at jmendel@berkshireeagle.com or 413-464-3655. On Twitter: @JMendel94.

Sports Reporter

As a lifelong Pittsfield resident, Jake gravitates to the nearest field or park. He joined The Eagle as a paperboy in 2005 and worked his way up, becoming a full-time reporter in 2018. He's currently a sports reporter.