Hoosac celebrates

Hoosac celebrates an advance during a game against Northampton in Adams on Friday night.

Northampton puts away Hoosac in OT

{child_byline}By Howard Herman, The Berkshire Eagle{/child_byline}

ADAMS — To the winner goes the spoils.

For Northampton’s Dominic Badorini, it’s a chance to crow a bit over his father Mike. After all, Mike Badorini played for some pretty good Hoosac Valley football teams under Joe Alcaro in the mid-1980s. Friday night, it was Dominic who got the “W” against his father’s alma mater.

“I think I might,” the younger Badorini said, when asked who gets the bragging rights after visiting Northampton beat the Hurricanes 24-18 in overtime Friday night. It was the season opener for both teams. “For a couple of days, I won’t let him hear it too much.”

Mike Badorini did not play very much high school football at Renfrew Park, the site of Friday night’s game, since the Hurricanes played their home games on Saturdays at the Cheshire campus. His son, who had a big game for the Blue Devils, did say that it was a major topic of conversation in their home.

“We’ve been talking a lot about it,” Dominic Badorini said. “I’ve always talked about playing Hoosac and I never really thought we’d play them. It was so cool to play against them and play against my dad’s old team. That was pretty awesome.”

Not nearly as awesome for Northampton as the result was. Blue Devils quarterback Ben Sledzieski hit Trey Rios on a 17-yard touchdown pass in the final minute of the fourth quarter, sending the game into overtime. Then, after the Hurricanes failed to score in the extra possession, Sledzieski ran the ball in on the second play of Northampton’s first series in overtime to win the game.

It was a tough pill to swallow for the Hurricanes, who held the ball for all but four plays in the fourth quarter, and were just stopped in overtime when quarterback Carson Meczywor came up inches short of the goal line on a fourth-down play.

Hoosac coach Mike Bostwick was disappointed with the final score, but not with the effort his team put out for more than 48 minutes.

“It’s building for us. It builds some resilience for us and teaches us a little bit of life lessons,” the Hoosac coach said. “I hate to lose. I never want to lose, and it doesn’t matter who I’m playing against. In this circumstance, it’s a learning process for our guys and hopefully we get the first one out of the way and that’s the end of it.”

Meczywor, who scored on runs of one yard in the second quarter and three yards in the fourth to put the Hurricanes up 18-12, echoed his coach’s feelings on giving a bigger school like Northampton all it could handle.

“To stay in the game with a higher-level division [team] is definitely good,” he said. “It’s definitely a game that we could have won as well. I think we can compete with higher-level teams, and keep working every day.”

The Hurricanes got the ball to start overtime. In high school football, each team gets four downs from the 10-yard line, and teams keep playing until the contest is decided.

Aaron Bush gained a yard on first down. Then Shaun Kastner Jr., who ran for a game-high 115 yards on 18 carries, ran for three more. His helmet came off, so he had to come out for a down. On third down, Meczywor ran it from the six to the three-yard line. On fourth-and-3, the senior quarterback had his number called again, and a host of Blue Devils stopped him inches from the goal line.

Northampton got its first chance and Sledzieski looked for Trevor Maslowski in the end zone but Kastner Jr. broke up the pass. On second down, the Blue Devils quarterback got a big hole and ran virtually untouched into the end zone, giving Northampton a hard-fought win.

The Hurricanes ran 59 offensive plays to 32 for the Blue Devils, but outgained them only 259 yards to 244. Both teams were plagued by penalties. Hoosac had 10 for 100 yards and Northampton had nine for 85 yards.

Sledzieski completed his first five passes and was 10 for his first 11 throws. The one miss was a second-quarter interception. He ended up going 11 of 14 for 189 yards and three touchdowns.

“He’s seeing the field a lot better this year,” Northampton coach Joe Kocot said. “He’s hitting a lot of guys. He’s very accurate. When he’s in practice, we’ll go seven, eight, 10 offensive plays without a drop or an incompletion.”

Hoosac trailed 12-6 at halftime thanks to a 37-yard pass play from Sledzieski to Badorini in the final minute of the first half.

The Hurricanes started the third quarter on their 35-yard line and marched 12 plays to paydirt. The Hurricanes, who were 3 for 3 on third-down conversions in the drive, tied the game on a five-yard touchdown run by Kastner Jr. A two-point conversion run attempt failed, and the score was tied 12-12.

The Hoosac defense shut down the Northampton offense, forcing the Blue Devils to punt. A 37-yard boot by Mykel Norris, gave Hoosac the ball on its eight.

Starting a drive from the shadow of one’s goal line is something teams don’t like to do. But the Hurricanes proceeded to march the ball down the field.

The Hoosac line was getting a lot of push, which resulted in a 52-carry night for Bostwick’s team. The biggest play of what appeared to be the biggest drive of the game was, surprisingly, a pass. On second and 8 from the Northampton 49, Meczywor hit Caleb Harrington for an 18-yard gain and a big first down. Six plays later, Meczywor went in from the 3-yard line. The point-after run failed, but Hoosac was up 18-12, with just over a minute to play.

Trevor Maslowski took the kickoff and returned the ball 30 yards to midfield. Sledzieski hit Badorini for 12 yards and a first down. After Norris gained seven yards on a run, the Northampton quarterback found Rios open, and the Northampton receiver outran Hoosac defenders into the end zone. The point-after kick was blocked, and overtime beckoned.

“You don’t get nearly as much if you play down. You’ve got to play against teams that are better than you, that will keep you competitive and win or lose, they’re going to make you better in the long run,” Hoosac’s Bostwick said. “I think that’s how I approached this game. I still wanted to win and the opportunity was there to win. It didn’t work out in our favor this time.”

——— Northampton 0 12 0 6 6 — 24 Hoosac Valley 0 6 6 6 0 — 18 Second Quarter N — Trey Rios 11 pass from Ben Sledzieski (Pass failed). HV — Carson Meczywor 1 run (Kick blocked). N — Dominic Badorini 37 pass from Sledzieski (Pass failed). Third Quarter HV — Shaun Kastner Jr. 5 run (Run failed). Fourth Quarter HV — Meczywor 3 run (Pass failed). N — Rios 25 pass from Sledzieski (Kick blocked). Overtime N — Sledzieski 10 run ———

Team statistics

HV N First Downs 13 9 Rushes-Yards 52-214 18-55 Passing Yards 45 189 Comp-Att-Int 4-7-0 11-14-1 Punts-Avg. 1-40.0 1-37.0 Fumbles-Lost 0-0 1-0 Penaties-Yards 10-100 9-85 ——— Individual statistics RUSHING — HV: Shaun Kastner Jr. 18-115, Carso Meczywor 12-19, Aaron Bush 10-74, Logan Davis 2-6. N — Mykel Norris 7-16, Ben Sledzieski 10-35, Dominic Badorini 1-4. PASSING — HV: Meczywor 4-7-0 45. N: Sledzieski 11-14-1 189. RECEIVING — HV: Caleb Harrington 2-44, Davis 1-3, Bush 1-(minus-2). N: Norris 2-24, Trevor Maslowski 1-8, Trey Rios 3-83, Badorini 5-84.

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Howard Herman can be reached at hherman@berkshireeagle.com or 413-496-6253.

Sportswriter-Columnist

Howard Herman is a sports columnist at The Berkshire Eagle. The dean of full-time sportswriters in Western Mass., he has been with the Eagle since 1988, and is a member of the New England Baseball and Basketball Hall of Fame.