Akeem Glaspie: Thankful that more high school football is on the way

As families across the country sit down to enjoy their Thanksgiving meals of turkey (I prefer mine deep fried), stuffing, green bean casserole and whatever other side dishes they prefer, many will take time to reflect on what they're most thankful for. Great friends, loving family, a good job — all that is well and fine. But for me, naturally, I'm always thankful for great sports.

Throughout Berkshire County, football fans can be thankful for the Hoosac Valley football team. The Hurricanes (11-0) will take an undefeated record into Gillette Stadium next Saturday to face Millis (10-1) for the Division VIII state championship.

Attending a high school football game at the hallowed stadium is always a thrilling experience.

Berkshire County football fans can be thankful that they have another chance to watch a local team compete for a state championship. A win would be the first state title for a local team under the current format.

As I write this column, eagerly awaiting my impending turkey-induced food coma, I can't help but wonder: What are the members of the Hoosac Valley football team thankful for? I'll start with three items for now — our food is waiting, after all.

Head coach Dayne Poirot

It would be hard not to place Poirot high up on the list of thankfulness. He's continued the success of the program that he helped build as a player and defensive coordinator, before inheriting it from John Duval. He's averaged 8.3 wins over his six years as head coach and has never had a losing season. He runs a lively practice, filled with blaring music, giving players the feel of a college or NFL-type session. He's even-keeled on the sidelines, but is quick with a pat on he back — championship belts and all — or a kick in the butt when necessary. The 'Canes have a close-knit program and it's clear Poirot gets the most out of his players.

A talented group of linemen

Ever since I arrived in Berkshire County, Hoosac's formula for success has been the same: Run the ball down the throats of the opposition. Yes, the 'Canes have had talented backs, from Ty Mach to Avery Hall to the current group of talented ballcarriers. But the play of their linemen has always stood out. Players such as Jameson Coughlan and Peter Barrow often set the tone for a physical team. Adam Bush, Joe Degere, John Krol, Nolan Roberts and Dominic Acquista have maintained the high-level play of Hoosac's road graders. The team's 76-34 win over Nashoba Tech in the state semifinal was the perfect example of what a squad can do with excellent play in the trenches. Hoosac's runners often went untouched into the end zone, and their ability to gain yards in chunks (over 600 total), was too much for Nashoba to withstand.

Vance Eugene's legs

You could say that the third thing the Hoosac football team is thankful for is a direct result of the second thing, until you see quarterback Vance Eugene break into open space. Like Matt Koperniak before him, Eugene's ability to create with his legs adds another deadly element to Hoosac's offense. Tackling Eugene one-on-one is a tall task, as he leaves defenders in his dust with highlight-reel jukes and spins moves. His 15 rushing touchdowns are second on the team behind Matt Hall's 18. The ball-fakes and option plays he deploys create confusion for opposing defenses, leading to more space for other runners.


Hoosac's preparation for the state championship has already begun, but the players should also be thankful for the extra time between the game to rest up. What else do Berkshire County football fans have to be thankful for? Feel free to let me know.

Akeem Glaspie can be reached at aglaspie@berkshireeagle.com, at @TheAkeemGlaspie on Twitter and 413-496-6252.


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