Hoosac Valley defense bottles up Lee in 12-7 win
LEE — With under a minute remaining in the fourth quarter, the Hoosac Valley Hurricanes needed five yards on fourth down to ice a win over Lee. The Hurricanes gave the ball to their workhorse, senior Liam Feeley. Feeley, who finished with 90 yards on 23 carries, cut to the outside and gained seven yards on the play, sealing the 12-7 victory.
"Even though were are on the wrong side of the scoreboard, that [game] was fun to watch," Lee coach Keith Thomson said. "That is what Berkshire County is known for. Physical smash-mouth football and I think that is what you got from both sides of the ball tonight."
In a game that showcased two defensive juggernauts, the Hurricanes (3-0) made the plays when they needed them the most, which started with Feeley late in the first half. The senior took a hand-off and was instantly met by a Wildcat defender. However, he ducked the tackle and turned on the jets for a 28-yard gain, giving the Hurricanes their first red-zone opportunity of the night. After pushing the ball down to the one, with just 41 seconds left in the half, quarterback Carson Meczywor squeezed through a pile of pads for six, giving the Hurricanes a 6-0 lead headed into half. The touchdown run came on fourth down, which was one of three fourth-down conversations Hoosac Valley had on that drive alone.
"The kids were getting hungry and we went into the locker room fired up," coach Mark Harrington said. "That touchdown meant the world — after that touchdown they were locked in. Most of the credit needs to go to my coordinators Mike Bostwick on offense and Matt McBride on defense. They had a great game plan and got these kids to do their jobs."
Coming out of the half it was Hoosac Valley's secondary, and specifically cornerback Izaha Stubbs making the big plays
The Wildcats (1-2) were driving after quarterback Jimmy Purcell sold a wheel route, which left the middle of the field wide open as he connected on a bomb to Nick Nicotra, good for 52 yards. The Hurricanes forced Purcell and company into fourth-and-goal from the 11-yard line. Purcell sent a pass to the outside with a receiver in the corner of the end zone, but Stubbs left his feet to tip the pass and prevent it from hitting its mark.
"The linebackers filled their holes and made them pass to the outside," Stubbs explained. "Coach tells me what to do and I go out and do it. I'm just trying to play my role on this team."
Stubbs made his presence known all evening, as he stepped up and make some tackles in the running game and halted a second Wildcat drive with a deflection on a fourth-down try.
"They have a lot of size so we were trying to spread them out a little bit," Thomson said. "We had our moments early, but couldn't sustain it."
Stubbs also made an impact on offense, as he took a bubble-pass 65-yards down the field after making two defenders miss. The drive ended with Feeley's sixth touchdown of the season. The three-yard run gave the Hurricanes a 12-0 lead.
Late in the fourth quarter, the Wildcats found their rhythm and marched down the field with the help of some big-time passes from Purcell to Nicotra, Gabe Kelley and Luke Patella. Jack Purcell, who had eight carries for 20 yards on the night, punched it in for six with roughly two minutes remaining. Patella nailed the extra point, cutting Hoosac's lead to just five.
"We had the two-minute drill at the end that I thought was terrific and we executed it really well to go down and get that touchdown, it was just a little bit too late," Thomson said. "At the end of the day, I am real proud of the effort. Our guys laid it on the line for four quarters tonight and that is a pretty good football team over there. It is a long season and we have a lot to build on."
The Wildcats attempted the onside kick, but Hoosac recovered the kick before Feeley sealed the deal.
The Wildcats are back at home next week as they host Pittsfield. The Hurricanes have their first home game of 2019 as they host Putnam. Both games are scheduled for 7 p.m. on Friday night.
"We joked around this week in practice, but once we came out [for the game] we were focused," Stubbs said. "We'll have to stay focused next week and go get that dub against Putnam."
Hoosac Valley 0 6 0 6 — 12
Lee 0 0 0 7 — 7
H — Carson Meczywor 1 run (pass failed), 0:41.
H — Liam Feeley 3 run (pass failed), 10:34.
L — Jack Purcell 4 run (Luke Patella kick), 2:43.
First Downs 6 9
Rushes-yards 40-149 30-77
Com-Att-Int 3-8-0 8-20-0
Passing yards 154 87
Turnovers 0 0Penalties 3-30 2-15
RUSHING — H: Feeley 23-90; Aaron Bush 7-31; Meczywor 5-2; Shaun Kastner 4-34; Izaha Stubbs 1-(-10). L: Jack Purcell 8-20; Gabe Kelley 11-38; Nick Nicotra 6-5; Tag Roosa 1-2; Jimmy Purcell 4-12.
PASSING — H: Meczywor 3-8-87. L: Jimmy Purcell 8-19-154; Nicotra 0-1.
RECEIVING — H: Kastner 2-22, Stubbs 1-65. L: Nicotra 5-96; Patella 2-30; Cole Redstone 2-17; Kelley 1-11.
Jake Mendel can be reached at email@example.com, at @JMendel94 on Twitter and 413-496-6252.
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