Hoosac Valley QB Eugene unable to get going in loss to Millis in MIAA Division VIII Super Bowl
FOXBOROUGH — The play setup was one the Hoosac Valley offense used all year long. Quarterback Vance Eugene would drop back, scan the defense, escape the pocket and gain chunk yardage for key conversions or touchdowns. Christopher Edwards' 32-yard field goal put Millis up 17 points with 4 minutes, 1 second left in the second quarter. Trailing by three scores, Eugene knew he needed to make a play.
The senior QB produced the Hurricanes' longest play of the game on the ensuing drive, finding Nick Waterman in the flat for a 34-yard gain. Pressure forced him to miss a wide open Sam Larabee, and after a David Critelli run for a one-yard loss, his next pass fell incomplete. On fourth-and-long, the 'Canes needed more Eugene magic to keep alive any hopes of staying in the game.
Eugene dropped back and escaped the pocket to his left. He broke one tackle near the sideline and cut back toward the field. Against lesser opponents, he probably would have been able to reverse field and turn on the jets for a highlight-reel touchdown.
But the Millis defense was not just any defense.
The Mohawks did a great job of swarming to the ball throughout the game, and on the fourth-down play, not only did they corral Eugene, but they forced him to fumble away the ball. Two plays later, quarterback Bryce Latosek hit Andrew Brooks for a 50-yard score, putting Millis up by 24 points.
Millis went on to clinch its second straight state title with a 37-0 win.
"They were just there," Eugene said of Millis' defense. "They did a good job containing me. I broke out for a few runs, but they did a good job today."
Eugene's final stat line looks similar to most of Hoosac's victories. He gained 96 yards on 13 carries, but Millis never allowed the game-changing play.
"I think it just came down to that they were a very disciplined team," Hoosac right tackle Adam Bush said. "Everyone did their job. You just got to give them credit where credit is due. Vance is a fantastic athlete. I think we have a strong offensive line ourselves, but they were just very disciplined."
Hoosac came in averaging 283 yards rushing per contest, but managed just 121 on Saturday.
The 'Canes inability to move the ball on the ground forced them to look to pass. The Mohawks coverage was strong throughout, and taking away Eugene negated Hoosac's top weapon.
"It would have been better if we had the opportunity to compete and to not start off the way we did," Hoosac coach Dayne Poirot said. "I thought we made some adjustments that made it a little bit better. We shored things up a little bit, but they're an aggressive, attacking football team and showed."
Akeem Glaspie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, at @TheAkeemGlaspie on Twitter and 413-496-6252.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.