Friday, October 9, 2009

Panthers protect Ken Baker Jug

We have been playing tackle football in this country for well over 100 years, but it felt like everything right in the entire history of the game culminated Friday night in Hoosick Falls.

Hoosick Falls and Cambridge, both undefeated, were playing for a share of first place in Section II's Class C North Division. But that wasn't all. Both schools owe their programs to Ken Baker, who coached both teams before retiring in 1995. He passed away unexpectedly last year and the programs he inspired have been paying tribute to him ever since.

The Ken Baker Jug now goes to the winner of the annual Cambridge-Hoosick Falls game, and Baker's widow Ann, son, Brian and the winners of the Ken Baker Scholarship (Hoosick Falls' Carly Pine and Cambridge's Jordan Hastings - fine athletes and good interviews both) were among the thousands on hand for the celebration.

It was everything one could ask for in a high school football game. Cheering fans as far as the eye could see, the band and cheerleaders screaming away and a wonderful game between the lines, too.

Hoosick Falls jumped out to a 14-point lead, but the Indians clawed their way back into the game with a pair of unanswered rushing touchdowns in the third quarter. The Panthers' narrow two-point lead held up, as Cambridge quarterback Kyle Parmenter lofted a last-ditch pass to his top target Jesse Lybert in the corner of the end zone, only to have it poked away and the Panthers storm the field in celebration of their hard-fought 21-19 victory.

With the light mist and the lights and the drama...it was like Hoosiers...just with football.
This was what high school football is supposed to be all about and all the players from Hoosick Falls and Cambridge should be proud that they were a part of it. Bravo.

"Ken Baker was having fun watching this game up there in Heaven," Hoosick Falls junior quarterback Mike Brewster said. "I’m sure he had a great time."

Hoosick Falls boosters hang out in the press box at Ken Baker Field at Hoosick Falls Central School Friday night before the Panthers' game against Cambridge. This was the last regular season game that press box saw - the Panthers will install new bleachers next season - and was it ever a dandy. (All photos by J.S. Carras - The Record).

Hoosick Falls junior quarterback Mike Brewster is brought down by Cambridge's Cody Motisiff (9). Brewster passed for 111 yards and rushed for 25 more on 11 carries.

Hoosick Falls senior running back Alex Hansen is wrapped up by a Cambridge defender during Friday's game. Hansen rushed for 70 yards on 23 carries and scored a touchdown in the second quarter.

Hoosick Falls players run through the cheerleader's banner at the beginning of their rivalry game with Cambridge.

Youth football players form a gauntlet for the varsity players to run through prior to Friday's game. Second-graders played a flag football game and youth cheerleader performed on the field at halftime.

Hoosick Falls players stand at attention during the national anthem before Friday's game against Cambridge. Tanner Williams stands behind No. 21 Steven Colvin. Both played big roles defensively in the second half, protecting the Panthers' narrow lead.

Hoosick Falls senior cheerleader Kayla Snyder is all smiles during the Senior Day/Homecoming ceremonies prior to Friday's game at Hoosick Falls Central School.

Check out the story and the behind-the-scenes tale of Tanner Williams' goat-to-hero game in Saturday's edition of The Record.

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