Saturday, November 14, 2009

Panthers pounce on OFA; HF field hockey moves on; HS wrestling kicks off

Hoosick Falls' Alex Hansen (38) jumps for joy after scoring a touchdown in Saturday's 51-6 Class C regional final victory over Ogdensburg Free Academy at Stillwater Central Schools. Hansen scored three touchdowns in the win. (Photos by J.S. Carras - The Record)

Hansen tries to shed a OFA tackler during Saturday's game. The Panthers advance to the NYSPHSAA Class C semifinals against Bronxville Saturday at Dietz Stadium in Kingston. Kickoff is set for Noon.

The game was close throughout the first half, as the Panthers struggled to get anything going offensively.

After a poor snap on a punt that gave OFA the ball on the Hoosick Falls 20-yard line, Steve Colvin recovered a fumble two plays later. Two plays after that, junior QB Mike Brewster hit Alex Hansen for a 71- yard screen pass touchdown...and the rout was on.

The Panthers added three more scores in the second quarter and the mighty Quinn Rasmus added a third quarter field goal and six extra point kicks in the big-time regional round victory for Hoosick Falls. The Panthers advance to the Class C semis for the first time since 2003, a season in which they went all the way to the Carrier Dome.

"Six years ago, Alex Lilac was a ball boy, or he was schlepping the water around," Hoosick Falls head coach Ron Jones said of his sophomore QB and DB. "The alums from '03 have checked in and it gives them an occasion to talk to each other. The '05 and the '06 guys are talking to each other, too. As the guy running the program, that just makes me really happy. We give the older guys a reason to come back together. They’re proud of us and we’re proud of them."

Check out the full story in Sunday's edition of The Record.

In other Hoosick Falls news, the field hockey team defeated Pine Plains 1-0 Saturday afternoon, setting up a NYSPHSAA Class C semifinal matchup with Port Jefferson Friday at 5:30 p.m. in Vestal.

Unfortunately, we didn't have space for the following story in Saturday's paper, so here it is, better late than never.

Early-season questions vanish as Hoosick Falls field hockey advances to NYS Class C regional final

William Montgomery
The Record

HOOSICK FALLS - This was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the Hoosick Falls field hockey team.
The Panthers allowed four goals on four shots in an August scrimmage against Queensbury, their first competition of the season. Having lost the top two leading scorers and the starting goalkeeper from the 2008 squad to graduation, the Panthers felt that they might be in for a long season as inexperienced players accustomed themselves to the varsity level.
"We thought it was going to be a rough year," said head coach Denise Campbell, in her 12th year with the program. "We started doing more scrimmages and we started getting better and better. We started getting confidence and thinking we might have a pretty good chance this year. Then we beat Greenwich the first time, the momentum built and we felt this was going to be a pretty good year."
Hoosick Falls wound up tying Greenwich for the Wasaren League regular season title and went on to capture the Section II Class CC championship. After defeating Bronxville Wednesday afternoon in a regional semifinal, the Panthers find themselves in unexpected, yet not unprecedented, territory.
Hoosick Falls (18-2) plays Pine Plains (9-6-1) of Section IX in a Class C regional final Saturday at the Hudson Valley Sportsdome in Milton. Game time is 4 p.m. and admission is $8.
"We started off as not such a great team because we were a new team, basically," said senior captain Marissa Davendonis. "We never really worked together before. But halfway through, once we started getting to know each other and building relationships, we got stronger on the front line and defensively and we began to work together as one. I think that’s what it is. Friendship."
Junior forward Samantha Skott leads the team in scoring with 21 goals – no other Panthers player has more than five – and she is just fine with the target squarely on her back.
"A lot of the teams in our league do know that and they have me marked pretty well," Skott said. "To me, it doesn’t matter. As long as I can get the ball and cross it, I know one of my teammates is going to be there to put in it. It’s not about who scores, it’s about making plays."
Freshman goalkeeper Frankie Pearson has also made a major impact for the Panthers, having played in all 20 games, posting 13 shutouts along the way.
State-level postseason competition is nothing new for Davendonis, who played a solid left field on a Panthers softball team that advanced to New York’s Class C Final Four in June. She doesn’t see too many similarities between the sports athletically, but believes there is a mental aspect to playoff games that carries over.
"You can kind of apply how bad you want it and the passion you have for the sport," she said. "Field hockey is my main sport, so going this far is really amazing for me. But going that far in softball means that I know I can do it in anything."
The Panthers have won six Section II championships this decade and are aiming for their first state title since 1991.
The field hockey team will likely know whether it heads to the New York State Final Four next weekend in Vestal by 7 p.m. Saturday, the same time the football team kicks off in Stillwater in their Class C quarterfinal game.
"Everyone is talking about it," said Skott. "I have to be honest, it’s more about football, but that’s OK. It’s great. How many other schools have two teams going this far?"

Section II wrestling coaches also put on quite the show at their first-ever media day event at Shen this morning, and here is a story on some of the Rensselaer County wrestlers looking forward to big things in 2009-10.

Bengals building on Oswald
Tamarac wrestler won school’s first Section II title a year ago

William Montgomery
The Record

CLIFTON PARK - In the not too distant past, the Tamarac High School wrestling team often struggled to field a full roster.
Now, thanks in large part to Jake Oswald, the Bengals barely have enough practice mats.
Oswald won the Section II Division II 140-pound championship last season, becoming the first Tamarac wrestler to win a Section II title. Interest in the sport is growing, as the Bengals have 35 athletes wrestling at the high school level and 75 youngsters are competing in the Brunswick Pee Wee program.
"Now everyone expects a lot out of me, so I have to do it for me and everyone else, too," Oswald said at Saturday’s Journeymen Fall Wrestling Clinic at Shenendehowa High School East.
350 young grapplers were on hand to hone their skills for the upcoming season and meet Mixed Martial Arts superstar Urijah Faber. The high school wrestling season begins the first week of December.
Oswald has been busy since the end of the 2008-09 season, running and lifting weights to get in shape, but he was looking forward to a bit of friendly competition at the clinic.
"I didn’t have that much mat time, so that’s why I’m here," Oswald said. "I’m trying to get ready, trying to get back in the groove. I’m just trying to get my head focused for what’s to come this year."
Oswald, a four-year starter for the Bengals, is 10 victories shy of 100 for his career.
"He’s really enthused about this year," said Tamarac head coach Erick Roadcap. "He wants to get back to the states and he wants to get on that podium. He doesn’t want to just get back there. He’s worked hard in the offseason and it should be a great year."
"I have one goal: state champ," said Oswald. "That’s all there is this year."
Wallace returns from injury
Columbia High School sophomore Evan Wallace, who already has amassed 83 career victories, did not have the most enjoyable offseason. He broke his ankle in the Blue Devils’ first spring practice and was sidelined until August.
A two-time Section II Class A finalist, Wallace was elected a team captain for the 2009-10 season. It was the first time Columbia head coach Anthony Servidone could recall an underclassmen voted a Blue Devils captain.
"It was my first injury, but my brother had hurt his knee in his sophomore year and what he went through, I went through," said Wallace, who figures to wrestle in the 130-140 pound range this season.
Seniors E.J. Hart and Jory Hutchins were also voted team captains for a group that returns 13 of 15 starters.
Angelo Kress, who won 22 matches as a seventh grader at 112 pounds a year ago, is also improved and now looks to fit in at the 119-125 range.
Knights nearing milestones
Lansingburgh High School has produced 10 wrestlers with 100 career victories and three more could join those ranks this season. Senior captains Will Richards (30 shy of 100), Austin Schnapp (27) and Chad Obzud (25) are all on track to reach that milestone sometime during Laningburgh’s potential 50-match schedule.
Lansingburgh head coach Dan Bechand said he was pleased to see Richards and Schnapp compete on the cross country team this fall, which he believes has them in great shape for the season.
Elsewhere in the Colonial Council, much is expected of Watervliet, which returns almost all of its 2008-09 Colonial Council championship team.
Cohoes’ Paul Billings, a senior, and Dustin Hallock, a junior, are looking to build upon strong showings in last year’s Section II Class CC tournament. Freshman Connor Franzese is also expected to contribute for the Tigers.

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