Thursday, October 21, 2010

Homecoming on hold: Hoosick Falls hosts 'Vliet Friday night

Hoosick Falls linemen Erick Mulready (58) and Jeremy Barss (78) take a breather during a game against Mechanicville earlier this season. (Photos by Mike McMahon - The Record).

HOOSICK FALLS — Tonight’s game at Hoosick Falls is going be meaningful for plenty of reasons, few of which will actually have to do with the action on the gridiron.

The Panthers (6-0, 7-0), the No. 1 seed in Class C’s North Division, host South Division No. 4 seed Watervliet (4-2, 4-3) at 7 p.m. in a quarterfinal round contest. Hoosick Falls received a bye last week when Lake George could not field a roster of at least 16 healthy players (a New York State Public High School Athletic Association rule) and was forced to postpone a number of homecoming and senior day activities.

Hoosick Falls will honor its seniors prior to tonight’s game, although pregame ceremonies are traditionally taboo in the postseason. The Panthers have only played two home games this season because of the Lake George forfeit, so Watervliet head coach Erick Bernard and the Section II football committee OK’d the pomp and circumstance without a second thought.

Hoosick Falls senior quarterback Mike Brewster, seen here looking to pass against Mechanicville earlier this season, will be one of 11 seniors honored prior to Friday's game against Watervliet.

Mike Brewster is among the 11 seniors that will be recognized in the ceremony. Hoosick Falls’ starting quarterback and outside linebacker, has completed 52-of-80 passes for 753 yards, throwing nine touchdowns against two interceptions.

Steve Colvin, John Crucetti, Garrett Foster, Nick Frazier, Ryan Hand, Chris Marshall, Connor Martin, Erick Mulready, Quinn Rasmus and Jordan Telford, will also be recognized.

Hoosick Falls, the No. 4 ranked Class C team in the latest New York State Sportswriters Association poll, has outscored opponents 217 to 39. The Panthers’ starting defense has allowed just two touchdowns in six games.

Hoosick Falls sophomore Brad Burns attempts to tackle Mechanicville's David Funaro during a game at Mechanicville earlier this season.

The unexpected bye week allowed that defense to get even tighter, as Hoosick Falls head coach Ron Jones was able to delve into his patented situation-based practices that helped his 2009 team reach the New York State Class C semifinals.

“We had a surprisingly good week of practice,” Jones said. “I was very happy with that. We worked on situations. We always work on the two-minute offense, but we also got into passing situations offensively and defensively and overtime scenarios. We broke up practice that way and changed the format around.”

Hoosick Falls sophomore Brad Burns runs with the ball at Mechanicville earlier this season.

A season ago, the Panthers relied heavily on senior running back Alex Hansen, a first team all-area selection who rushed for 1,606 yards on 214 attempts, scoring 26 touchdowns. This year, sophomore Brad Burns (56 atts., 469 yds., 6 TD) and junior Tanner Williams (48 atts., 339 yds., 9 TD) have split the duties.

Williams is also a major receiving threat, having gained 267 yards on 17 catches. Four were touchdowns.

“We’re a little more diverse this year, but we’re not as big and strong,” said Jones. “I don’t know which one is better. I couldn’t tell right now.”

Tanner Williams, a junior running back and safety for the Hoosick Falls football team, is a dual threat as a running back and a receiver.

Watervliet, on the other hand, has been reeling since losing senior running back and defensive back Ryan Manning to a season-ending shoulder injury in a Week Four game at Tamarac. The Cannoneers have gone 1-2 in their last three games and were outscored 60-16 over that stretch.

In 2008, however, an underdog Watervliet team, on the road, upset Hoosick Falls in the first round of the Class C playoffs en route to a Section II Super Bowl title.

The Hoosick Falls sports marketing class taught by Steve Kenna, who credited his students with coming up with all of the ideas, will be conducting a number of breast cancer awareness activities as part of a Coaches vs. Cancer fundraiser tonight. Both endzones on Ken Baker Field will be painted pink and a pink ribbon decal will be applied to the helmet of every player on both teams.

T-shirts will also be on sale for $15 and pin-up placards will also be available for purchase. They will be displayed on the fence ringing the field. All proceeds, of course, go to charity.

Hoosick Falls' David Couch (51) looks to make a tackle at Mechanicville earlier this season.

Class C playoff glance

(S4) Watervliet (4-2, 4-3) 
at (N1) Hoosick Falls (6-0, 7-0)
Fri., 7 p.m.
Class C quarterfinals
Notable: The Cannoneers scored an upset first round victory at Hoosick Falls on Oct. 24, 2008, winning 22-19 en route to a Section II Class C Super Bowl title. The teams did not meet in 2009.

(N3) Mechanicville (4-2, 4-3)
at (S2) Fonda-Fultonville (5-1, 5-2)
Sat., 1 p.m.
Class C quarterfinals

Notable: These teams have not met on the gridiron in recent memory. Mechanicville is making its first playoff appearance since 2006.Fonda has qualified for the playoffs every season since 1996.

(N4) Tamarac (4-2, 5-2)
at (S1) Chatham (5-0, 7-0)
Fri., 7 p.m.
Class C quarterfinals

Notable: Tamarac is making its third postseason appearance in program history. The team also played in the playoffs in 2008 and 1983, the year of its one and only Section II title. Chatham, which appeared in the Section II Class C Super Bowl last season, has qualified for the postseason every year since 2002.

(S3) Voorheesville (3-2, 5-2)
at (N2) Greenwich (5-1, 5-2)
Fri., 7 p.m.
Class C quarterfinals

Notable: Greenwich played in the Class D Super Bowl last season and has successfully made the jump to Class C in 2010. Voorheesville last won a Section II Class C Super Bowl in 1998, having defeated Greenwich in the semifinals.

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