Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Hoosick Falls vs. Saranac Lake - Class C regional football preview

Class C regional playoff game
Hoosick Falls (10-0) vs. Saranac Lake (9-0, Section X)
Saturday, 1 p.m., AuSable Valley High School, Clintonville

HOOSICK FALLS — As a freshman and a sophomore at Hoosick Falls High School, Quinn Rasmus wasn’t the happiest camper on the Panthers soccer team.

Prior to his junior year, Rasmus, at right, tried out for the football team and caught on as the team’s kicker and he made 22 extra points and one giant field goal – the game-winner in the Section II Class C Super Bowl against Chatham.

This season, Rasmus has emerged as one of the major weapons in Hoosick Falls’ air attack. Rasmus, a wide receiver, has caught 18 passes for 328 yards and three touchdowns. On defense, he has intercepted three passes.

“Freshman and sophomore year I just hated soccer and my brother told me to give it a shot and I did,” Rasmus said. “I did a lot of sitting around and kicking, but it worked out. And this year, I’m starting, so it’s good.”

Rasmus, however is just one of five targets senior quarterback Mike Brewster has consistently found this season. Tanner Williams, at left, (26 recs., 398 yds., 7 TD), Brad Burns (11, 229, 2), Josh Mulready (11, 149, 1) and Randy Tutunjian (6, 107, 1) have backed Brewster, who has completed 80-of-121 passes for 1,254 yards and thrown 14 touchdowns against three interceptions.

The passing game has balanced out Hoosick Falls’ rushing attack, which has amassed a total of 2,295 yards on 306 attempts for 36 touchdowns.
Hoosick Falls head coach Ron Jones, in large part, gives credit for the Panthers’ passing success to assistant coach Josh Furnas, an Elmira native who played his college football at the University at Albany.

“Josh Furnas, he has done a great job with these guys teaching them very, very specific ways to run routes,” Jones said after Wednesday’s practice at the town park. “And that has been a very big advantage for us.”

Josh Mulready, above, is wearing a pink Mohawk during Hoosick Falls' playoff run.

Another reason the Panthers excel at throwing the football is the dedication Brewster and his receivers put in to route-running and catching following daily weight lifting sessions at the high school all summer long.

“That has been going on way before Mike was here,” Jones said. “We’ve had four or five QBs in a row to take the time and throw with the receivers. It’s made a big difference for us.”

Saturday, Hoosick Falls will see its mirror image in Section X champion Saranac Lake (9-0) in a regional playoff game at AuSable Valley High School. The Red Storm have won the Class C North Country championship two the past three years.

Saranac Lake, which runs a spread option offense like Hoosick Falls, also sports a 3-5-3 defensive alignment.

Randy Tutunjian, above, has over 100 receiving yards this season.

“They run the same defense we do and they run the same offense, mostly,” Jones said. “They’re pretty good. They hustle to the ball. They do a lot of things that good teams do well.”

Saranac Lake senior running back C.J. Stewart missed a chunk of the regular season with a knee injury, but rushed for 55 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the Red Storm’s 55-6 championship victory over AuSable Valley last week.

Saranac Lake rushed for 225 yards and four touchdowns and passed for 237 yards and three touchdowns against AuSable Valley.

“It definitely helps knowing what they’re going to do,” Williams said. “The scouting report helps. Our coaches do a great job of letting us know what they’re going to do.”

Whether they’re relying on the run or the pass in Saturday’s regional game, the Panthers also have a stout defense. Hoosick Falls’ starting defense has allowed just six touchdowns this season and four of those came in the first half of last week’s 61-28 Section II Class C Super Bowl victory over Chatham.

“I think we just have to keep the emotions high and stay focused and strive to win,” Burns, at right, said.


Note: A version of this story will appear in the paper Friday or Saturday.

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