When Saturday’s game between the Witches of Greenwich and the Indians of Hoosic Valley kicks off, it will have the feel of a Class C Super Bowl. In fact it will be one of two semifinals being played on Saturday afternoon, the other being Mechanicville at Voorheesville. With all due respect to the Blackbirds and the Red Raiders, who are an excellent squad and my dark horse pick of the four remaining teams, the Valley/Witches get together seems like the main event.
It might be because the two met in last year’s Super Bowl, won by Greenwich who fought their way to the state final, or because both teams have dominated Class C competition all season long. Greenwich has outscored C opponents by an average of 35-8 this year while Hoosic Valley’s victory margin was 42-14.
Most probably the reason this game seems bigger than a semifinal is that many people felt from midseason on that these two squads were the best in the C classification. Couple that with the Valley’s 20-13 hard fought, come from behind victory in Greenwich on week four and the anticipation of four competitive, emotional, and highly skilled quarters of football on Saturday skyrockets.
In that game back on September 16th the teams went to intermission tied at 6-6, despite Greenwich controlling most of the first half running twice as many plays as the Indians. After the break Tom Madigan scored the first of his two second half touchdowns giving the Valley a 12-6 edge that was quickly erased by Greenwich on a Reese Cristaldi touchdown, his second of the game, and with the point after the Witches led at 13-12. Madigan’s fourth quarter score decided things on that night but not much separated the two squads in that September meeting.
On the year Greenwich has run the football for just under 2100 yards. Cristaldi leads the way with 1014 yards and 10 touchdowns, followed closely by junior Cole Burgess with 671 yards and 12 scores. Burgess has gained over 500 of those yards since moving to the quarterback position midway through the year, while throwing for just over 100 yards in the ground based Witches attack.
Hoosic Valley has rushed for just under 2700 yards this season with four players gaining 300 yards or more. Madigan shows the way with 1133 yards and 22 rushing scores and senior Isaac Sanchez has gained 645 yards with 9 touchdowns. Seniors Frank Adams and Mike Schoonmaker have combined for 650 yards and 7 touchdowns, while Schoonmaker, the Valley signal caller, has thrown for 329 yards in limited passing attempts.
Both schools have quality coaching staffs led by head coaches Brandon Linnett of Greenwich and Pete Porcelli of Hoosic Valley. Both with plenty of big game experience who will, along with their squads, embrace the atmosphere on Saturday.
And that atmosphere will be electric with both schools enjoying tremendous support from their loyal and vocal fan base. Greenwich and Hoosic Valley have enjoyed fierce competition against one another for decades across many sports, and the next chapter in their storied history will play out on the football field on Saturday.
A semifinal in Schaghticoke, with a much bigger feel than that.