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OFA makes Hoosick Falls battle from behind in New York State Class C Football playoff action

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STILLWATER - OFA did two things against Hoosick Falls, in Friday night’s New York State Quarter-Final Class C football game, that no other team had done all season.

The Blue Devils scored a first quarter touchdown and made the Section 2 champion Panthers play from behind.

But prevailing in a matchup of staunch defenses, undefeated Hoosick Falls gained an advantage with the place-kicking artistry of Damon Dubois and scored 24 straight points in a 27-6 victory at Stillwater High School.

“We were never able to run against their defense, they were really tough up front. And their kicker was a real weapon,” said OFA coach Matt Tessmer after the contest where Dubois booted a 36-yard field goal in the first quarter, a 34-yarder in the third quarter and added three PATs as the undefeated defending state champions moved on to the New York State Class C semi-finals.

“But we played so tough and we were so resilient tonight”.

The Blue Devils used their resiliency by answering Dubois’ first field goal with a second quarter scoring drive capped when quarterback Josh Liebstein found fullback Jordan McCormick in the endzone on a rollout pass from six yards out.

Liebstein (9x28-0-127) also connected with McCormick (4-40) for a 20-yard gain on a screen pass in the drive and set up the TD by finding Jon Tayler to convert a fourth and 10 situation.

With the OFA defense jamming the Panthers’ running attempts the Devils generated another threat in the second quarter when Liebstein collaborated with Nick Sweeney (3-72) with a 56-yard bomb.

But the Panthers secured a red zone stop and regained the lead for good when fullback Brandon Hodges (14-61 rushing, 2-89 receiving) scored on an eight yard run after rambling 62 yards with a screen pass. Quarterback Garrett Wright, who completed eight of 22 passes for 150 yards, sustained the drive picking up a critical first down on a keeper.

The Devils were never able to answer against the Panthers’ defense and Wright making the right decision on a keeper would produce the game’s most pivotal play midway through the fourth quarter.

With the Panthers holding a 13-6 lead Wright called his own number on a fourth and one play and broke off a 13-yard run to the one-yardline.

He scored on the next play and the Panthers took a 20-6 lead with 7:56 to play.

Hoosick Falls’ momentum cascaded when Dave Hardesty returned a fumble 32 yards to endzone shortly after Liebstein was knocked out of the game with an injury.

“The fourth down play was an option and Garrett Wright made a great decision. At first I didn’t think he was going to keep it but he always does a great job with that play,” said Hoosick Falls coach Ron Jones.

“Our defense staff did a great job making defensive adjustments tonight. We knew they (OFA) were really on a roll and they were a very tough team and very resilient.”

The Devils resiliency continued well after the issue had been decided. Both Jon Rogers and Nick Sweeney carried a gang of tackles for several yards on the kickoffs.

“We played like champions tonight and these guys will be champions for the rest of their lives,” said Tessmer.

“We had some great seniors who really set the tone for the season. They were very competitive and they gave us great toughness”.

Jordan McCormick led OFA with seven tackles, Joe Loffler and Jake King followed with six and Will Pearson blocked a punt. Mike Mattott and Derek Bird each had six tackles for Hoosick Falls and Jake Bakaitis had a sack.

Hoosicck Falls 27 - OFA 6

OFA 6 0 0 0 6

Hoosick Falls 3 7 3 14 27

First Quarter;

HF- Dubois 36 field goal

OFA - McCormick on 6 pass from Liebstein (kick failed).

Second Quarter

HF- Hodges on 8 run (Dubois kick).

Third Quarter

HF - Dubois on 34 field goal.

HF - Wright on 1 run (Dubois kick)

Fourth Quarter

HF: Wright on 1 run (Dubois kick).

HF - Hardesty on 24 return of fumble recovery (Dubois kick)

———————————————

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Rushing: Hoosick Falls: Wright 4-19, Mattat 4-37, Hodges 14-61.OFA: McCormick 15-36, Liebstein 10-24, Rogers 2-120.

Passing: Hoosick Falls: Wright 8x22-0- 150OFA: Liebstein 9x28-0-127 1 TD, Dalton 2x5-0-21.

Receiving: Hoosick Falls: Brewster 3-31, Hodge 2-89, Peabody 3-32.OFA: Tayler 1-12, McCormick 4-40 1 TD, Sweeney 3-72, Goolden 1-5, Rogers 2-12.

Records: OFA 9-2., Hoosic Falls 11-0.

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