Mike Perrone has been warning his Warrensburg football players to not be fooled by their early season victory over Hoosic Valley.
“We’ve seen them the last couple of weeks, and they’re certainly a much-improved team than the one we played in Week 2,” the Burghers’ head coach said.
Warrensburg brings its 7-1 record into Saturday’s Class D championship game against Hoosic Valley, set for 1 p.m. at Schuylerville High School. It is the Burghers’ first trip to the Section II finals since its 2004 upset of Cambridge.
The winner advances to the state quarterfinals against Section VII champ Moriah next Saturday.
The Indians (6-3) come into the game on a six-game winning streak after opening the season with losses to Cambridge-Salem, Warrensburg and Whitehall. They avenged the loss to Whitehall last week with a 22-7 semifinal victory.
“We’re playing better football than we were earlier in the year,” Hoosic Valley head coach Pete Porcelli said. “We made some personnel changes, moved some guys around. I’m proud of the guys for sticking with it and buying in.”
“We keep saying that Hoosic Valley is a different team since Week 2, but we’re much-improved, too,” said Perrone, whose Burghers rolled to a 60-8 semifinal win over Fort Edward. “Our goal was to be playing good football at the end of the year, and we are. We’re starting to click defensively and our offensive line is playing absolutely amazing.”
Perrone said the Burghers’ 34-14 victory over Hoosic Valley on Sept. 7 was the result of two factors.
“We had three or four big fourth-down stops, and we made some third-down conversions — and those swung the momentum,” Perrone said. “So I told the kids, we made five or six big-time plays that made the difference in the game. If they made those plays, it could’ve been a different result.”
Warrensburg runs a wing-T offense that is heavy on the run, led by Jesse Griffin’s 1,102 yards and 12 touchdowns. Dylan Winchell and Mac Baker have also contributed, and senior quarterback Evan MacDuff is an effective passer.
The Burghers’ offensive line is big and solid, anchored by seniors Hunter Mosher and Chris Wilson, and tight end Brandon Bailey.
“We’ve thrown a lot of things at our O-line — teams try to switch up fronts on us, but our kids communicate and they can make adjustments on the fly,” Perrone said.
Hoosic Valley runs the double-wing offense, led by William Scofield, who has rushed for 1,258 yards and 17 touchdowns.
“They’ve changed their offense to more of a flexbone look with two wide receivers, but they’re running double-wing concepts out of it,” Perrone said. “With two wideouts, it takes our corners out of the box to open things up.”
Perrone said the Burghers hope to learn from Whitehall’s mistakes in the semifinals.
“They used Whitehall’s aggressiveness against them,” he said. “While we want to be aggressive, we have to maintain gap control and not get too far upfield, because they will run under you.”
“Our goal was to get to the Super Bowl and we achieved that,” Porcelli said. “Warrensburg will be a firm test — their quarterback is very good, they run their offense well and they play very disciplined defense. We’re looking forward to playing a great team.”