I n the first quarter, it looked like the Whitehall that played in every other game of the season.
After that, it looked like the Whitehall that played Rensselaer two weeks ago.
The Railroaders varsity football team jumped out to an opening drive 8-0 lead against the Rams in the Section II Class D semifinals Oct. 30, but were unable to hold onto the lead as the Rams scored the next 27 points on the way to a 33-22 ousting of Whitehall from the sectionals.
“The whole key was when they ran the punt back,” said head coach John Millett on Tom Collins’ 64-yard return to tie the game in the second quarter. “That took the momentum away from us and gave it to them.”
The Railroaders started the game with an eight-play, 67 yard drive that was finished with a near-zero yard run by Josh Hoagland on a goal line formation into the end zone. Brice Cook then caught the conversion pass from Codie Bascue for an 8-0 lead.
The Railroaders then forced two punts from the Rams offense, but were unable to finish their second drive of the game (10 play drive that resulted in a turnover on downs at the Rams’ 27) and went three-and-out on the next. The resulting punt resulted in Collins’ equalizing punt return and conversion run.
The Rams scored a second touchdown in the first half to give the Rams a 14-8 lead at halftime before scoring on the opening play of the third quarter and then recovering an onside kick and marching 43 yards in 10 plays to give them a 27-8 lead four minutes into the second half.
The Railroaders scored on two of their final three drives of the game, with Hoagland scoring from one and 16 yards out, respectively. Rensselaer added a score of their own to make the final score 33-22.
In the game, Hoagland ran the ball 32 times for 178 yards and three touchdowns. Evan McLaughlin added 37 yards on eight carries, while Bascue and Jake Evans added 19 and 14 yards, respectively.
Bascue finished his junior season at quarterback by going 2-for-5 for 17 yards, with both passes completed to Cook. Hoagland was 0-for-5 throwing the ball.
Defensively, Zach Diekel finished with three tackles-for-loss while Cook and Jordan LaCroix each had two. AJ Ricketts forced and recovered the only turnover of the game for the Railroaders on a fumble.
The Railroaders finished the 2010 campaign at 5-3, a far cry from the 17-game losing streak that was ended one year ago (6-3 since).
“It has been a big turn-around, hasn’t it,” said Millett after the game. “The attitude has been good all year long and these kids always played hard right to the end, including today.”
For the season, Hoagland finished with 1,333 yards rushing and 21 touchdowns on the ground. He also had 1,548 total yards between rushing, passing and receiving, with a total of 25 offensive touchdowns to go with a defensive touchdown on four interceptions.