The Whitehall varsity football team opens defense of the Class D, North Division Championship tomorrow night as the Railroaders host the Hoosic Valley Indians on Friday, Sept. 5.
The game is a rematch of last year’s lopsided contest, that saw Whitehall trounce the Indians 56-0 behind Josh Hoagland’s 240-yard, 44-point effort. But the teams that take the field tomorrow night are far different than the ones that played last year.
Gone are Josh Hoagland and many of the skill players who fueled Whitehall’s offense a season ago and the team returns only four starters on each side of the ball.
“Athletically we match up with other teams, but some of the kids just don’t have that football knowledge. It’s a constant coaching process,” head coach Justin Culligan said.
Junior Brian McLaughlin and freshman Daryl Hillman will be given a shot to replace some of the offensive production and will be joined in the backfield by fullbacks Ryan Putorti and Julian Barber.
Culligan said the offense will rely more on the arm of quarterback Justin Hoagland, who is entering his third year as signal caller for the Railroaders.
Up front, the team returns three starters—Brandon Steves, Brandon Donaldson and Logan Dudley—and expects contributions from transfer student Josh DeSautels.
Defensively, the Railroaders return several key players and will run a 46 defense.
“We want to give our backers room to run,” Culligan said. “Last year we had a bend but don’t break defense. This year, we’re going back to a more aggressive style and are hoping to create more turnovers.”
Hoosic Valley, which went 1-7 last year and had to forfeit its final two games, should look much different than the team Whitehall played last year and returns only a handful of starters.
The team, which ran a very basic Wing-T offense a season ago, is expected to show different looks this year and will run more plays out of the spread and pro-set formations.
Defensively the team will employ a 4-3 defense and try and funnel everything to Anthony Wasiyo, a transfer from Columbia, who has looked good in camp.
With road games looming against Canajoharie (Sept. 13) and Fort Edward (Sept. 21), it’s important for Whitehall to get off to a good start Friday night.
Kickoff for Friday’s game is at 7 p.m.