Season, varsity career comes to an end for seniors

Following Whitehall’s season-ending 54-28 loss to Rensselaer last Friday, head coach Justin Culligan spoke to his seniors about where they had come from and what they had accomplished in four years.

He reminded them how their first season they had won only a single game but in three years since, had posted winning records and three consecutive trips to the Class D Section II playoffs.

“They’re helping us get to where we need to be,” Culligan said. “We’re consistently winning now and these seven seniors were key. Their leadership has been unbelievable.”

In Saturday’s Class D semifinal game, Whitehall’s seniors got the team off to a fast start, scoring on their first two possessions, but for every punch they threw, Rensselaer countered.

On their first possession, the Railroaders drove 60 yards in eight plays, punctuated by Paul Hanna’s 13-yard touchdown run, to take an early 6-0 advantage. But the Rams countered with a 77-yard pass from Justin Forgea to Tyler Oliver to tie the game.

Four minutes later, Josh Hoagland gave the Railroaders an eight-point lead as he scored on a seven-yard run with conversion, but the Rams answered again when Forgea escaped the pocket and scampered 31 yards to tie the game. On its next possession, Rensselaer’s Seth Butler took a handoff 84 yards for a touchdown and the Rams never looked back.

“They’re a good team,” Culligan said. “They’re 7-1 for a reason. We thought we’d be able to run the ball and control the clock but they stopped us when they needed to and their kids made some big plays. They did what they had to do to win.”

Trailing 22-14 early in the second quarter, Whitehall had a chance to seize momentum after a pass interference penalty gave them a first down at the six-yard line. But the Rams stopped Hoagland on fourth and goal from the one yard and took the ensuing drive 99 yards for a touchdown and a 29-14 lead at halftime.

Rensselaer scored on both of its possessions in the third quarter and was able to hold Whitehall in check.

 

Winning coach

“I thought we played very well,” said Rensselaer head coach Joel Preston, who guided his team to the Class D “super bowl” for the fifth consecutive season. “We started a little slow defensively and they were able to hurt us in the flats. Their quarterback did a nice job of getting outside the pocket and hit the guys in the flats but we went to man and that hurt them.”

Justin Hoagland finished the game with 140 passing yards but Rensselaer was able to hold Whitehall’s ground-and-pound offense in check. Hanna finished with 43 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries and Josh Hoagland finished with 133 yards and 3 touchdowns on 42 carries. The Railroaders, who have broken off big runs in bunches this season, only had three runs longer than 10 yards.

“We have good team speed and tackle well. Hoagland is a great player and if you don’t tackle well you won’t beat them but we got three or four hats on the ball every play,” Preston said.

Despite the score, the game was as physical as any Whitehall played all season. Several players on both teams were nicked up and left with injuries.

“We had some significant injuries but that’s this group of kids, they fought all the way to the end,” Culligan said.

Many of the players were visibly emotional following the game as they realized their season and their varsity careers had come to an end.

“It was a hell of a four years, but we just didn’t get over the hump,” said Hoagland, who finished the season with 1,496 rushing yards and 29 touchdowns.

“It’s so amazing to be part of the program, to have turned it around. It used to be top-notch and we got it going again. It feels great to be part of it,” said Paxton DeLorme. “You couldn’t have done it with a better group of guys.”

His head coach agreed.

“This is one of the funniest groups of kids to be around that I’ve had in 19 years of coaching,” Culligan said. “This was an unbelievable group of kids. It’s hard to lose a group like this.”

Comments

comments

Read more in this week's Times in newsstands now or click here to read right now with our e-edition.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Village’s public hearing continuing

Whitehall Municipal Center.

By PJ Ferguson The public hearing regarding the village’s comprehensive revitalization plan will remain open until Tuesday, April 14, as […]

N. Williams may stay closed

village board

By PJ Ferguson The section of North Williams Street that has been closed since September due to the damaged canal […]

Local slate company retools, makes PPE

slate

Millennium Slate LLC is reopening and retooling its plant to make personal protective equipment (PPE) for the Covid-19 pandemic. On […]

Telescope offers production services, state remains mum

telescope

By Matthew Saari With COVID-19 cases continuing to mount, New York State is ignoring businesses fully capable of producing personal […]

Obituary: Maxine R. St. Claire

St.Claire, Max1 photo 2

    Whitehall- Maxine R. St. Claire, a devout catholic, loving wife, Mother, Grandmother and Great Grandmother, passed through the […]

Obituary: Kenneth Robert Johnson

Johnson obit photo

After a brave battle with COPD, Kenneth “Ken”, “Kenny” Robert Johnson, passed away at his home on Friday, March 20, […]

Gov. Cuomo, Main Street needs a hand from Albany

nypalogo

Covid-19 has completely changed the way we all live. But along with worrying about keeping themselves and their families healthy, […]

County faces financial ‘uncertainties’

The Washington County Board of Supervisors

By PJ Ferguson Washington County officials are clouded by financial uncertainties stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic with County Administrator Chris […]

School slated to resume soon, officials await state guidance

Whitehall High School

By PJ Ferguson As the news develops around the COVID-19 pandemic, the Whitehall Central School District faces some changes and […]

Obituary: David G. Morehouse

Morehouse updated obit photo

Fort Ann, NY – David G. Morehouse passed away at his Dad’s house on March 13, 2020, joining his parents […]

Low COVID-19 numbers in county due to lack of testing, officials say

Washington County has declared a state of emergency resulting in the closure of all non-essential departments.

By PJ Ferguson Washington County officials project that more positive cases of the novel coronavirus exist in the county than […]

Obituary: David J. Little

David Little obit photo

Middle Granville, NY – David J. Little, age 60, passed away on March 29, 2020 at his home, with his […]