Coach: Dayne Poirot (2nd year)
Last year: 7-4
Key returnees: Ian Hill, Sr. RB/LB/K; Colby Gage, Sr. LB; Matt Braman, Sr. QB/DB; Brandon Tworig, Sr. WR/DB; Trevor Alibozek, Sr. TE/DE.
The Hurricanes are looking to advance past the first round of the playoffs for the first time since they beat East Longmeadow for the 2009 Division II Super Bowl.
Last year looked like it was going to be a trying one early on. Hoosac played the first few games without some of its key players, but managed to keep its head above water. The Hurricanes turned up the heat once they were back to full strength and used that momentum to make it to Western Mass. They ran into eventual Division II Super Bowl champion Wahconah in the first round.
The Hurricanes are hoping the experience some of their younger players gained by a trip to the postseason will help get the ball rolling earlier. That will need to be the case if the Hurricanes want to stay in the playoff hunt this year. Hoosac has tough Division V matchups against Athol and Mahar to begin the season before traveling to Mount Greylock in Week 3 and Wahconah in Week 5.
Braman is back under center, where he started the 2012 season before returning to his former position at running back. Braman has a good arm, and some nice targets in wide receiver Tworig and tight end Alibozek. The strength of the Hoosac attack - as has always been the case - will be the running game. And, boy, do the Hurricanes have some talented backs in Hill, Gage and Ty Mach.
Hill and Mach were integral parts on the Hurricanes' fifth-place 4x100 relay team at the Central-Western Mass. track and field championships in the spring. Mach was also a top-10 100-meter sprinter. Hill was 20th. If either of these backs get into the second level, there won't be any catching them.
On the defensive side of the ball, speed will still be a weapon for Hoosac. Hill will play at linebacker and/or defensive end, and will make a lot of tackles. Mach, Tworig and Braman are in the secondary, so it'll be tough for receivers to get open deep.
The defensive line should be sound, too, with Alibozek, Albareda and Wright returning.
Poirot said that a lot of players got a lot of experience playing last year, and he's hopeful that will translate into victories. The sooner his offensive and defensive lines mature, the better it will be.