Hoosac Valley vs. Mount Greylock or Mount Greylock vs. Hoosac Valley. No matter how you say it, it sounds like playoff football.
For the second year in a row, we don't need to wait long for this marquee matchup. Last year, the teams met in Week 4. It's a week sooner this year, but there's far more to it than that.
The Mounties are coming off playing Monument Mountain on Monday. Yes, Monday. They were scheduled to play Thursday, Sept. 12 because of Yom Kippur. Weather then pushed the game to Monday, which gave Greylock only three days to rest and prepare for one of the top three teams in the county.
That was just the tail end of what's been an odd two weeks in Williamstown, to say the least.
The Mounties couldn't practice last Wednesday because students were sent home early when heat and humidity made the floors too slippery. With no game or practice Thursday, their second and last day of practice last week was Friday.
Since a win over Commerce on Sept. 6, Greylock has had five practices and played on a Monday night.
"Bizarre and tough," Greylock coach Shawn Flaherty said. "We've been talking about it for the last couple days and I've never experienced it in 24 years of coaching."
The Mounties were certainly affected by the strange schedule early against Monument, who scored 13 seconds into the game.
Flaherty knows why.
"You need to be regimented. The game's based on discipline, so the practices need to be in that nature of just Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, boom, you play. ... We just lost that and it was just off. It was just off, what can you say?"
He isn't expecting that to carry through into tonight's game against Hoosac Valley, a matchup of two of the county's top three teams. He said the team's been focused despite the oddities.
"I would say it's been easy, but it's been easy because it's Mount Greylock versus Hoosac Valley," Flaherty said. "I think the captains and the seniors have done a great job of expressing how important this game is."
Hoosac coach Dayne Poirot also doesn't think only three days' rest will be a detriment to Greylock.
"High school practices are just as hard as games a lot of times. I don't know how much rest plays into a factor," he said. "I think, if anything, it just keeps them right in the mix. Going right away you don't have time to relax."
The winner will have the early edge and inside track to the Berkshire County championship game. Each team still has to take care of business the rest of the way, which includes playing Wahconah, the other team in the top three discussion.
There usually aren't too many secrets about the other team, and there probably still aren't. That's not to say it will be a carbon copy of any of the previous five meetings.
Hoosac is utilizing a no-huddle offense and always looking to go faster with its fast, talented running backs Ian Hill, Ty Mach and Johnny Lewis.
For senior Colby Gage, it's a chance to finally get a win against Greylock, who's swept all five meetings the last three seasons.
"I just want to get ready," he said before Wednesday's practice. "It's a huge game. We've lost three years in a row, and this one's huge for us. I think we have a good team. I think we can go out there and beat them."
Greylock may throw the ball more than we're accustomed to seeing, but not because the Mounties don't have a capable back because they certainly do in Daivon Clement.
The feature back is confident the short week won't affect the Mounties.
"It's difficult. We had a game Monday, so we lost at least a day of practice, day of film right there," he said. "But, I think, we're going to step up and play a good game [today]. It'll work out for us."