ADAMS -- When Wahconah visited Renfrew Park in Week 5 to play the Hoosac Valley football team, it had no idea what it was getting itself into.
The Hoosac Valley team Wah conah had prepared for had Matt Braman at quarterback, not at tailback. Braman and the Hurricanes caught the Warriors by surprise and grabbed a 21-8 win on Oct. 5.
When the two teams square off at 5:15 p.m in today's Western Massachusetts Division II playoff game at Westfield State, there will be no secrets. Everyone in Berk shire County knows the Hurri canes (7-3) like to run the ball, and everyone knows the Warriors (7-3) have the ability to spread it out.
"We have seen them before, we have seen them play and our kids know who their kids are," Hoosac Valley coach Dayne Poirot said. "Hopefully, that is a benefit for us. But on the same end, it's just as much a benefit for them. They know who we are and what we do."
The first-year coach said he doesn't expect anything new from the Warriors and his team won't be making any drastic changes in preparation for the opening round game. The victor earns a trip to Foxborough to play the winner of top-seeded South Hadley and No. 4 Commerce for the Super Bowl title. Hoosac enters as the three seed, and Wahconah is No. 2.
"We have to run hard and we have to execute," Braman said. "We can't leave any points off the board."
The Hurricanes are coming off their Berkshire County plus-1 game against St. Joseph's in which they won 35-20 and ran for 331 yards. Since the Week 5 switch against Wahconah, Braman has run for 425 yards. Fullback Ian Hill leads the team with 494 yards on the ground.
"We have to maintain our blocks and we have to run hard," Poirot said. "That's been the key for us. If we can maintain our blocks then we've been able to run hard and that's when we're successful."
While Hoosac has a plethora of running backs who can break big plays -- sophomore Tyler Mach has collected 140 yards on four carries in the last two games combined -- the trick will be stopping Wahconah from getting big gains.
The Warriors feature a versatile offense that can run or throw the ball. With quarterback Lane Grogan at the helm, the team runs a lot of spread formations and gives a heavy dose of play action and draw plays.
Grogan, along with running back Eli Pease, can break big plays on the ground. Pease did not see many snaps in the Berkshire County title game loss to Mount Greylock on Nov. 21. He appeared to be nursing a leg injury, but no official word has been given on the injury. Pease also did not play against Hoosac in the Oct. 6 matchup.
"Our defensive ends are going to have to contain on the outside," senior Jake Hall said. "We have to stay home and keep our gaps."
Grogan tossed for 92 yards against Greylock on Nov. 21. On Oct. 5, he threw for just 34 yards and Braman intercepted a pass that he returned for a touchdown. This year Grogan collected 1,038 yards through the air. The senior has 556 yards on the ground this year, as well. Pease finished the regular season as the fifth-leading rusher in the county with 722 yards on 136 carries.
"I think we just have to contain certain people," said Braman, who doubles as a defensive back for the Hurricanes. "We really have to work hard and not give up the big plays, that's what they can do."