Saturday October 13, 2012

AUSTIN DANFORTH

Assistant Sports Editor

HOOSICK, N.Y. -- Friday's 6-1 win against Tamarac had all the hallmarks of success for Hoosick Falls Central School: Shots, possession, goals, pressure.

But with a post-game feast under construction at the pavilion next to Delurey Field -- and a secret banner coiled behind the Panthers' bench -- a little something extra was at stake, too.

And with the final whistle the Hoosick Falls players got the chance for their "Surpise!" moment, securing career win No. 200 for coach Tom Husser in 12 years -- yes, just 12 -- at the helm.

The current crop of Panthers were as pleased as any to deliver the gift when and how they did Friday.

"I wouldn't trade him in for any other coach," said senior co-captain Anna Restino. "He's like a dad for us ... he does everything for us. Like, anything. He's always there for you.

"He's just a great coach. He's awesome."

Since 2001, Husser has amassed a 200-38-9 record that includes two New York Class C titles, three Final Four appearances and four Section II crowns.

Hoosick (13-1 overall, 12-0 league) has never won fewer than 13 games in any season in the Husser era. They haven't lost to a New York team since Sept. 22 last year, a run of 28 games and counting.

"It seems like we've been pretty good right along. We don't have those peaks and valleys," Husser said. "We're lucky.


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I just get the next group of [soccer] junkies and the next group, and great leaders like Grace [Delurey] and Alice [Hayden] who instill it in the younger kids.

"I can remember when Grace was a little kid, she wanted to be out here playing because her cousins were here," he said. "Hopefully we keep building that tradition."

Fifteen Panthers have earned all-state honors during Husser's tenure. Last year, behind a surreal string of shut-down performances in the postseason, Hayden, a defender, earned state player of the year honors in Class C.

It's not a stretch to call the Panthers the Section II powerhouse of the last decade.

"What he's done is he has worked really hard to get these kids working in the off-season. He's gotten them into programs in the off-season and it's paying off now," Tamarac coach Bill Wood said. "He's really done a great job with these kids and getting them to where they're at now.

"Right now, they're one of the best -- if not the best -- teams in New York state."

Wood would know, too, as Tamarac dominated the decade before Husser began in the Wasaren League.

"Back in the 1990s, [Tamarac was] the best and now he's the best. He's done a great job with them," Wood said.

As quickly as Husser reached 100 and, now, 200 wins, though, calling Friday a milestone feels too stagnant.

With that many wins, that fast, win No. 200 feels more like a launch pad.