Saturday January 5, 2013

ADAM SAMROV

Sports Editor

HOOSICK, N.Y. -- Starting from a young age, Hoosick Falls Central School senior quarterback Billy Pine and senior running back Brad Burns have been linked on the football field.

So after winning the state championship in November, it made sense they would be linked again, chosen by the New York State Sportswriters as New York state co-players of the year in Class C.

"I don't think you could separate the two of them," said Hoosick Falls coach Ron Jones. "Both of them took over games and both did a good job at being leaders when they needed to. It's a real special thing."

Burns had one of the top seasons in Section II, rushing for 2,133 yards, scored 41 total touchdowns (37 rushing) and racking up 248 points, the second-most points in sectional history.

"Coming into the year, we had a few goals and we reached all of them," Burns said. "For us to add this accolade, it's just a bonus for us."

Pine was a double threat all season, completing 57 percent of his passes for 1,735 yards and 24 touchdowns against three interceptions.

"To get it with him is amazing, it shows how much we complement each other," Burns said. "I'd rather have it with him than be alone ... we've been together since peewees, it's just amazing for both of us."

Pine also rushed for 775 yards and 11 touchdowns.


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"The amazing thing is that neither one had a bad game or a let-down," Jones said. "It speaks to how talented they are. We don't reach where we did without either one."

Pine was at his best at the end of the year, running for 346 yards in the semifinal and finals. Those two performances came after Pine broke his hand during the quarterfinal versus Saranac Lake and played with a protective glove on it for the last two games.

"It's special to share it," said Pine, who heard about the honor from a college recruiter. "We feed off each other out there -- it wouldn't have felt right if we didn't get it together. It's awesome to be mentioned with him, he's a great player."

"Bill is tough and he gutted it out for the final two games," Jones said. "He had to carry the ball and protect his hand from getting hit. We wanted to play without him on defense, but after three plays, we had him right back in. It shows how valuable he was."

The duo were the first Section II players to win the New York state sportswriters award since 2007 and the first from the area since Cambridge's Zack Luke in 2004.

Burns said after putting in the extra work in the weight room and on the field, it's nice to be recognized.

"We work so hard, we were in the weight room countless times by ourselves doing the extra stuff and it's paid off," Pine said.

Jones said any day during the summer the two would be at the school working out pass routes.

"They both have had close losses in their careers, so they understand they have to get better every day so when you need the extra by the end of the season, it's there," Jones said.

Three other Hoosick Falls players earned all-state nods -- Randy Tutunjian (second-team offense), Lance Rice-Wilder (second-team defense) and Bryan Sherman (third-team defense).

"It's crazy to have five guys make all-state," Burns said. "It would have been cool to have a little more but you cant have everything. They've put in just as much work as we have."

Jones said as happy as they were about getting the award, they felt as strongly for a teammate they believe deserved a spot on the team.

"It's not baloney, they really care about the other guys, which speaks volumes," Jones said.