HOOSICK, N.Y. -- Hoosick Falls Central School senior running back Brandon Hodges was an ironman on Friday -- playing offense, defense and special teams. Hodges made big plays in all three phases of the game, rushing for 144 yards and four touchdowns as the Panthers opened up their season with a 48-7 rout of Tamarac at Ken Baker Field.
"Brandon had a great night on offense, defense and special teams," said Hoosick Falls coach Ron Jones. "He played really well, consistently through the game. He had some big tackles on defense and special teams, the offense is really a bonus."
Five plays into the game, Levi Brewster intercepted Tamarac quarterback Dan Motzer, one of two on the night for Brewster. Starting from its own 9-yard line, Hoosick Falls methodically made its way down the field, including two big passes from quarterback Garrett Wright for 17 and 35 yards, each to Levi Brewster, to get the Panthers into the red zone. On second down, Hodges took the handoff and plowed into the end zone for a 8-0 lead.
Minutes later, Hodges punted for the Panthers from midfield and kicked a beautiful 44-yard boot to set Tamarac back to its six-yard line. On the next series, with the Bengals deep in its territory, a bad snap went over the quarterback's head and into the end zone, where Colby Davendonis recovered it for a 14-0 advantage.
"I like the way we hustled and how intense we were," Jones said. "We were very physical and it's a good place to build from."
After another 3-and-out by the Bengals, the Panthers used a good return by Davendonis to get a short field, starting at the Tamarac 28. Seven plays later, Hodges was in the end zone again, this time from nine yards out to make it 22-0.
"The [offensive] line did a great job, [opened up some] nice holes," Hodges said. "You have to get as many yards as you can. We hustled and hit and made it work."
Things got worse for Tamarac on the next drive, as Motzer was intercepted by David Hardesty. Motzer was 12-for-16 for 102 yards and four interceptions, with most of the completions coming late as the game got out of reach.
"When they went to David's side, he did a great job setting the edge and being physical," Jones said. "Then they started [staying] away from his side. For his first game as a varsity starter, he handled it well."
Panther quarterback Garrett Wright got into the scoring act on the next drive after the interception, scoring from eight yards out after a great fake on the read option for a 28-0 lead. Through the air, Wright was 5-of-9 for 86 yards, doing well to manage the offense.
"[Garrett] did a fantastic job, he switched a lot of plays [at the line] and made good decisions," Jones said. "He communicated well with the line and the offense functioned better. I expect even more from him."
Hodges added another touchdown after Tamarac fumbled the ensuing kickoff and then Davendonis took the first offensive snap of the second half 60 yards for another score.
"Every year we get a guy who surprises us," Jones said. "He worked hard in the offseason, he was a good JV player and he had speed we hadn't seen before."
Tamarac scored with just over two minutes remaining, when a bad snap by the Panthers was recovered at the 1. On the next play, Motzer snuck in to avoid the shutout.
"There's plenty to clean up but when you can say that and you win by that margin, i'm happy. It's a good place to start."