The Saugerties Sawyers rumbled their way into the Section 9 Class A playoffs with a crushing 42-0 win over Wallkill on October 13. The win set up a rematch with FDR in an afternoon game in Saugerties this Friday, October 20. The Sawyers beat FDR for one of their three wins against four losses this season. Because of a 3-3 record in their division, they were awarded a home playoff game.
Senior running back Jack Hindes put the Sawyer team on his back and carried them to victory, as he has all season, against Wallkill. He gained 179 rushing yards for two touchdowns, and in the process set the all-time rushing record for Saugerties with over 2000 yards.
Also outstanding for the Sawyers in the Wallkill game were Tavin Rell, who came away with two receiving touchdowns and two interceptions, and quarterback Matt Bucci, who ran for 74 yards and had three touchdowns off passes, two to Rell and one to Jake Browe.
On the defensive side, linebacker Craig Laurey had twelve tackles.
The running of Hindes, the team’s workhorse, provided the muscle that propelled the team to victory. Despite setting the school’s rushing record, it’s been a difficult year for Hindes. Being the team’s primary runner has placed a target on the senior’s back, with defensive players on every team trying to put a hurt on him to slow him down.
“It’s been tough,” Hindes admitted in a Monday afternoon interview. “I have bruises all over my arms and legs.” He laughed. “They’ve beaten me up pretty good.”
In several games he had been hit so hard in his arms, he said, that he lost feeling. The week after a tough game, Hindes said he sleeps a lot, tries to relax, and heals as well as he can so that he’s ready to come out the following week.
Does head coach Dominic Zarrella give him a break at practice? He laughed again. “No,” he said.
It seems Hindes would have it no other way. Each Monday he comes out and practices hard. “He’s out there working hard with everyone else,” Zarrella chips in.
Hindes is Zarrella’s type of football player: a guy who will pick up extra yards after being hit and a guy who never backs off or complains.
Last year, Zarrella’s ground-and-pound game featured three top running backs spreading the workload. With the exception of runs by Bucci and the limited carries of three other runners, the load this year has fallen to Hindes.
“It was nice having that type of backfield last year,” Zarrella says. “But this year’s it’s been Jack.”
Hindes’ running has enabled the Sawyers to open up their attack, Zarrella said. It has enabled Bucci to throw the ball more and to run more. The offense has been able to run a variety of plays.
At times, the Sawyer offensive game plans seems simple: give the ball to Jack. Hindes didn’t seem to mind, saying that one of his goals this year was to gain enough yards to help him set the school record.
His running game is only as good as his offensive line, which he credits with opening holes for him to run through, If sometimes the holes have not been there, Hindes, who benches 315 pounds, is strong enough to pound his way through the other team’s defenders.
It’s the yards he gets after that initial hit, Zarrella said, that make Hindes such a good runner. He’ll never be mistaken for a fast-tailback type of runner.
Zarrella told the story of a game this year where Hindes broke through the line of scrimmage and took off down field pursued by defenders. “We’re standing on the sideline waiting for the defenders to catch up to him, and sure enough they do,” Zarrella said. He and Hindes both laughed.
While he might not be the fastest of runners, Hindes is one of the strongest of players. He hopes he can carry his team deep into the playoffs.