Burnt Hills, Schalmont and Hoosick Falls Big Winners in High School Football
Shenendehowa High School was the site of two thrilling Section II football championship games on Saturday. Two of the most respected programs got together on a chilly night at Steuerwald Stadium and gave fans a memorable Class A championship game.
CLIFTON PARK -Eric Dillon caught a clutch 23-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Ryan McDonnell with just 23 seconds left in the game to give Burnt Hills a 26-23 win over Amsterdam.
Amsterdam's Tyler Rouse gave the Rugged Rams a 23-20 advantage with a 33-yard field goal just moments before.
It marks Burnt Hills' fourth straight title and fifth in six years. The Spartans up their record to 9-1 this season, with the only loss coming to Amsterdam.
Overall, Dillon had a big night recovering two fumbles on defense. He started the scoring with a 28 yard pass from McDonnell for a 7-0 lead.
But, Amsterdam's Matt White electrified the crowd returning the kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown and a 7-7 tie.
Burnt Hills responded as Tom Ruppel scored from three yards away to regain the lead, 13-7. A determined Rugged Rams squad featured Chris Carbone catching a 25-yard touchdown pass from Vinny Sobkowich and a 13-13 deadlock.
Sobkowich put Amsterdam on top with a one yard run and a 20-13 margin. But this game wasn't even close to being over.
Ruppel, who gained 150 yards rushing, got the call again with a five yard touchdown run and the score 20-20. Rouse delivered his field goal for a short-lived Rugged Rams lead and McDonnell engineered the final drive and connected with Dillon, who was all alone in the end zone.
"These guys are awesome. I love them. Amsterdam's Pat Liverio is a great football coach. He's a first class person and coach. I have a lot of respect for Pat," said Burnt Hills head coach Matt Shell. "I tell the kids finish what you start. We're fortunate enough to be the champions."
Burnt Hills will return to Steuerwald Stadium on Saturday to play Section VII champ Franklin Academy of Malone at 7 p.m.
This was Liverio's last game as Amsterdam coach. His 16-year career ended with a 130-34-1 record. The Rugged Rams finish at 9-1.
Schalmont 36, Albany Academy 35 (OT)
Devon Willis scored a clutch two-point conversion to help undefeated Schalmont win its third straight championship in the first game Saturday at Shenendehowa.
It was a game that went back and forth. Schalmont got off to a quick 14-0 lead thanks to touchdowns by Jean Gomez and Alex Hildebrand, but Albany Academy quickly regrouped and rallied back to tie the game.
It was the Cadets' defense that rose to the occasion recovering two fumbles. Quarterback Conner Hartigan connected with David Bryce and Hartigan then scored to deadlock the game, 14-14, at halftime.
Willis then rambled for an 84 yard touchdown to start the second half and again Academy responded as Reed Mahoney tallied and the score was tied, 21-21.
Schalmont quarterback Niko Nicoletti got into the scoring act for a 28-21 advantage. Hartigan answered the call with a touchdown 1:12 left in the game and the teams went into overtime.
Hartigan scored for Academy and a 35-28 lead and Schalmont had Nicoletti reach the end zone to trail by one. Then Schalmont coach Joe Whipple decided to go for the game-winner, a two-point conversion. Willis, who gained 280 yards on the ground, got the call and just reached the end zone and the celebration began.
Whipple had confidence in his team to go for the two-point try. And he wasn't wrong.
"We decided right away (on the two-point conversion). I told the guys we were going for the win. We're going to get it done. I believe in you guys," he said.
Schalmont, 10-0, will now advance to regional play on Friday and Academy ends at 7-3.
Hoosick Falls 32, Fonda-Fultonville 7
Brad Burns reached the end zone twice for Hoosick Falls which captured its third straight sectional crown.
His running mate, Tanner Williams scored once and gained 140 yards on the ground.
Hoosick falls posted 20 points in the second half to earn the victory.
"Hats off to Fonda, they are a physical, skilled football team. I am proud our team for rising to the challenge. Our line took over the line of scrimmage in the second half and our skill players pulled out of a lot of tackles. Defensively, we kept our composure and took advantage some turnovers at key points in the game," said Hoosick Falls head coach Ron Jones.
Hoosick Falls is now unbeaten in 10 games. Fonda-Fultonville completes an 8-1 season.
Cambridge 65, Rensselaer 30
High powered Cambridge won its second straight sectional championship en route to raising its record to 10-0 this season.
Skyler Saunders scored three touchdowns as Cambridge will now face Ticonderoga (Section VII) in the regionals at AuSable Valley on Saturday.
Article by Mike Collar