CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. — November is the time of year where high school football thrives. The best players and the best teams come into the picture and try to win their respected classes for berths into the New York State playoffs.
That chance came to two teams yesterday afternoon when the Glens Falls Indians clashed with the Schuylerville Black Horses for the Section 2 Class B championship game at Shenendehowa High School. These two teams met up earlier this season with Glens Falls coming out on top 27-14. However, this would be no cake walk for the defending NYS Class B champions.
Schuylerville came out with a vengeance and showed that they planned on coming out to start the game by attacking Glens Falls head on. The Black Horses received the opening kickoff to start the game and marched right down the field which included a fourth down conversion by quarterback Stratton Sherman. They capped off a long eighty-yard drive with a two-yard touchdown and then a made two point conversion.
Schuylerville was not done there. On Glens Falls opening possession after the Black Horses’s touchdown, they made Glens Falls quarterback Joseph Girard III very uncomfortable in the pocket. The Black Horses defense made it clear that they were blitzing on mostly every snap and Glens Falls was just simply not ready for it.
“I thought Schuylerville came out with a great game plan which surprised us at the beginning of the game and caught us off guard” stated Glens Falls head coach Pat Lilac after the game.
Following that opening drive that ended with Girard being sacked on third down, mistakes continued to haunt the Indians. A bad snap that sailed over the punter’s head gave the ball right back to Schuylerville’s offense at the twelve yard line of Glens Falls. That mistake led to more points as Sherman marched into the end zone himself extending the lead to 15-0.
The second quarter started no differently as the Black Horses’s defense continued to control the pace and made it almost impossible for the Indians to move the football down the field. However, Girard proved why he is one of the best quarterbacks in Section 2 as he refused to let the Black Horses dictate play. Glens Falls started throwing screen passes which helped avoid the constant blitzes from the Black Horses’s defense.
Girard orchestrated a long drive which included many big plays capping it all off with a touchdown pass to receiver Quinn Girard.
Schuylerville were not flustered however and refused to back down. After a Girard interception (another key mistake that could have hurt Glens Falls significantly) the Black Horses offense used a short field once again to score more points as Derek Willson took it in for the score from three yards out extending the lead to 22-7 with the halftime break right around the corner. Glens Falls was able to get a late touchdown to creep a little closer which led to the score being 22-14 with Schuylerville ahead at the break.
Glens Falls received the second half kickoff and this is where things got interesting. On that opening drive the Indians were able to score quickly getting into the end zone in only two minutes making the score 22-20. Schuylerville simply came out flat to start the second half where penalties hurt them as they were trying to move the ball down the field. An offensive passing interference penalty on a touchdown catch and then a failed fourth down attempt would give the ball back to the Indians and they took advantage. At this point, Girard was more comfortable in the pocket and was able to get enough time to find the one-on-one coverage on the outside of the field. He made big completions which ultimately led to an Aaron Sampson touchdown run to give Glens Falls its first lead of the game at 28-22.
At this point in the game, both teams traded blows and scores and nothing would be able to stop these two high-flying offenses.
There were a total of three lead changes starting late in the third quarter and throughout the fourth quarter proving neither team wanted their seasons to end. Schuylerville found themselves down 34-29 with around three minutes left in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Stratton Sherman was able to lead his team down the field (converting on fourth down twice) and Paul Harshbarger ran it into the end zone from a few yards out to give the Black Horses a 37-34 lead with just over a minute to go.
Girard once again proved to why he is one of the best quarterbacks in Section 2, why his team is one of the best in the state and why they are the defending NYS Class B champions. He marched down the field and allowed kicker Sam Hogan to make field goal to send the game into overtime.
Overtime would decide who would win the 2017 Section 2 Class B championship. After the Black Horses failed to convert on a 25 yard field goal, the Indians took over. The Indians tried their hardest to get into the end zone but were unable to. However, the offense was able to get close enough for kicker Sam Hogan to kick the game winning 38 yard field goal. Glens Falls came out victorious with a 40-37 win over the Black Horses of Schuylerville.
After the game, Lilac praised his kicker and his team. “[Hogan] bailed us out today. We kind of got a little conservative during the overtime period but he made two big time kicks.”
Glens Falls improved to 10-0 and will move onto the NYS playoffs starting next weekend. They will play Gouverneur out of Section 10 in the state quarterfinal. The game will be hosted by Section 10.