Knights recover, lock up division
ALBANY In a little more than four minutes to begin the second half, Albany Academy struck for a trio of touchdowns in Saturday’s Class B Reinfurt Division football game against Lansingburgh.
The crazy, rapid-fire sequence included a successful onside kick, an option pass for a score and an interception that led to another.
“I didn’t know what was happening,” standout Lansingburgh junior Anthony Walker said of the Cadets’ quick scoring binge. “It felt like we just got off the bus.”
The Knights boarded their bus as unbeaten division champions after putting together their own touchdown barrage to erase a nine-point deficit and win, 53-50, in what was Section II’s highest-scoring game this season.
Walker delivered two of Lansingburgh’s three touchdowns in the final quarter, his 33-yard run giving the Knights the lead two plays in, and his 49-yard bolt with 4:11 left all but sealing the decision.
The Cadets opened up 35-26 and 42-33 advantages in the third quarter, and Lansingburgh’s counter thrust included a 40-yard touchdown run by Jordan Smith in between Walker’s fourth and fifth touchdowns that made it 53-42.
“We knew our heart and our pride was going to win this game,” said Smith, who from his fullback spot pounded for 83 yards on 12 carries. “We knew it would be a battle just like the Ravena game.”
Lansingburgh (6-0, 7-0) rallied past Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk (5-1, 6-1) for a 26-21 Week 6 win before doing the same at Albany Academy (4-2, 4-3), and secured the division’s No. 1 playoff seed. With tie-breakers factored in, a loss would have created a three-way tie for first and left Lansingburgh as the No. 3 seed.
“I’m happy with the way they responded,” said Lansingburgh coach Al McNall. “It looked pretty bleak, and they could have taken it on the chin and said the ride to Glens Falls isn’t going to be too bad. Instead, they believed in themselves and believed that they could come back from adversity.”
Walker rushed for 175 yards on 24 carries, caught two passes for another 99 yards and boosted his touchdown total to 29. Academy quarterback Eric Woods was 21-for-34, passing for 320 yards, and had a hand in five touchdowns, throwing two scoring passes to Darrien White, one to David Bryce and running for a pair.
White also chucked an option TD pass to Bryce after taking a flip from Woods as part of the Cadets’ 21-point outburst to begin the third quarter.
“We played so hard. I’m so proud of them,” said Academy coach Tony Fruscio. “We played real well in a big game.”
White’s 53-yard catch on Academy’s opening third-quarter drive set up Bryce’s 16-yard TD grab, and on the first play after Dillon Flood pounced on an onside kick, White connected with Bryce from 51 yards away. Austen Zeh’s interception soon after led to Woods’ one-yard quarterback sneak.
“It was all about momentum,” said Fruscio. “We got it in the second half, and then they got it.”
Walker scored on a one-yard run and White hauled in an 11-yard TD pass before the third quarter was through. Lansingburgh answered with three consecutive touchdown drives before Woods scored from the two with 1:37 to play and then found Bryce on a two-point pass.
Joe Kennedy gobbled up Academy’s onside kick, and the Knights ran out the clock.
“It didn’t look good at all. We got down for a few minutes, and we picked it back up,” said Walker. “We did what we had to do at the end of the game.
“The last two games have been a real challenge. It’s good to see us overcome them.”
Walker scored on a 17-yard run in the first quarter and on a three-yard surge in the second, when Alex Little took a kickoff back 78 yards for a touchdown and Gerry Lyman had a TD on a one-yard quarterback sneak for a 26-14 Lansingburgh lead. White caught a
56-yard touchdown pass from Woods in the second quarter, and Zeh ran nine yards for a TD.
Albany Academy lost to Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk (20-7) and Class A Queensbury (35-0) before battling tough against the state’s No. 7-ranked team in Lansingburgh.
“After the Queensbury game, we had to get together and come up with a game plan,” said Fruscio. “A lot of things worked for us.”
Academy had great success through the air, with Woods often pump faking before unleashing. White caught 10 passes for 215 yards, and Bryce caught 11 passes for 142 yards.
“Their quarterback baited our kids a few times, and every time they cashed in,” said McNall. “We prepared for it, but in the heat of a game, sometimes kids lose their minds a bit.”
Lansingburgh will host West Division No. 4 seed Schuylerville (3-3, 3-3), and Academy will play at West No. 2 Glens Falls (5-1, 6-1), next week in the Class B quarterfinals.
Lansingburgh 7 19 7 20 — 53
Albany Academy 0 14 28 8 — 50
L — Walker 17 run (kick blocked).
AA — White 56 pass from Woods (Newton kick).
L — Walker 3 run (pass failed).
AA — Zeh 9 run (Newton kick).
L — Little 78 kickoff return (Cipperly kick).
L — Lyman 1 run (Cipperly kick).
AA — Bryce 16 pass from Woods (Newton kick).
AA — Bryce 51 pass from White (Newton kick).
AA — Woods 1 run (Newton kick).
L — Walker 1 run (Cipperly kick).
AA — White 11 pass from Woods (Newton kick).
L — Walker 33 run (kick failed).
L — Smith 40 run (Cipperly kick).
L — Walker 49 run (Cipperly kick).
AA — Woods 2 run (Bryce pass from Woods).