The real LaSalle football team showed up Friday night.
Marquis Terrell ran one yard for the go-ahead touchdown in the third quarter, Tyler Washington scored two times after that and the Cadets never let Schenectady gather any momentum in a 26-14 Section II Class AA championship-game win at Colonie High School.
“This feels amazing. We wanted to come out and prove a lot of
people wrong,” Terrell, a senior tailback/safety, said after the Cadets avenged one of their two defeats. “When we don’t fumble and make mistakes, we can do anything.”
In a 34-7 rout of LaSalle last month, Schenectady turned three fumbles by Terrell into touchdowns in the first half. The Cadets haven’t lost since, including last week’s comeback from a 26-point deficit to beat Saratoga Springs.
“We played horrible football the last time we played Schenectady. We made mistakes. Marquis put the ball on the ground three times,” said LaSalle coach Al Rapp.
“Tonight, we answered the call.”
LaSalle (8-2) never trailed in this one after Mike Murray’s 45-yard touchdown pass to Vinny Planz in the second quarter, and went on to spoil the first Super Bowl appearance for Schenectady (8-2) with a fine offensive mix and steady defensive play.
LaSalle won its second straight sectional title, and its fourth since 2000. Schenectady’s playoff resume before this season included just one victory.
“We have a history of stepping up in championship games,” said Rapp, whose Cadets rallied from a 17-0 deficit to beat Guilderland in the “AA” final a year ago. “It’s been a great football run.”
A great run ended for Schenectady, which opened the season with six straight wins, claimed its first league title, notched a pair of postseason victories and was ranked in the state’s top-20 from the get-go.
“It’s been a great season,” said Schenectady coach Carm DePoalo. “I think it’s going to take a couple of days to really get what they accomplished. They took a town on their back.”
“Carm is a classy guy, and he did a hell of a job with that program,” said Rapp of the Patriots’ second-year coach, who guided the Pats to a then-all-time high of five wins in 2007. “He’s got his kids believing. They’ll be a force for a long time to come.”
DePoalo believes so.
“We want to be like the LaSalles and the Shenendehowas in this area,” he said. “It’s not about one game. This isn’t a one-year shot. This is a program we’re building here.”
Marc Thompson scored both touchdowns for the Patriots on a three-yard run in the third quarter and one-yard surge in the fourth, yet the senior tailback was held to a season-low 81 yards on 19 carries. Herman Seise added 39 yards on 12 carries, while Nick Ottati was 8-for-20 passing for 101 yards with an interception.
That interception by Nick Edgington with 1:24 left ended Schenectady’s last series, while its drive before that came to a halt on leaping back-to-back knockdowns by R.J. Williams.
“We never thought it was over until the clock hit zero,” said Ottati, a senior. “We felt we could come back.”
They did once, tying it at 7-7, only to have LaSalle answer twofold on Terrell’s one-yard touchdown run in the third quarter and Washington’s 40-yard dash to the end zone soon after. Terrell’s touchdown capped a three-play,
66-yard series that was highlighted by a 57-yard shovel pass from Murray to Lou DiNovo.
“The shovel pass caught them twice,” said Rapp. “We just did a lot of things right at the right times, and it turned out to be a great night for us.”
Everything didn’t go perfectly, though. Kwami Hilts’ strong rush and breakup of a double reverse led to a fumble by Terrell and a Dan Desbien’s recovery early in the fourth quarter, and the linebacker went 23 yards to the Cadets seven. Thompson scored three plays later, and Johnny Best’s extra point made it 19-14 with 9:01 left.
“We got back in the game right there,” said DePoalo. “We kind of turned it around.”
Yet after Schenectady came up empty on its ensuing possession, LaSalle delivered the knockout punch on a 18-yard touchdown run by Washington with 1:54
“I really have to give credit to coach,” said Terrell, who rushed for 141 yards on 25 carries. “He believes in us. He constantly preaches discipline and heart, and we buy in and step up.”
“That’s a great team,” DePoalo said of the regional-bound Cadets, who came in ranked No. 22 in the state; the Pats were No. 14. “They played a great game, and we made a few too many mistakes. Lessons learned.”
Schenectady had only one good scoring opportunity in the first half, but it ended at the LaSalle 10 when Ottati fired incomplete.
“We came out flat,” said Ottati. “Very rarely do we not put up points in the first half. We couldn’t string it together, and they were fired up.”
Planz’ touchdown catch between a pair of defenders came on the first play of the second quarter after a Schenectady punt. The
Cadets mounted three other first-half threats, only to stall on downs at the Patriots 24, six and 15 yard lines.
Schenectady went 70 yards and eight plays to tie the game on its opening drive of the third quarter. The drive featured Ottati passes of 29 yards to Marcus Brandon and 12 yards to Anthony Cooper, and a
10-yard run by Seise that was followed by a 15-yard facemask penalty.
LaSalle 0 7 12 7 — 26
Schenectady 0 0 7 7 — 14
L — Planz 45 pass from Murray (Terry kick).
S — Thompson 3 run (Best kick).
L — Terrell 1 run (run failed).
L — Washington 20 run (kick failed).
S — Thompson 1 run (Best kick).
L — Washington 18 run (Terry kick).
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Categories: High School Sports