A new era in Schenectady football started slow, and picked up steam Friday night at Larry Mulvaney Field.
“The kids were extremely excited before the game, and we let it get to us early,” first-year Patriots coach Jim Kramer said after a season-opening 47-20 Class AA triumph over Albany. “We made a few mistakes with assignments, but the guys stayed poised. They understood it was a four-quarter game.”
Schenectady rattled off three unanswered touchdowns in the second quarter after falling behind, 12-7, and put up 40 straight points before an Albany response to claim its third consecutive opener.
Quarterback Tim Cox passed for two touchdowns and ran for two in his first varsity start, and Isaiah Earing delivered the game’s biggest pop which swung momentum toward the host team in their big second quarter, while also kicking five extra points, recovering a fumble and recording a sack.
“We were very hyped up in the lockerroom, and in our first two series, I didn’t know what to do with myself,” said Cox, a junior. “I calmed down, and the whole team calmed down, and we showed what we could do.”
Albany marched down Schenectady’s new artificial turf field and produced a touchdown on its first drive, and went ahead by five on Dominique Daniels’ 61-yard dash to the end zone in the second frame. The Falcons, though, made one miscue after another over the remainder of the game, and opportunistic Schenectady continually cashed in.
“The amount of mental and physical errors we made were unreal. I’ve never seen anything like it,” said first-year Albany coach Pete Porcelli, who had guided his Lansingburgh teams to four Section II crowns in a brilliant eight-year stretch. “We showed some promise, at times, but we played with a short field way too much. It’s my job as a coach to fix that.”
Albany lost five fumbles, and Schenectady scored after each of them. The Falcons also came up short on a fake punt and had a punt snap that sailed high, and the Patriots notched touchdowns after those plays, too, in dealing the visitors their 11th straight loss going back to the 2007 season.
“Good teams capitalize on other teams’ mistakes,” said Kramer. “We took advantage of some situations that were presented to us.”
Schenectady turned a negative into a positive early in the second quarter when it was forced to punt, and Earing made a jarring hit on return man JaQuan Henry. The ball popped loose, Korey Tillman grabbed it out of the air at the 10-yard line and scampered into the end zone to erase the Falcons’ 12-7 lead with 8:24 left.
“Earing’s hit was something else,” Kramer said. “That hit turned the tide of the game.”
“I saw the hit on their kid and the ball landed in Tillman’s hands. He was in the right spot at the right time,” said Cox, who served as Schenectady’s punter. “That got us all pumped up.”
Another fumble recovery by Ozias Murphy set up a 30-yard touchdown pass from Cox to Jason Nesmith with 3:43 left in the half, and with 1:08 to go, Cox rambled 15 yards for another score. That touchdown was set up when Daniels came up short on a fake punt run, giving the Patriots possession at the 23.
“Our defense was playing pretty well, but our offense wasn’t getting anything going,” said Cox. “We made a couple of plays and got on top, and we went from there.”
Cox had delivered Schenectady’s first touchdown of the season in the opening minute of the second quarter, racing 20 yards and then 15 more before Earing’s PAT gave the hosts a 7-6 advantage. Shawn Ford’s fumble recovery at the 35 set the stage for that TD.
“What you have in Tim is a tall, very skilled athlete who can throw, but also do damage with his feet,” said Kramer, who saw Cox run for 57 yards on five carries and complete six of nine passes for 68 yards with one interception. “He’s versatile, and he has a great command of the huddle.”
Mister Taylor stripped Albany fullback Markim Perry of the ball and zipped 85 yards to extend Schenectady’s lead to 33-12 in the third quarter. Cox hit Steve Kent with a five-yard touchdown pass later in the frame, and backup quarterback Jallah Tarver scored on a one-yard sneak in the final frame after Earing’s fumble recovery.
Daniels capped the scoring on a 59-yard touchdown run after that, leaving the junior wingback with 181 yards on 14 carries. Herman Seise had 49 yards on nine carries for Schenectady, which improved to 8-14 all-time in season openers.
Mike Blair tossed a six-yard touchdown pass to Perry to cap Albany’s initial drive of the contest, which covered 57-yards on 11 plays.
“Our kids didn’t give up,” said Porcelli. “They showed some fight in the second half, but we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us.”
Albany 6 6 0 8 — 20
Schenectady 0 27 13 7 — 47
A — Perry 6 pass from Blair (run failed).
S — Cox 15 run (Earing kick).
A — Daniels 61 run (run failed).
S — Tillman 10 fumble return (Earing kick).
S — Nesmith 30 pass from Cox (kick failed).
S — Cox 15 run (Earing kick).
S — Taylor 85 fumble return (kick failed).
S — Kent 5 pass from Cox (Earing kick).
S — Tarver 1 run (Earing kick).
A — Daniels 59 run (Williamson run).
Categories: High School Sports