Red Raiders hoist cup again, 40-7

The gold cup arrived on the sidelines 20 minutes before kickoff in a green motorized cart, and spent

The gold cup arrived on the sidelines 20 minutes before kickoff in a green motorized cart, and spent the duration of the annual Indian Bowl in the press box.

More than two hours later, Mechanicville coach Kevin Collins held the trophy high, as his players reached for it in celebration.

The Red Raiders used a potent offense and a stifling defense against Stillwater to take the annual Indian Bowl between the Saratoga County neighbors for the fifth consecutive year, winning, 40-7, in a Class C North Division game Friday night.

“It’s a big thing for both communities,” Collins said. “It brings everybody together. Everybody comes out to the game. They talk about it all week. It translates into the winter season, it translates into the spring season. It’s a great Section II rivalry.”

“All the fans, friends and family come out,” Raider quarterback Nick Gaetano said. “We know everybody on the opposite side, and it means a lot.”

Mechanicville (2-1) gained 342 yards of offense, including 246 on the ground. David Guynup led the rushing attack for the Raiders with 92 yards on 14 carries. Three other ball carriers scored two touchdowns each — quarterback Nick Gaetano, who ran for 60 yards, John Abele, who ran for 59 yards and David Funaro, who ran for 35. Gaetano also went 5-for-9 passing for 96 yards.

“They ran the ball up the middle successfully, but I think their strength is their speed outside,” Stillwater coach Vince Barber said.

Steve Waters led Stillwater (0-3) with 39 yards rushing on 10 carries. Dan Palmieri had 59 yards on 5-for-16 passing with an interception.

While the Raiders ground up the turf on offense, their defense turned in a strong performance, limiting the Warriors to 153 yards of offense.

“The defense definitely did their job,” Raiders defensive end Tim Fensterer said. “We just kept on hitting them hard. We just kept on coming. We kept chipping away at the wall.”

It didn’t take long for the Raiders to score, needing only six plays on their opening series for a 7-0 lead on John Abele’s five-yard run.

Mechanicville kept Stillwater inside its half of the field until the Raiders could stretch that advantage to 14-0 when Funaro slipped through and ran 25 yards with 5:40 remaining in the first half.

The Warriors managed to follow that with a drive to Mechanicville’s 30-yard line, but could go no further. The Raiders responded with a 70-yard drive to the end zone, capped by Gaetano’s 23-yard scoring scramble and a 21-0 lead with 16 seconds remaining in the half.

“We didn’t do a good job last week of establishing our option, and we wanted to make sure we got that going from the beginning, and we did a good job of it,” Collins said.

“The option was really clicking today,” Gaetano said.

John Harrison intercepted Palmieri at the Raiders’ 25-yard line on the Warriors opening possession of the half, returning it 26 yards and setting Mechanicville up for a TD — Abele’s 29-yard scoring run and a 27-0 lead.

The Raiders scored on their next two possessions, too, with Gaetano scrambling for a nine-yard score, and Funaro breaking through for a 16-yard TD.

Meanwhile, the Mechanicville defense continued to stifle Stillwater.

“Defensively, we just were hell on wheels today, which is what we’ve been waiting for,” Collins said.

“Defense is really the heart of our team, and they showed up today.”

“We just played some all-around, tough, hard-nosed defense,” Fensterer said.

The Warriors didn’t fold, though, marching 73 yards in the final quarter for a touchdown. Sophomore Nick Dunn came in for Palmieri, who was banged up on the prev­ious play, and completed his only attempt, a 16-yard touchdown pass to Steve Ritter with 1:16 to go.

Mechanicville 7 14 13 6 — 40

Stillwater 0  0  0 7 —  7

M — Abele 5 run (DeCelle kick)

M — Funaro 25 run (DeCelle kick)

M — Gaetano 23 run (DeCelle kick)

M — Abele run (kick wide)

M — Gaetano 9 run (DeCelle kick)

M — Funaro 16 run (kick blocked)

S — Ritter 16 pass from Dunn (Tanner kick)

Categories: High School Sports, Sports

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