Scotties repel upstart Patriots

Playing with its back to the wall finally caught up with the Schenectady football team. The Patriots

Playing with its back to the wall finally caught up with the Schenectady football team.

The Patriots, who were in a must-win situation for the past month after getting off to an 0-4 start, came up short just short Friday night in a 27-21 loss to Empire Div­ision champion Ballston Spa in the quarterfinal round of the Section II Class AA playoffs.

“It was tough, because we had to win every game just to get into the playoffs after our start,” said senior linebacker/running back Isaiah Earing. “We showed a lot of character. We were ready and played hard, but we just came up short.”

Down two touchdowns, the Patriots got six points back before the half, and tied the game, 14-14, in the third quarter on Kirieme Pitts’ two-yard run. Ballston Spa used two fourth-quarter touchdowns, one on quarterback Troy Gargiuolo’s 24-yard run one play after an interception, to take charge.

The Scotties then held off the Pat­riots, who drew to within six points when Tim Cox found Mister Taylor behind the Scotties’ secondary for a 45-yard TD pass with 5:10 to play.

That was be the final play Schen­ectady ran, as Ballston Spa killed the clock by keeping the ball on the ground.

“Other than Troy, we were the only ones who had a three-game winning streak coming into the playoffs,” said Cox, who completed seven of 12 passes for 135 yards, and ran for his team’s first TD. “We had to keep pushing it. We played really well the last three weeks. It came down to the last play, and we came up six points short.”

“Our mindset was keep winning and get into the sectionals. We knew as the fourth seed we’d have to go into someone else’s house. This is an excellent Ballston Spa team that has a ridiculous amount of offense. They were just tough to stop.”

“They did an unbelievable job. I couldn’t be more proud,” said Pat­riots coach Jim Kramer. “I’m proud of everyone of them and how they went at it.”

“Schenectady has done a phen­omenal job with their team getting them prepared and winning their last three games,” said Ballston Spa coach John Bowen. “They were on a roll. Our guys did not come in here taking them lightly. It was evid­ent right from the rip that we were going to be in for a ball game.”

Ballston Spa, which won the Empire Division title and the resulting top seed from that division, shook off a 42-17 loss to Niskayuna last weekend, and earned a home semifinal with Shenendehowa, a team the Scotties lost to, 7-0, in Week 3.

Gargiulo had a big game, running for 190 yards on 24 carries and connecting with running back Kyle Warmt on a 30-yard TD pass for the game’s first score.

“We put that behind us,” Garg­iulo said of the Niskayuna loss. “We knew we didn’t play very well. We knew we were a better team than that. We knew we could play better than that.

“Being in the playoffs helped, knowing that if you lose, you’re done.”

“It was a non-divisional game, and we had done in the six games what we needed to do,” said Bowen.

Still, Warmt’s score on his team’s first possession was big.

“That’s always something we try to do. If we come out slow, sometimes it’s hard to get our wheels turning, so we try the best we can to come out and get a quick score,” said Warmt, who ran for two touchdowns in addition to his TD catch.

“After that loss last week, we pretty much forgot about it and tried to come back strong this week.”

Warmt’s final score came after Pitts’ touchdown tied the game. Jordan Davis picked off a Cox fourth-down pass on Schenectady’s next possession, and Gargiulo went 24 yards on the following play to give the Scotties a 27-14 lead.

The Patriots weren’t done, and after a couple of near misses, hit their big pass play to get to within a touchdown.

But Gargiulo carried on six of his team’s 11 plays as Ballston Spa ran out the clock on the game and Schenectady’s hopes of its first sectional title.

“We’ve been there before. We’ve been in tight games,” said Gargiulo. “The score’s not going to dictate how we play.

“In the playoffs, all that matters is if you win. One point, six points, two touchdowns, it doesn’t matter. If we keep on winning, I’ll take a one-point win every week.”

Schenectady 0 6 8   7 — 21

Ballston Spa 7 7 0 13 — 27

BS — Warmt 30 pass from Gargiulo (Beighey kick).

BS — Warmt 11 run (Beighey kick).

S — Cox 5 run (kick failed).

S — Pitts 2 run (Taylor pass from Cox).

BS — Warmt 3 run (Beighey kick).

BS — Gargiulo 24 run (kick failed).

S — Taylor 45 pass from Cox (Drake kick).

Categories: High School Sports

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