Football: Scoring spree gives Niskayuna reason to be optimistic

Niskayuna piled on the points and gave up a bunch, too, in a Class AA Liberty Division football game

Niskayuna piled on the points and gave up a bunch, too, in a Class AA Liberty Division football game with Colonie last week.

“We hit on all cylinders. When they had the ball, they ran it down our throat,” said Silver Warriors coach John Furey. “It was a crazy game. It was wide open. It was back and forth.”

And in the end, it was a win for Niskayuna, its first after a pair of close season-opening defeats, and that’s what counted for a team looking to make a significant move up. The Silver Warriors produced their most points since the 2003 season with a 56-39 victory.

“We feel a lot better about everything right now,” said Furey. “A win will do that. Now, we’ve got to move forward.”

Last week’s homefield effort has Niskayuna back on track in its quest for a fourth consecutive winning season. The school hasn’t reached that plateau since the 1959-62 seasons.

The Silver Warriors prevailed in three of four games last year to reached the Section II semifinals after a 2-2 start. That push, coinc­idently, started with a victory over Colonie and included another win against Ballston Spa that propelled them into the playoffs.

“I told the guys, ‘We were 2-2 last year, and we did all right. Let’s climb up the ladder. Let’s take it one week at a time,’ ” said Furey. “We’re looking to put away this week.”

Niskayuna (1-1, 1-2) hosts Sar­atoga Springs (1-2, 1-2) of the Empire Division in its homecoming game tonight. The Silver Warriors follow the crossover game with Liberty Division contests against LaSalle, Schenectady and Shaker.

“I don’t view it as a crossover game. It’s no different than a div­ision game, as far as preparation or the mindset,” said Furey, whose Silver Warriors beat the Blue Streaks, 34-27, in a Class AA quarterfinal matchup last fall. “It’s a football game. You get nine of them, and you don’t want to give one up. We’re going all out. Hopefully, this week will be another good one for us.”

Niskayuna was very good with the ball last week, and produced two touchdowns in each quarter in its highest-scoring game since dropping 61 points on Averill Park in 2003. First-year starting quarterback Rob Singleton threw a touchdown pass to Josh Callahan and ran for a score. Nate Malerk rushed for two more after starting tailback Chris Henry went down with a high ankle sprain. Henry had scored three touchdowns before his injury.

Singleton and Callahan accounted for the Silver Warriors’ only touchdown the week before, in a 12-6 Liberty Division loss to Col­umbia.

“Last week, for the first time, we had big plays. In our first game it was all drives. It was all off work,” said Furey. “We need some of that. We need to hit the big one.”

Niskayuna dropped its first game against Class A Glens Falls, 35-26, despite Singleton’s school-record 31 completions, 417 passing yards and four touchdowns.

“In many ways, we dominated the game. We had a lot of offense in that one, but turnovers hurt us, and we also had some penalties,” said Furey. “Since then, we haven’t had a turnover, and we’ve cleaned those other things up. I think we’re heading in the right direction.”

Since opening its season with a 40-6 win against Albany, Sar­atoga has lost to Bethlehem (43-14) and Guilderland (26-13). The Blue Streaks are led by running back Jesse Spencer and linebacker Zach Forbes. Spencer scored three of his five touchdowns in the Albany win.

“They show flashes of brilliance,” said Furey. “At one point against Bethlehem, they rifled the ball down the field. Their defense is physical. [Forbes] is a very good player, and they’ve got some other kids who can do the job,

“We have a lot of respect for their program. It’s going to be a challenge.”

Categories: High School Sports

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