Fonda-Fultonville played fast and effective football Saturday in a successful Section II playoff opener.
The Braves used their no-huddle, hurry-up offense to produce four quick touchdowns after Stillwater struck first, and raced to a 42-13 Class C quarterfinal win on the turf at Wilbur H. Lynch Literacy Academy.
“It’s up-tempo offense,” Braves senior quarterback Kody Shaw said after throwing for three touchdowns and running for another. “They can’t substitute guys in, and if they’re not in good condition, it’s hard for them to keep up.”
Shaw hit Jarett Ladd three times for scores covering 39, 56 and 43 yards as part of the Braves’ rapid-fire attack, Wally Kowalski pounded for two touchdowns afterward against a fatigued Warriors defense, and Fonda-Fultonville made a trio of defensive stands before the contest got out of hand.
“I predicted this to be a 38-35 game, with us right there until the end,” said Stillwater coach Vince Barber. “We couldn’t keep pace with them.”
South Division champion Fonda-Fultonville (No. 1 seed, 7-0) piled up a season-high in points with its first two touchdown drives both taking four plays and covering 60 yards in 68 seconds and 82 yards in 58 seconds. Ladd capped them both with his first two touchdown grabs.
“Our offense is meant to go fast and run a lot of plays,” said Ladd, a senior end who had four receptions for 148 yards. “We want to wear them down. That’s what we did.”
Ladd’s 43-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter finished an 80-yard, five-play sequence that took 1:33 off the clock. Kowalski’s second touchdown run from 12 yards out later in the third period finished a 56-yard, seven-play series that took 1:20 off the clock.
“Credit goes to coach [Sean] Thompson and coach [Mike] Mancini and the kids for getting together in the summertime to work on our offense. They’re all on the same page,” said Fonda-Fultonville head coach Tom Carpenter.
Shaw completed 10 of 13 passes for 206 yards, and Kowalski ran 26 times for 160 yards. In the process, Kowalski became the Braves’ first back to gain over 1,000 yards twice. The senior rambled for 110 yards in the second half on 17 attempts.
“Our game plan was a to run and pass, occupy time and keep them off the field,” said Barber. “When they [Fonda-Fultonville] were on the field, they scored.”
“There are two big pluses with what we do,” said Carpenter. “Defenses can’s make adjustments, and it tires teams out.”
Stillwater’s Liam Kane ran 27 times for 142 yards, his last carry good for 47 yards and a touchdown late in the fourth quarter. The junior also connected with Shawn McNeil on option passes covering 51 and 40 yards that put the Warriors in striking range twice late in the second quarter.
Stillwater quarterback Nick Dunn ran for seven yards to the 13 after McNeil’s 51-yard catch, and was knocked out of the game with a concusion. Backup quarterback John Danison fumbled the ball away on his first snap and Don Boyer recovered for the Braves to keep the score at 21-7.
McNeil’s 40-yard reception put the ball at the five in the final minute, and Danison threw incomplete twice, spiked the ball to stop the clock and then threw incomplete again.
“In the Watervliet game [a 15-14 win] we had a goal-line stand, and that was the turning point in the game,” said Ladd. “We had done it before, and we knew we could do it again.”
“These kids don’t give up. That’s important,” said Carpenter. “We tell them the other team is going to make some plays, but we try to instill in them to play for the next play.”
Dunn threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Brett Smith to cap Stillwater’s opening drive of the game. The Warriors (North Division No. 4 seed, 4-4) were looking to add to a 7-6 lead early in the second quarter when Dunn had a two-yard touchdown run erased, and Fonda-Fultonville’s defense stiffened.
Fonda-Fultonville will travel to Stillwater Saturday for a 7 p.m. semifinal game against Chatham (South Division No. 3, 5-2). The Braves beat Chatham, 33-20, earlier this season.
Stillwater 7 0 0 6 — 13
Fonda-Fultonville 6 15 21 0 — 42
S — Smith 25 pass from Dunn (Gazzelli kick).
FF — Ladd 39 pass from Shaw (kick failed).
FF — Ladd 56 pass from Shaw (Shaw run).
FF — Shaw 5 run (Mulyca kick).
FF — Ladd 43 pass from Shaw (Mulyca kick).
FF — Kowalski 2 run (Mulyca kick).
FF — Kowalski 12 run (Mulyca kick).
S — Kane 47 run (pass failed).
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Categories: -Sports, High School Sports