Schiltz column: Saratoga Springs is a four-down team

The Blue Streaks converted five fourth-down plays Friday to beat CBA.
Ryan Manlapaz of Saratoga comes down with a touchdown catch on fourth down Friday next to Nick DeNicola of Christian Brothers Academy.
Ryan Manlapaz of Saratoga comes down with a touchdown catch on fourth down Friday next to Nick DeNicola of Christian Brothers Academy.

Dakota Harvey delivered a very telling line Friday night after his leaping touchdown grab helped Saratoga Springs pull out a one-point Class AA Empire Division football win at Christian Brothers Academy.

“On fourth downs, we don’t like to punt,” the senior said after going through the handshake line.

The Blue Streaks could have booted the ball away with just under three minutes left, trailing 24-19 and looking at a fourth-and-9 from their own 46, but took a calculated risk. It paid off when Brian Williams found Robert Haughton open down the right sideline for a 41-yard gain.

“We ran the wheel route the play before, and he was open. There was some miscommunication,” head coach Terry Jones said after the

25-24 victory that kept his team unbeaten. “We ran it again and hit the play. At that point, the pressure changes.”

Harvey’s 5-yard touchdown catch four plays later gave Saratoga its first lead of the game with 1:23 left. That was the Blue Streaks’ fifth fourth-down play from scrimmage — and their fifth successful one.

CBA was one-for-four in its fourth down attempts.

“It was a do-or-die situation,” Williams said of his third and final touchdown pass. “If you don’t do it, you lose. That’s a big consequence right there.”

Haughton was the first option on the game-winning play, and was behind Harvey in the end zone when Williams unleashed.

“He was more open than the guy I was supposed to throw it to,” Williams said.

CBA had momentum on its side from the time Taurian Taylor returned the opening kickoff 78 yards until early in the fourth quarter when Dom Savona’s 39-yard field goal gave the hosts a 24-13 lead. Saratoga’s comeback included a 5-yard touchdown toss from Williams to Ryan Manlapaz with 6:24 to go and a key tackle by Harvey that curtailed the Brothers’ ensuing drive.

“Finally, we stepped up and made some plays,” said Jones, whose team is ranked No. 10 in the state. “We just didn’t execute well in the beginning. We fought the adversity, and we were able to overcome it and come out with a win.”

Saratoga (4-0, 6-0) doesn’t win this game — and doesn’t clinch the division championship — unless it converts each and every one of those fourth down plays. The first two came in the first quarter to answer CBA scores, when Harvey ran up the middle on a fourth-and-1 from the 9, and Manlapaz snared a Williams pass in the end zone on a fourth-and-9 from the 22.

The second touchdown catch by Manlapaz came five plays after Nick Kondo’s 5-yard reception on a fourth-and-5 from the CBA 25.

“We came out really flat in the first half. We weren’t very excited. The intensity was low,” Williams said. “We came out and decided to win the football game.”

The Blue Streaks didn’t play a great game, but they made great plays when it mattered most.

“There’s no better way to win a game that coming back in the last few minutes,” Harvey said.


Three things that stood out from the sixth week of the high school football season.

* Schalmont topped Lansingburgh 40-15, and Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk knocked off Hudson 44-12, setting up a showdown between unbeaten Class B Reinfurt Division teams Friday on the Indians’ field in Ravena. Schalmont has not lost a division game since the 2007 season.

* Hudson Falls slot receiver Taylor Lane set a school one-game record with 214 receiving yards in a 34-14 win over Granville. Lane entered the game with 217 receiving yards on 15 catches, according to Tigers’ statistics. Three of his seven catches Saturday went for touchdowns.

* Troy beat Mohonasen 60-0 to boost its record to 6-0 for the first time since the 2011 season. Nick Pastore scored four touchdown for the Flying Horses — two running, one receiving and another on an interception return.


Troy graduate Jordan Canzeri set an Iowa one-game record with 43 carries in Saturday’s 29-20 Big 10 win against Illinois.

The two-time Daily Gazette All-Area first-teamer ran for 256 yards, the third-highest total in Iowa football history, and scored two touchdowns. The senior ran the ball 11 straight times in the fourth quarter to help the Hawkeyes seal their sixth win without a loss.


Olivia Jack and Kylie George of Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake/Scotia-Glenville earned half of Section II’s wins at Saturday’s Shenendehowa Invitational in the 100 butterfly (57.41) and 100 breaststroke (1:08.80), respectively.

Julia Samson of Shenendehowa won the 100 backstroke (58.18), and Niskayuna took the 200 medley relay (1:51.30) with Maggie Wyngowski, Christina Lau, Olivia Hilt and Anna Vitolins. Pittsford won the team title, followed by Niskayuna and Saratoga Springs.

Reach Gazette Sportswriter Jim Schiltz at 395-3143, [email protected] or @jim_schiltz on Twitter.

Categories: High School Sports, Sports

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