Saratoga County

A tough day for Saratoga, Schuylerville football teams

It was a long ride back to Route 29 from Syracuse Sunday, as both Saratoga and Schuylerville lost in

It was a long ride back to Route 29 from Syracuse Sunday, as both Saratoga and Schuylerville lost in their first-ever football state title game appearances at the Carrier Dome.

Another area school making its debut in a New York final, Greenwich, lost on Friday in Syracuse. All three area schools were undefeated going into their title clashes.

The storyline for the Saratoga football team’s best season ever ended on the arc of Jake Zembiec’s passing for Aquinas Institute of Rochester.

The Penn State-bound quarterback threw for 462 yards and three long touchdown passes to Earnest Edwards as Aquinas demolished the Blue Streaks 44-19 in the New York State Class AA championship game.

The Class AA game was preceded by a 22-19 victory by Cazenovia over Schuylerville in the Class B championship.

Both Saratoga and Schuylerville, neighbors with Greenwich on the Route 29 corridor, brought large vocal contingents to Syracuse. Afterward, players from the local squads expressed disappointment in the losses, but pride in going further than any previous football team in school history.

“That’s the goal they set,” Saratoga head coach Terry Jones said. “Unfortunately, we came up short. They set the bar. The bar before was making the semifinals. Now the bar is to get here.”

Section II hasn’t won the Class AA championship since Troy did it in 1998.

Edwards burned Saratoga (11-1) for a 75-yard score on just the second play from scrimmage, and Aquinas (13-0) of Section V put the game away with a 34-0 first half. Aquinas took a 44-0 lead in the third quarter before Saratoga finally got on the scoreboard.

Saratoga running back Dakota Harvey ran for a touchdown from five yards, then quarterback Brian Williams found Nick Kondo from 17 yards out to make it 44-12. Lukas Carlson blocked a punt and recovered it for the final Saratoga touchdown.

“We played hard to the end,” Blue Streaks lineman Cory McArthur said. “When we got shut out in the first half, we wanted to let them know that we were still here and that we have a lot of fight.”

Saratoga last reached the state semifinals in 2009.

“I just wanted to leave it all on the field,” Kondo said. “Getting here as a team was a great accomplishment. I wish we would’ve won, but as long as we all left it on the field, it was a pretty good feeling.”

In the more competitive Class B title game, the Black Horses of Schuylerville (12-1) led 19-15 at halftime, before Cazenovia (12-1) drove for a touchdown to start the second half.

Schuylerville intercepted a pass midway through the fourth quarter and got as far as the Cazenovia 28-yard line in the final minutes, but quarterback Will Griffen was sacked for a 25-yard loss on third down.

Before Sunday, the closest the Black Horses came to reaching Syracuse were Class C semifinals in 2004 and 2005.

On Friday, Greenwich (12-1) lost to Chenango Forks 42-7 in the Class C title game at the Dome.

Categories: Schenectady County

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