Troy smothers Saratoga in Class AA Super Bowl

Flying Horses grab early lead on the way to 28-6 victory
Saratoga’s Carter Steingraber is wrapped up by Troy’s Joe Casale, Knieco Gonzalez and JJ McClean Friday.
Saratoga’s Carter Steingraber is wrapped up by Troy’s Joe Casale, Knieco Gonzalez and JJ McClean Friday.

ALBANY — Troy shot off fireworks early, then snuffed out Saratoga Springs’ candle late.

Dev Holmes snapped off a 75-yard touchdown run for a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, and backfield mate Joey Ward grinded away for 109 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries, as the Flying Horses won the Section II Class AA Super Bowl 28-6 at UAlbany’s Tom & Mary Casey Stadium Friday night.

Troy improved to 10-0, and has not lost since losing the Class A Super Bowl to Amsterdam in 2015. Saratoga finished the season at 9-1.

The Blue Streaks had a glimmer of hope in the third quarter with a long drive down to the Troy 1 while trailing 21-0, but quarterback Wes Eglintine’s outstretched arm only got the ball within two inches of the goalline on fourth down.

The Horses put the game away on Ward’s eight-yard run with 5:36 left in the game.

“Having big-play kids like Dev and Joey are very special, but we’ve got program kids who bust their hump 12 months out of the year to help us get to this point, too,” Troy head coach Bobby Burns said.

That was never more evident than on on the goalline stand that preserved the 21-0 lead in the third.

The Blue Streaks had difficulty getting across midfield all night, but finally had something going, only to be denied at the end of a 14-play drive that started at their own 7.

“They had a good push on us, and our defense stayed strong in the red zone,” Troy quarterback/safety Joe Casale said. “That was huge. Back when we played Shaker, we came out to start the third quarter and they marched one down on us on a long drive. I’m proud of the guys up front, because that just sets the tone for us getting the ball back.”

Holmes gave Saratoga a preview of things to come when he took the second snap from scrimmage 62 yards for a score, but it was brought back on a taunting penalty by Holmes before he reached the end zone.

Ward ran it in from the 6 three plays later.

The second Holmes explosion occurred with 2:28 left in the first quarter when he shook loose for a 75-yard touchdown run, and this model wasn’t recalled. Troy led 14-0 with 2:28 left in the first quarter.

“We were very confident and felt we could do it again even though we knew they were a very good team,” Ward said. “We jumped out to an early lead like we wanted to.”

Saratoga crossed midfield just twice in the first half, but did have a prime scoring opportunity when Christian Kondo got behind the defense on a long pass attempt from Wes Eglintine from midfield.

But the ball went through Kondo’s arms at the Troy 17.

Saratoga appeared to still be in good shape after punting down to the Troy 3, but the Horses covered 97 yards in 18 plays to make it 21-0 on a 5-yard pass from Joe Casale to Holmes with five seconds left in the half.

The Blue Streaks were in position to come up with a stop with Troy facing a fourth-and-12 from the Saratoga 38, but Kondo was called for pass interference on a long pass down the right sideline from Casale.

Another pass interference penalty over the middle gave the Horses a first-and-goal at the 6. After a QB draw for a yard, Casale found Holmes open over the middle in the end zone for a 21-0 lead.

Saratoga Springs 0 0 0 6 — 6

Troy 14 7 0 7 — 28

T — Ward 6 run (Fazio kick).

T — Holmes 75 run (Fazio kick).

T — Holmes 5 pass from Casale (Fazio kick).

T — Ward 8 run (Fazio kick).

S — Steingraber 3 pass from Eglintine (kick failed).

Reach Gazette Sportswriter Mike MacAdam at 518-395-3148 or [email protected] Follow on Twitter @Mike_MacAdam.

Categories: High School Sports, Sports

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