FONDA — After missing the Section II Class C football playoffs in each of the last three seasons, Fonda-Fultonville is undefeated through six weeks of action and has the chance to win a Central Division title Friday night at Stillwater.
They’re as surprised as everyone else about all that.
“I don’t think a lot of people here saw this coming,” first-year head coach Sean Thompson said earlier this week. “We didn’t expect it. We thought we had some good veteran players and some good young players, but we didn’t know how they’d develop. We’ve installed a new defense, a new offense, new special-teams — so we thought this was a work in progress, a long-term project, for us.”
Fonda, though, has routinely found ways to win close games throughout its 2019 campaign. While Stillwater (3-0, 6-0) heads into Friday’s game with an average winning margin of 30 points and hasn’t been played closer than 19 points this season, Fonda (3-0, 6-0) carries an average winning margin of 15 points and has only finished one game this year with more than a two-possession lead.
So if Friday’s game is a close one late, senior quarterback John Mancini said the Braves will be comfortable with that.
“It’ll be nothing new,” Mancini said. “We’ve had teams lead on us and had to come back. So if Stillwater gets a lead on us, we’re not going to give up. We’ll keep fighting. We’ve been through that before.”
Mancini has starred all season for Fonda. Mancini has thrown for 13 touchdowns and run for seven more. He also starts in the team’s secondary and serves as Fonda’s punter.
“He does everything but sell hot dogs at halftime for us,” Thompson said.
Throughout this season, senior Jack Atty said the Braves kept their focus to improving each day. While it was an unlikely one, the goal for Fonda was to put itself in position to play a meaningful Week 7 game.
“We’ve done that so far,” Atty said, “so it feels good right now.”
Thompson expects his team to face tough moments at Stillwater. He also expects his players to handle them with the poise they’ve often displayed this season.
“They always keep battling,” Thompson said.
Besides Fonda’s visit to Stillwater, here are four more Week 7 games to watch.
BURNT HILLS-BALLSTON LAKE AT QUEENSBURY
A battle between Spartans carries high stakes — sounds familiar, right? These two programs have tangled in numerous pivotal showdowns in recent years, and this 2:30 p.m. Saturday matchup is the latest. Queensbury (5-0, 6-0) claims the Section II Class A Grasso Division title as its own with a victory, while a Burnt Hills (4-1, 4-2) victory — likely — creates a three-way tie for the division championship with these two squads plus Ballston Spa (4-1, 4-2). Regardless of divisional stakes, the winner of this matchup carries ample momentum into the postseason.
AMSTERDAM AT LA SALLE INSTITUTE
The consequences for this 7 p.m. Friday showdown are simple. The winner earns the Section II Class A Capital Division’s No. 3 seed, while the loser takes the No. 4 seed. Amsterdam (3-2, 4-2) is coming off a loss against Averill Park (5-1, 5-1), while La Salle (3-2, 4-2) is coming off a win against Green Tech (1-4, 1-5). Averill Park will be the Capital Division’s No. 2 seed behind top-seeded Troy (5-0, 5-1), while Green Tech won’t compete in the playoffs.
SCOTIA-GLENVILLE AT GLOVERSVILLE
As long as Ballston Spa tops South Glens Falls (1-4, 2-4) in Week 7, the winner of this 7 p.m. Friday matchup between Scotia (2-3, 3-3) and Gloversville (1-4, 1-5) earns the fourth playoff spot from the Grasso Division. Scotia had won two games in a row before losing 61-21 last week at Ballston Spa, while Gloversville used a fourth-quarter field goal to get past Mohonasen (1-5, 1-5) 17-14 in Week 6.
HOLY TRINITY AT SCHALMONT
After losing in Week 1 to Cobleskill-Richmondville (3-1, 3-3), Schalmont (3-1, 4-2) finds itself with a chance 7 p.m. Friday to earn a share of the Section II Class B Reinfurt Division championship. Holy Trinity (4-0, 6-0) is able to win the division title outright with a victory, but a three-way tie for this division championship is possible if Schalmont wins and Cobleskill wins at Hudson (2-2, 3-3). Schalmont has won back-to-back games by a combined score of 97-15, while Holy Trinity has won each of its games this season by at least 21 points.