ROTTERDAM — The Schalmont Sabres ran and ran Friday night until they had a piece of the Class B Reinfurt Division title.
Ben Burchhardt and Jake Sanford combined for five touchdowns and well over 300 rushing yards, and Schalmont beat short-handed Holy Trinity 35-22 in stunning regular season finale for both teams.
Holy Trinity (4-1, 6-1) played the first half without suspended starters Nacier Hundley, Anthony Farina and Sean Willis, who returned for the second half. All three played defense over the final two quarters for the state’s No. 6 team, while Hundley also saw action on the offensive side and scored a touchdown.
“The players were in violation of team rules and our code of conduct,” Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons principal Kiante Jones said.
By the half, the Sabres (4-1, 5-1) had built a 27-7 advantage with their ground game and, afterward, they continued to pound away. Sanford, Schalmont’s senior quarterback, ran 24 times for 171 yards and scored twice, but did not attempt a pass.
“They [Holy Trinity] want to talk about the guys who were missing, but none of them were in the trenches,” Schalmont senior center and linebacker David Leon said. “We had our game plan and we stuck with it. We played football, and no one can take it [title share] away.”
Schalmont and Holy Trinity share the Reinfurt Division title with Cobleskill-Richmondville (4-1, 4-3), which beat Hudson Friday night. The division’s No. 1 playoff seed will be decided by the Section II quarter-points system.
Holy Trinity was looking for its third straight division title. Holy Trinity shared the Class C North Division title with Stillwater and Mechanicville in 2017 as part of its drive to the state final, and won the division title outright last year. Holy Trinity is in its first year at the Class B level.
“We wanted that championshiop,” Holy Trinity senior quarterback Joey Tortello said. “We knew what was at stake. It wasn’t our night tonight.”
“We’re still a good team,” he added. “We’re going to focus on the sectionals now.”
Burchhardt ran 23 times for 195 yards and three touchdowns in Schalmont’s fourth consecutive division win since a loss to Cobleskill-Richmondville to start the season.
“Best game of my life,” the senior said. “The line did an excellent job. I never saw them do so well.”
Burchhardt capped Schalmont’s opening drive with a 1-yard scoring run, and Sanford finished off the next with a 5-yard touchdown burst.
“We went into the game saying we’re going to run the ball,” Schalmont head coach Joe Whipple said. “I can’t say enough about the guys up front.”
Schalmont had lost to Columbia (34-8) in a non-classification game in Week 4 before beating league foes Ichabod Crane (55-8), Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk (42-7) and Holy Trinity.
“The kids started to believe in each other after the Columbia game,” Whipple said. “Great things happen when you believe in each other.”
Schalmont’s lead grew to 27-7 when Burchhardt ran 12 yards to the end zone late in the second quarter. Noah Foster had scored the first of his two TDs early in the frame, on a 25-yard run, and Burchhardt answered soon after on a 39-yard scamper.
“They [Schalmont] did a great job of moving the chains and keeping the clock going,” Tortello said.
Tortello threw his Section II-leading 28th touchdown pass to Hundley in the third quarter, covering 10 yards, and Foster scored from one yard away in the fourth. Holy Trinity had scored no less than 42 points in any game before Friday. Holy Trinity also played without injured running back Rodney Parker.
Schalmont recovered two fumbles on defense, and also pounced on two second-half onside kicks as Holy Trinity attempted to come back.
Holy Trinity 0 7 8 7 — 22
Schalmont 13 14 0 8 — 35
S — Burchhardt 1 run (run failed)
S — Sanford 5 run (O’Connor kick)
HT — Foster 25 run (Barrett kick)
S — Burchhardt 39 run (kick blocked)
S — Burchhardt 12 run (Sanford run)
HT — Hundley 10 pass from Tortello (Foster run)
S — Sanford 2 run (Sanford run)
HT — Foster 1 run (Barrett kick)
Reach Gazette Sportswriter Jim Schiltz at 518-395-3143, [email protected] or @jim_schiltz on Twitter.
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Categories: High School Sports, Sports