Capital Region

All-Gazette football: Holy Trinity’s Tortello leads offense

Recognizing Section II football's top offensive players
Holy Trinity senior quarterback Joe Tortello is The Daily Gazette Offensive Player of the Year.
Holy Trinity senior quarterback Joe Tortello is The Daily Gazette Offensive Player of the Year.

The passing yards and touchdowns began to pile up during Joe Tortello’s freshman year with the Holy Trinity football team. That’s when the wins and playoff appearances started to come the Pride’s way, too, and championships soon followed.

“His knowledge of what we wanted to do, his leadership and his ability to throw the ball were huge for us,” Holy Trinity coach John Barber said. “Freshman year, first game, he throws for a touchdown and that started the whole thing.”

The 2019 Daily Gazette Offensive Player of the Year ended his varsity career as Section II’s all-time leader in touchdown passes and passing yards. Barber was quick to note Holy Trinity’s 29-8 record when Tortello started, too, a mark that included an 8-2 record this season — the team’s first at the Class B level — and the program’s second Section II title-game appearance.

Holy Trinity won outright or shared a division championship in each of Tortello’s final three seasons.

Tortello missed the tail end of his freshman year with a hand injury, but had engineered three wins before that as part of Holy Trinity first drive toward postseason play. As a sophomore, Tortello led the Pride to the Section II championship and a spot in the Class C state final.

“All he was really concerned with were the wins,” Barber said of Tortello, who made the Gazette All-Area first team as a junior. “He didn’t get too consumed with the [passing] numbers.”

Tortello set a Section II record with 39 touchdown passes his sophomore season when the Pride went 11-2. He fired 27 as a junior when Holy Trinity went 7-2 and reached the sectional semifinal round, and he threw 38 scoring passes this season, his final one going to three-time Gazette All-Area first-team pick Nacier Hundley during a 28-22 Super Bowl setback against Schuylerville.

“He prided himself on making all of the throws we asked of him. At the end, he could,” Barber said. “Sophomore year, we went with a lot of short-game stuff, and junior and senior year we opened it up more. We did a lot of drills and he did a lot on his own in the weight room.”

Tortello completed 111 of 149 passes this season for 2,353 yards, and was intercepted just once while generating those 38 scores through the air. The Class B Reinfurt Division Offensive Player of the Year was more mobile, too, the result of an intense offseason training program that improved his speed and lateral movement.

“When things broke down, he was able to execute plays,” Barber said of Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons senior, who is looking at Union, New Hampshire, Stonehill and Assumption among a large list of colleges. “He worked hard, and he was a lot quicker this year.”

Over the last four years Tortello amassed 7,304 passing yards, and moved past 2004 Cambridge graduate Zack Luke (7,290) on the Section II record list. His 111 career touchdown passes included 15 this season to Gazette All-Area receiver Noah Foster.

Foster had 37 receptions for 772 yards, and four of his TD grabs came when Holy Trinity beat state No. 1-ranked Glens Falls 37-35 in the sectional semifinals. The Class B Reinfurt Division All-Purpose Player of the Year also ran for six touchdowns, scored four on kick returns, and intercepted six passes.

Junior Jeremiah Davis was a big-play receiver in Schenectady’s 6-3 turnaround season, with 22 receptions, 541 yards and eight touchdowns. The football and track standout had a 25-yard touchdown reception in the closing seconds to clinch Schenectady’s 36-29 win over Bethlehem to close out the regular season.

“That was spectacular,” Schenectady coach Carm DePoalo said. “We had our two best players on both ends.”

Schenectady senior quarterback Seven Terry garnered one of the Gazette All-Area first-team quarterback spots after passing for 1,663 yards and 16 touchdowns, and running for 357 yards and 13 touchdowns. Terry was previously tabbed the Class AA Offensive Player of the Year.

“Without Seven, we’re not 6-3,” DePoalo said. “His leadership was awesome. He threw clutch passes.”

Terry took his snaps from Gazette All-Area first-team center Marquize Barmore, a two-year starter and team captain.

“Not many people came up the middle on us,” DePoalo said.

Gazette All-Area first-team quarterback James Galarneau was a significant dual-threat figure in Stillwater’s unbeaten run through Section II and first Super Bowl championship. The Section II Class C Overall Most Valuable Player ran for 1,521 yards and 17 touchdowns, and passed for 708 yards and 11 TDs.

“James has big-play DNA and always played his best when the lights were on,” Stillwater coach Ian Godfrey said of his three-year starting quarterback and four-year starting free safety.


The Gazette All-Area running backs are Billy Beach of Section II Class AA champion and state semifinalist Shenendehowa, record-setting Jason Rodriguez of Section II Class A champ Queensbury, and another record-setter in Peyton Ausfeld of Amsterdam.

Beach, who was previously named the Section II Class AA Player of the Year, amassed 1,691 yards and 28 touchdowns rushing, plus 275 yards and five TDs on 15 receptions. Often operating behind Gazette first-team tackle Kevin Fobare and first-team guard Billy Marchewka, Beach gained more than 100 rushing yards in 10 of 12 games and scored at least one touchdown in 11 contests.

“Billy has the ‘It’ factor,” Shenendehowa coach Brian Clawson said. “He has all of the special qualities of a running back. He’s a very good athlete and he also plays lacrosse. His vision is amazing. He lets blocking develop and has the ability to accelerate 100 miles per hour, and when he gets to the second level, you’re not going to catch him.”

Rodriguez had a monster junior season, with the Section II Class A Offensive Player of the Year establishing Queensbury single-season records for rushing yards (2,043), rushing attempts (205), 100-yard games (10), 200-yard games (five), rushing touchdowns (31), total touchdowns (32) and points (194).

The junior tied a school record with six TDs and ran for a career-high 276 yards in a win over Mohonasen, and had four four-touchdown games.

Ausfeld ran for 1,372 yards, including a school-record 322 yards in a win over Albany. The Class A All-Purpose Player of the Year scored five touchdowns in that game, and for the season, the senior ran for 19 scores, caught a TD pass and passed for another. He ran for over 100 yards in seven of nine games despite playing most of the season with a cast on his broken left wrist.

The interest level from Division I football coaches continues to grow for Xavier Leigh, the Troy junior who ran and caught the ball, returned kicks and punts, and made defensive stops for the Section II Class A runner-up Flying Horses. The Section II Class A Player of the Year and Gazette All-Area all-purpose first-team choice ran for 1,309 yards and 23 touchdowns, added a TD catch, and had five sacks and 51 tackles from his linebacker spot.

CBA senior guard Anthony Carroll, who was tabbed the Brothers’ top lineman, and Shaker senior tackle Andrew Morrison, a two-time Class AA first-team pick, complete the Gazette’s All-Area first-team line.

Queensbury senior Alex Roca is the Gazette first-team kicker after the football and soccer player delivered 46 extra points and five field goals, his last coming in a 17-14 Super Bowl win over Troy. During a stretch from his junior to senior year, Roca kicked 71 consecutive extra points.

Player of the Year

QB — Joe Tortello, 12, 5-11, 185, Holy Trinity

First Team

QB — James Galarneau, 12, 6-1, 195, Stillwater

QB — Seven Terry, 12, 6-0, 185, Schenectady

RB — Billy Beach, 12, 5-9, 165, Shenendehowa

RB — Jason Rodriguez, 11, 6-1, 185, Queensbury

RB — Peyton Ausfeld, 12, 5-9, 170, Amsterdam

AP — Xavier Leigh, 11, 5-10, 175, Troy

E — Noah Foster, 12, 6-0, 185, Holy Trinity

E — Jeremiah Davis, 11, 6-2, 190, Schenectady

OL — Kevin Fobare, 12, 6-1, 265, Shenendehowa

OL — Andrew Morrison, 12, 6-5, 265, Shaker

OL — Marquize Barmore, 11, 5-8, 240, Schenectady

OL — Billy Marchewka, 12, 6-1, 260, Shenendehowa

OL — Anthony Carroll, 12, 6-0, 235,  CBA

K — Alex Roca, 12, 5-10, 185, Queensbury

Second Team

QB — Brody Vincenzi, 11, Shenendehowa

QB — John Mancini, 12, Fonda-Fultonville

RB — Mike Barber, 12, CBA

RB — Mason Seymour, 12, Stillwater

RB — Griffin Woodell, 10, Glens Falls

AP — Chris Ardito, 12, Guilderland

E — Josh Szwarcberg, 12, Shenendehowa

E — Antonio Cianfarani, 11, Scotia-Glenville

OL — Sam Standaert, 11, Shenendehowa

OL — Deandre Butler, 11, Troy

OL — Rhett Mercier, 11, Stillwater

OL — Dylan Erickson, 10, Queensbury

OL — Carson Messemer, 11, Schalmont

Third Team

QB — Derek Hyney, 12, Canajoharie/Fort Plain

QB — Jake Sanford, 12, Schalmont

RB — Chris Albrecht, 12, Greenwich

RB — Kareem Duncan, 12, Watervliet

RB — Traydon Lawrence, 12, La Salle

AP — Cristian Hubbard, 12, Colonie

E — Marcus Johnson, 12, Canajoharie/Fort Plain

E — Makai Cruel, 12, Troy

OL — Lucas Woodcock, 11, Schuylerville

OL — Alex Simon, 10, Amsterdam

OL — Bryan Camaj, 12, Saratoga Springs

OL — Matt Syzdek, 12, Broadalbin-Perth

OL — Noah Champlin, 12, Johnstown

Reach Gazette Sportswriter Jim Schiltz at 518-395-3143, [email protected] or @jim_schiltz on Twitter.

Categories: High School Sports, Schenectady County, Sports, Your Niskayuna

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