ROTTERDAM — Niskayuna coach Brian Grastorf had seen Dan Quinn catch passes and defend against them in game situations in the 2019 season. Saturday he saw the junior throw the football in the Silver Warriors “Fall II” season debut, and he was more than pleased with the results.
“It’s not an easy job to come into. He did a tremendous job,” Grastorf said of Quinn, who has been pressed into quarterback duties due to an injury to a teammate. “He completed passes. He made big plays. He took care of the football.”
Playing quarterback for the first time since he was in middle school, Quinn took care of the jitters with several early completions, and later lofted touchdown passes to Tyler Borwhat and Aaden Woodward in Niskayuna’s 14-0 Class A win at Mohonasen.
On the flip side, Niskayuna’s defense had four sacks and a fumble recovery, and the Silver Warriors got the ball another time by pouncing on a fumble during a Mohonasen kickoff return.
“We’ve still got some work to do, but I’m happy for the guys,” Grastorf said after Niskayuna’s first win since it knocked off Hudson to close out the 2019 season. “We won all three phases of the game. That’s what we wanted to do.”
Quinn and the receiving group that he was part of in 2019 played a significant role.
Quinn and Leo O’Brien hooked up on a 30-yard pas- and-catch on Niskayuna’s first play of the season. On the first play of Niskayuna’s second drive after a short punt, Quinn found Borwhat in the end zone with a 29-yard scoring pass after Borwhat got behind a defender.
“He put it right where it needed to be,” Borwhat, a senior, said of his junior quarterback. “His first touchdown pass was a great one. It was nice to set the tone early.”
“Niskayuna executed a few nice plays, and we did not execute when we really needed to,” said John Gallo, who is back coaching the Mohonasen team after a four-year run from 1988-91. “They had a little more polish than what were able to do.”
Quinn took over the quarterback job last week after 2019 starter Brock Behrman sustained a shoulder injury in Niskayuna’s final basketball game. Quinn, who also plays baseball at Niskayuna and is a catcher, was 9-for-14 for 142 yards through the air.
“He showed up big,” Borwhat said. “It’s hard to come in and do that. He’s always had an arm, but he’s showing good technique and he knows all the plays. It’s a completely different position and he’s got to know everything.”
Borwhat turned a short pass from Quinn into a 21-yard gain late in the third quarter, and early in the fourth, Quinn hit Woodward alone in the end zone with a 21-yard touchdown pass. Woodward had earlier recovered a fumble to halt a Mohonasen bid.
“They are all studs,” Quinn said of Borwhat, Woodward and O’Brien. “They are multi-sport athletes. They will be consistent threats.”
Quinn said it helped by starting the game with a short bubble pass to O’Brien who, two plays later, had a 12-yard grab. Woodward had a long gain soon after, although it was nullified by a penalty.
“It definitely boosted my confidence,” Quinn said of his early success passing the ball.
Mohonasen moved the ball at times behind quarterback Tyler Reinke and running back Jake Deguire, yet couldn’t finish drives, and had a long kick return by Alex Gannon called back in the fourth quarter.
“It’s been a while for us,” Borwhat said of Niskayuna’s shutout. “It’s hard to put that zero on the board.”
Niskayuna 7 0 0 7 — 14
Mohonasen 0 0 0 0 — 0
N — Borwhat 29 pass from Quinn (Pendergast kick)
N — Woodward 21 pass from Quinn (Pendergast kick)