CLIFTON PARK — Dylan Jones said he made a similar play in a Pop Warner game.
The pass from CBA quarterback Jack Gregory battled Friday evening’s heavy wind on its way toward Jones. The night’s strong gusts turned most pass attempts into knuckleballs, and Schenectady’s Denzere Woolcock appeared ready to intercept the toss . . . and, then, he didn’t.
Instead, the ball surprisingly carried past a leaping Woolcock at his team’s 18-yard line, and then connected with Jones’ helmet around the 17 and popped up into the air.
“And, then, I turned around and it was in my hands,” Jones said. “Next thing, I’m in the end zone.”
The score from Jones was a major momentum shifter in a Class AA football game played at Shenendehowa. After the ball hit Jones in the head, the senior stayed with the play, secured the ball around the 15-yard line and then outraced a couple Schenectady defenders into the end zone to break a scoreless tie with less than a minute to go in the first half.
“That kid made a circus catch,” Schenectady head coach Carm DePoalo said.
“That was a big play for our guys, [especially] for our young guys,” CBA head coach Joe Burke said.
Up at halftime, CBA cruised in the second half to a 28-0 victory. CBA scored three touchdowns in the third quarter, with two of those scores coming from John Goebel. In a battle of teams that each posted a blowout win in Week 1, CBA left Brent T. Steuerwald Stadium with another big win.
“Our offense is great,” Jones said. “Our defense is even better.”
Schenectady (1-1) had won 38-0 in its opener of this unusual “Fall II” football season against Colonie, while CBA (2-0) topped Saratoga Springs 40-0. CBA and Schenectady appeared ready to play a scoreless first half until Goebel intercepted a Schenectady pass late in the first half, and returned it to the Schenectady 30. Three plays later, Jones made his off-the-helmet touchdown reception with 45.7 seconds left in the second quarter.
Schenectady had possession of the ball right after halftime, but the drive included penalties called on three consecutive snaps. Schenectady was forced to punt from its own 21, but CBA’s Charles Volans blocked the punt attempt to set his team up at the 12. One play later, Goebel was into the end zone during a third quarter that saw CBA score on all of its possessions.
“We played with them in the first half and I thought we could come back, but we didn’t play well [enough] tonight,” DePoalo said.
After Goebel’s touchdown run, Brenden Simek caught a touchdown pass on CBA’s next possession. Goebel followed with his second touchdown of the night in the final minute of the third quarter.
Following a solid Week 1 win, DePoalo said his young team found out “we have a lot to learn” ahead of its Week 3 game against Bethlehem.
“But we’ll regroup and we’ll come back,” DePoalo said.
For CBA, Week 3 will bring another trip to Steuerwald Stadium — and this time to face the Plainsmen.
CBA was technically the home team Friday night, as — like many teams with grass home fields — it moved its home game this March to a nearby turf field. Burke said it was an example of “great sportsmanship” that his team could play its home opener on a rival program’s field.
Also . . . it was a little odd.
“We’re usually walking in here and everybody is against us — a big crowd, and they’re all wearing green,” Burke, with a laugh, said. “So this was a little different.”
Schenectady 0 0 0 0 — 0
CBA 0 7 21 0 — 28
C — Jones 28 pass from Gregory (Stewart kick)
C — Goebel 12 run (Stewart kick)
C — Simek 9 pass from Gregory (Stewart kick)
C — Goebel 10 run (Stewart kick)