AMSTERDAM — The second half was Prime time.
Canajoharie/Fort Plain senior running back Max Prime had to sit and wait through back-to-back COVID-19 quarantines and was finally cleared Thursday night. Friday’s Class D football game against Helderberg Valley at Lynch Literacy Academy was his first time on the field in nearly two weeks, and he made the most of it.
“I was quarantined twice in a row,” Prime said. “I didn’t even get to practice for 14 days. This was my first day back. . . . I just run hard and try to get as many yards as I can. That’s all.”
Prime carried the ball 17 times for 139 yards — including 100 yards on nine second-half carries — and scored a pair of touchdowns as Canajoharie/Fort Plain opened its season by pulling away for a 34-8 win over Helderberg Valley.
Prime wasn’t the only member of the Canajoharie/Fort Plain (1-0) program who had to deal with COVID-19 quarantine in the build-up to the season. The team had five players who missed early practices when quarantining after wrestling season, which forced the team to turn its Week 1 contest with Cohoes into a scrimmage, then a positive COVID test from a player who competed against Cohoes forced 16 players into quarantine, forcing the postponement of last week’s game against Chatham.
The uneven preparation showed in a game that had plenty of sloppy moments — including seven combined turnovers — but the Canajoharie/Fort Plain defense adjusted to Helderberg Valley’s early success in the passing game, while the offense put it’s fate on Prime’s shoulders en route to outscoring Helderberg Valley 26-0 in the second half.
The game swung just past the midway point of the third quarter, when Canajoharie/Fort Plain quarterback Zach Suits appeared to fumble a snap that Helderberg Valley recovered. However, it was ruled that Suits was already down, and Canajoharie/Fort Plain retained possession.
Prime rumbled for 40 yards on his next three carries after the team got a reprieve, setting up Quinn Casler’s go-ahead touchdown run from 8 yards out.
“Having [Prime] back this year is absolutely fantastic,” Canajoharie/Fort Plain coach Shannon Hyney said. “He runs hard. He’s hard to bring down. He’s a force, that’s for sure.”
Prime, Zachary Herget and Richard Pricci ran for touchdowns as Canajoharie/Fort Plain put things away in the fourth quarter.
“It was really just a fatigue thing, at the end of the game,” Helderberg Valley coach Gary Morin said.
Trevor Stempel led the Helderberg Valley offense, catching seven passes for 122 yards — all in the first half.
HV 0 8 0 0 — 8
C/FP 8 0 6 20 — 34
C/FP — Prime 9 run (Casler pass from Suits)
HV — Davis 1 run (Duell pass from Stempel)
C/FP — Casler 8 run (Pass fail)
C/FP — Prime 3 run (Run fail)
C/FP — Herget 10 run (Bartlett pass from Suits)
C/FP — Spicci 20 run (Pass fail)