From Week 3 of the Section II football season, here are five things to know.
QUEENSBURY SHUT OUT ON FOURTH DOWN
Queensbury has built a reputation for going for first downs on fourth-down plays, and making them.
That wasn’t the case Friday in a 49-0 Class A loss at Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, when Queensbury attempted fourth-down conversions five times over the initial three quarters and failed each time.
“That’s something we’ve done as a system since John Irion was coaching here,” said Queensbury coach Matt Crossman, referring to the man who brought the double-wing offense to the program and oversaw it for 20 years through 2016. “It’s something we’ve always relied on. It wasn’t there today.”
In order, Queensbury was stopped twice on a fourth-and-one from its 29, on fourth-and-10 from the Burnt Hills 40, fourth-and-six from its 36, and on fourth-and-one from its 22. Burnt Hills scored after each stop in what was its third big win this “Fall II” season.
“Those are always huge momentum swings,” Burnt Hills coach Matt Shell said. “Any stop is huge.”
On those fourth-down attempts, Queensbury was stopped on three running plays, fumbled the ball and had a pass intercepted.
‘BIG BOY’ A BIG TARGET
Giorgio Glionna became a favorite target for Gloversville quarterback Garrett Dooling, with good reason — the 6-foot-4 255-pound tight end is hard to miss.
Glionna was key during a drive in the second half for Gloversville Friday against Green Tech at Broadalbin-Perth, pulling down consecutive passes and helping sustain the drive.
“Gio’s always been a target for us,” Gloversville coach James Robare said. “He’s got good hands; he runs patterns well. He’s a big boy, [he’s tough] trying to tackle too after the catching the ball.”
Glionna had Gloversville’s lone offensive score with a 12-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter.
“We were able to figure out how to move the ball up the middle once we figured out how to hit the holes and stuff, I think it opened up a lot of passing,” Glionna said. “I was just trying to find the open spot. I was able to sit in a window and Garrett [Dooling] was able to find me.”
Despite the loss, the touchdown reception was important to Glionna.
“First one of the year, it always feels good,” Glionna said. “It’s a special moment you can always share and remember. I love playing football, it’s my passion.”
AIN’T THAT A (RE-)KICK?
When the second-half kickoff by Niskayuna’s Austin Pendergrast rolled out of bounds Saturday afternoon, Schalmont coach Joe Whipple thought for a moment, then quickly indicated that he wanted Niskayuna to re-kick, rather than have the Sabres start at their own 35-yard line.
Pendergrast had been kicking to the far right sideline of Schalmont’s return formation throughout the game, so on the re-kick, Whipple moved senior returner Darius Green to that spot in the formation after Green had been positioned as the deep man on the left side to that point.
“I moved Darius over there,” Whipple said, “because I knew they’d continue kicking over there.”
Regardless of the personnel switch, Pendergrast’s next kick went right to Green at the Schalmont 20, and the speedster raced 71 yards to the Niskayuna 9.
“Big-time players making big-time plays,” said Schalmont senior quarterback Trent Randle, who scored two plays later to give his team a seven-point lead as the Sabres went on to a 27-13 victory.
Niskayuna coach Brian Grastorf said he was happy to re-kick after the penalty, hopeful his coverage unit could make a big play, but wasn’t surprised that Green — who played for Niskayuna in 2019 — made something happen with the ball in his hands.
“It was not good [for us],” Grastorf said, “but good to see him be successful.”
18 MINUTES TO FORGET
The first quarter-and-a-half of Friday’s Class A contest between Amsterdam and La Salle had about as many momentum swings as there could be — considering that during those 18 minutes, only two points were scored.
From the dueling illegal procedure and encroachment penalties each team incurred before the game’s first offensive snap, the opening flurry of a game La Salle went on to win 25-8 was a study in sudden changes.
Amsterdam drove into La Salle territory on its first drive, only for Tommy Ziskin’s fourth-down shot to the end zone to be intercepted at the 1-yard line by the Cadets’ Nassir Young. On the very next play, Amsterdam defensive end James Shatas walloped La Salle running back Bo Catherwood five yards deep in the end zone, resulting in a safety.
The drives that followed were: a sustained series by Amsterdam resulting in a deflected pass intercepted in the end zone, a three-play La Salle drive ended by an interception from Amsterdam’s Xavier Acevedo, an Amsterdam turnover on downs, a botched La Salle punt, a three-and-out from Amsterdam, an interception by Amsterdam’s Garrett McHeard and a penalty-aided Amsterdam three-and-out ended by a punt from Andy Welch that was downed at the La Salle 1-yard line.
Perhaps poetically, two snaps after Amsterdam’s last punt in that sequence, 18 minutes of bottled-up offense exploded when La Salle’s Eddie Yamin connected with Brady Fenton on a game-changing 99-yard touchdown pass.
“It’s a credit to our kids and our coaches,” La Salle coach John Audino said, “that we were able to settle down.”
A LITTLE IMPROV
Sometimes when life hands you lemons, you have to make lemonade.
Mohonasen’s first-year kicker Kyle Shendler made the most of a late-game bad snap deep in Warriors’ territory Saturday afternoon against Scotia-Glenville.
“Our coach, I heard him screaming,’Pass it, pass it,’ ” Shendler said. “I picked up and looked; I was like, ‘I’m going to have some fun today,’ and I just took off and went for it.”
The Warriors were ahead 40-0 before the bad snap and Shendler felt he didn’t have anything to lose.
“I knew I wasn’t kicking it,” Shendler said. “Sometimes it doesn’t work as you planned; you’ve got to adapt.”
Shendler shook off not one, but three different Scotia-Glenville defenders, running east and west, before taking off up the Mohonasen sideline to his own 40-yard line.
“I saw some action coming up; I knew there were a couple flags,” Shendler said. “I was like, ‘let’s just go through and have some fun today.’ ”
The play was called back for a block in the back and Shendler got the next punt attempt off without a hitch, but it didn’t take away from his hair-raising moment for the Warriors soccer player.
“I’ve played soccer since ninth grade and this year I came out to play football,” Shendler said. “I was just feeling it.
“All my friends, Jake [Deguire], Tyler [Reinke] were all playing football, so I was like, ‘it’s my last year, go out and have some fun,’ and I feel like we did today.”