SECTION II – Week 7 of the Section II football season is in the books.
Before we turn our attention fully to Week 8, here’s one last look back at several notable moments from this past week’s football action.
FLIPPING THE FIELD
With Ballston Spa’s offense unable to crack Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake’s defense during Friday night’s Class A Grosso Division game, at least the Scotties had above average punting.
Darrien Insogna, already a two-way starter at running back and defensive line, had a strong game punting, which at least put the Spartans farther back than they would have liked.
Insogna had six punts for an average of 38 yards. His top one was 45 yards in the first quarter, and it pinned the Spartans back on their own 15-yard line.
THE THIRD PHASE
Amsterdam’s offense committed four turnovers and the defense struggled to get stops all night in Friday’s 30-28 loss to Troy. How then, did the Rams even have a chance in the game’s final seconds to pull out an improbable victory?
Easy answer: Special teams.
Amsterdam made a number of impact plays on special teams throughout the night.
First off, a second-quarter punt by Troy’s Philip Ryan was partially blocked by Talon Hollingsworth, and returner Ceasar Thompson scooped up the ball and raced 60 yards for a touchdown.
In the third quarter, a mishandled punt snap by Troy allowed Amsterdam to swarm Ryan deep in the backfield, giving the Rams prime field position for a short touchdown drive. And, after Troy scored to go up 30-22, a blocked extra point kept Amsterdam’s hopes alive.
Finally, after the Rams had pulled within 30-28, but missed a tying 2-point conversion attempt, Griffin Cozzocrea’s dribbling onside kick was recovered by Dante Soto with 58.2 seconds left to give Amsterdam one more chance to pull out the win.
“It’s a unit that we’ve tried to stress about not breaking down at all,” Amsterdam coach John Homich said. “They stepped up big today.”
Fonda-Fultonville quarterback Jackson Cusack was part of five touchdowns in the Braves’ 63-13 victory at Broadalbin-Perth on Friday.
Cusack rushed for two touchdowns and threw for three more for the Braves. Cusack completed 9 of 11 passes for 125 yards and threw touchdown passes of 17, 20 and 25 yards.
He also rushed for 101 yards on nine carries, scoring on runs of 23 and 5 yards.
“Jackson [Cusack] is a special kid,” Fonda-Fultonville coach Mike Mancini said. “He does so much for us and he played great tonight. He’s such an important piece of what we do.”
The Braves scored touchdowns on nine of their 10 possessions on the night and the only one that didn’t find the end zone was the final one when they kneeled twice inside the B-P 5-yard line in the final minute to bring the game to an end.
Fonda-Fultonville (8-0 overall, 7-0 Class C South Division) will host Hoosick Falls/Tamarac in a Class C quarterfinal contest Friday at 7 p.m.
CLASS C PLAYOFFS SET
The only eight-team playoff bracket in Section II will get underway Friday as Class C kicks off the postseason in the area.
In addition to Fonda-Fultonville hosting Hoosick Falls/Tamarac in a rematch of the Braves’ semifinal win from a year ago, the quarterfinals will also feature Warrensburg/Lake George/North Warren hosting Cobleskill-Richmondville, Schuylerville hosting Ichabod Crane and Broadalbin-Perth hosting Stillwater.
Stillwater, Schuylerville and Hoosick Falls/Tamarac finished in a three-way tie for second place in the North Division, with the tiebreaker falling the way of the Black Horses, who ended their season with back-to-back losses after losing quarterback Lukas Sherman to injury early in their Week 6 loss to Warrensburg/Lake George/North Warren.
Last year, the Class A Capital Division was ultimately decided by an overtime game between Averill Park and La Salle — though a chaotic series of tiebreakers meant that the result wasn’t assured for a couple more weeks.
The game featured a controversial finish in a driving rainstorm as the Warriors pulled out a 28-27 victory when the game-winning extra point kick was ruled to be good despite video replays appearing to show a missed kick.
This year, the division title was again decided in overtime, but in less controversial fashion as after La Salle tied the game on the final play of regulation, Averill Park’s Charles Ratigan scored the game-winner in the extra period of a 3-yard run.
And this time, with tiebreakers — at the top of the division, at least — out of the picture, Averill Park walked off the field knowing it had already clinched the Capital Division crown again.
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