Nick Tubolino didn’t expect to find himself with the ball following Ballston Spa’s opening kickoff against CBA Friday night — particularly because Tubolino was the one who kicked it.
But his kickoff for the Scotties bounced along the ground and riccochetted off at least one player before Tubolino recovered it. Four plays later, Ballston Spa was in the end zone and on its way to a 46-0 victory over the Brothers in Class AA Empire Division action.
Quarterback Mark Seager ran 14 times for 98 yards and went 4-for-4 passing for 63 yards, throwing two touchdowns to lead Ballston Spa (4-1 overall, 3-1 division). Shane LaChance ran for 120 yards on nine carries and scored a touchdown.
Van Huyben ran 11 times for 67 yards and scored two TDs, including a four-yard run on that opening drive by the Scotties.
Scotties coach John Bowen said the squib kickoff by Tubolino — who also ran for 58 yards on 11 carries and added two TDs — wasn’t designed the way it turned out.
“We were sailing under a lucky star there,” Bowen said.
“We surprised them,” said Tubolino, adding that he was surprised as well to wind up with the ball.
You couldn’t argue with the result, though, with the Scotties leading 6-0 less than two minutes into the game.
“I think it definitely sent a message,” LaChance said. “It was really important [to take an early lead]. The last couple of games, we got off really slow.”
Still, Bowen was glad his team didn’t get overconfident after its initial success.
“The speed with which we entered the end zone, you take that as it comes,” Bowen said. “I would not point to that by any stretch. Sometimes, honestly, I guess some coaches might disagree, but I think you can score too fast, and things can come too easy for you, especially in high school football.”
In this case, Bowen did not have to worry.
His team hardly became complacent and continued to dominate both sides of the ball — Ballston Spa did not allow an opponent to score on its opening drive for the first time this season.
“That was really something that I kind of impressed upon the guys, making sure that they took care of was not allowing a first-drive touchdown,” Bowen said. “Tonight, they stepped up and they were able to it.”
And the Scotties appeared to lock up a top four spot in the Class AA sectional playoffs later this month, Bowen said, though the team is unlikely to catch undefeated division leader Saratoga Springs.
“Tonight, I thought defensively we played with a good amount of speed and intensity that we hadn’t really had yet this season,” Bowen said.
Jack Reilly ran 15 times for 75 yards to lead CBA (1-4, 1-3). Andrew Vivian went 7-for-12 passing for 67 yards. But otherwise, there was not much offense for the Brothers, who totaled 156 yards of total offense to Ballston Spa’s 478.
Seager threw two solid TD passes, and his receivers — Josh Fabian and Ryan Sparks — beat single coverage on both of them. With the Scotties leading, 13-0, midway through the second quarter, Seager took a step back from CBA’s 35-yard line and lofted a pass inside the five on the opposite side of the field to Fabian, who hauled it in and scored.
Midway through the third,
Seager did it again. On second-and-six from CBA’s two-yard line, Seager rolled right and threw a dart to Sparks, who caught it in stride in the end zone.
For the Brothers, coach Matt Gormley said his team talked about trying to improve in the coming weeks. CBA gained only one first down in the first half, on Vivian’s 36-yard completion to Dan Sipperly on the penultimate play with 10 seconds to go.
“We asked our seniors to keep working with us, and we just told the younger guys, our sophomores and juniors, that we have to get better, and that’s going to happen,” Gormley said. “We’re constantly trying to get our guys to keep playing, and I think we did. We played right to the end, and we didn’t give up, and I think that’s the positive thing.”
CBA 0 0 0 0 — 0
Ballston Spa 6 21 6 13 — 46
BS — Huyben 4 run (kick failed).
BS — Huyben 1 run (Tubolino kick).
BS — Fabian 35 pass from Seager (Tubolino kick).
BS — LaChance 6 run (Tubolino kick).
BS — Sparks 2 pass from Seager (kick failed).
BS — Tubolino 2 run (kick failed).
BS — Tubolino 5 run (Tubolino kick).