As the sun set to the west of Larry Mulvaney Field, the Schenectady Patriots ushered in a new era of football with a dominating win over reigning champs Shenendehowa in a 36-7 upset.
The Patriots drew first blood with a 55-yard touchdown run by senior tailback and linebacker Marc Thompson. This run would be the key to the Pats’ victory as the momentum stayed with them until the very end.
As Shen opened up, things went from bad to worse. With the end zone only 13 yards away, Suhayb Banks of Shenendehowa made a costly mistake fumbling the ball, while a waiting Marcus Brandon scooped it up. The Patriots would go on to force three turnovers in their blowout of the 10-time Section II champs. The Pats have a grizzly history with Shen, meeting 7 times, with only one previous win in a 2001 quarterfinal.
Shenendehowa would remain scoreless up until the fourth quarter when they were able to finally put seven points on the board, but it was an effort too late. Schenectady was ahead 22-0 going into the quarter, with Thompson lighting up the scoreboard. Not only was he great on offense, rushing for 91 yards on 16 carries and catching 3 passes from quarterback Nick Ottati for 29 more yards, he returned an interception 58 yards in the opening quarter for another six points.
Also in the spotlight for Schenectady was Ottati, the senior QB who completed 11 of his 20 passes for 146 yards and two touchdowns. He also passed to Herman Seize for a successful two-point conversion, and also ran in another two-point conversion.
Schenectady’s offense was nothing but high-powered, as they were running on all cylinders in the season opener.
“We worked really hard for it. We deserved it,” said veteran tight end Mike Wies when asked about the victory.
Team captain Billy Rios (center/defensive end), responded humbly: “It felt good.”
And as lights dimmed, and the crowd’s roar drifted from the bleachers to the parking lot, the Pats left the field ushering in a new era of Schenectady football.
Anthony Hazlett is a senior at Schenectady High School