Felix Rodriguez can catch the football, too.
Last season’s rushing leader for Schenectady is tops among all Section II players with five touchdown receptions after the first two weeks of the season.
“Felix is a tough matchup when we put him in the slot,” said Schenectady coach Jim Kramer. “Very
often, they’ve got to put a linebacker on him.”
Rodriguez hauled in six passes from Kwame Jarvis for 124 yards and two touchdowns in last week’s 34-27 win at Ballston Spa. The
junior also produced the deciding touchdown on a three-yard run with 17 seconds left.
“It was a 37 toss. I had faith in my line and my fullback [Jeremy Kent],” said Rodriguez. “I knew he’d make the block. He made the play.”
Rodriguez has made a lot of them, including a 93-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to start the Patriots’ season opener against Columbia. All three of his receptions afterward
resulted in touchdowns, with his
10-yarder just inside the final minute closing the deficit to 32-31. A missed two-point try left the score that way in the Blue Devils’ win.
“Over the summer, we went to some passing camps,” said Rodriguez, who leads all Class AA players with his seven touchdowns. “Coach threw me into the slot, and in one-on-one [coverage], it worked out pretty well.”
“He’s a man of many positions,” said Kramer.
Rodriguez scored Schenectady’s first two touchdowns on receptions covering 15 and 65 yards in the Ballston Spa game. With his touchdown in the final seconds, he matched his total from last season.
“It was big, coming after a one-point loss,” Rodriguez said. “We came back eager and had some good practices. We put our best foot forward, and came out with a victory. We needed it.”
Hassan Rainey rushed for 131 yards and two touchdowns on seven carries against Ballston Spa. The junior’s 25-yard end-zone dash and Jarvis’ two-point pass to Kent tied the game at 27-27, and Alex Phann’s 27-yard reception greatly aided Schenectady’s winning drive that followed.
Jarvis was 16-for-28 passing for 284 yards, eclipsing 200 yards for the second week in a row.
“We’ve got a lot of kids who can make plays, and we’ve done a good job of spreading it around,” said Kramer. “That makes us tough to defend.”
football dates filled
Coxsackie-Athens, Mechanicville and Watervliet will play football teams from Section V’s Finger Lakes West Division in non-league games starting Saturday, when Coxsackie-Athens meets South Seneca/Romulus at Binghamton High School.
The open dates were created when Section II Class C school Cairo-Durham called off its varsity season in August, and Finger Lakes West member DeSales closed its doors in late July due to low enrollment and funding issues.
Mechanicville will host Dundee on Saturday, Sept. 22, and Watervliet will host Clyde-Savannah on Saturday, Oct. 13.
Knights on hold
The Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons boys’ cross country team did not run last week at the Guilderland Invitational. The Golden Knights will not be at Shaker Saturday, or at any other big meet until late this month.
“By the end of last spring, they were tired,” said ND-BG coach Jon Broderick. “I’m thinking about the whole year. I have to do what’s best for these guys.”
Senior Jordan Pantalone and 12th-grade twins Matt and Jason Lange have already run a lot of races in their high school careers. They join with senior Nick Przekurat and eighth-grader Jonah Allard to form the top five on a Bishop Gibbons team seeking its first Section II cross country championship since 1982.
“I’m trying to look out for them, and not just this year. I’m thinking about their futures,” said Broderick. “I also have an eighth-grader on the varsity which is pretty rare for us. I can’t overdo him, either.”
Bishop Gibbons is scheduled to run at the E.J. Herrmann Invitational in Utica Sept. 29, with a pair Big 10 meets before that. The Golden Knights won the last two Big 10 regular-season and championship meet titles.
“Our big goal is to win at the state meet. We’ve got to get through Burnt Hills and even Queensbury to get there,” said Broderick. “Burnt Hills is young, but they’re still Burnt Hills. It’s going to be a fight.”
Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake has won 10 Section II titles in the last 13 years in Class A and B. The Spartans beat out the Golden Knights for the top Class B spot last fall, with Jason Lange placing second, Matt Lange taking fourth and Pantalone finishing fifth.
“We definitely need five guys to come through,” said Broderick. “We saw that last year. We had a lot of seconds and thirds in the bigger meets.”