Guilderland High coach Dan Penna should have felt a lot better about his team’s 30-21 victory over Empire Division foe Saratoga Friday night. Instead, all he could think about was Blue Streaks’ senior captain Travis Mooney.
With 2:22 left in the third quarter, Mooney picked up a first down on a short run before being stopped by Guilderland linebacker Ben Govel. Mooney was hurt on the play and remained prone on the field for 20 minutes before being taken away by ambulance and then later flown to Albany Medical Center.
“First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers are with Travis Mooney,” said Penna. “When that kind of thing happens, it’s scary and it really mars the game. I’m as pleased as I can be with our team. It was a very good win. But something like this reminds you where your priorities lie.”
Saratoga head coach Terry Jones, obviously concerned about Mooney, said he knew nothing about Mooney’s condition; only that he had been flown to Albany Medical Center.
“They made some big plays and we didn’t,” said Jones before leaving the field. “I thought the two teams were pretty equal, but they made the plays and we didn’t. But we’re certainly not done. That’s what I just told the kids. We’re just going to go back to work on Monday.”
The outcome left both clubs with 2-3 overall records, and still in the hunt for a postseason birth.
“We took some body blows the first half of the season, but we wanted to come out and set the tone for the second half of the season, and we did a good job,” said Penna. “Our defense adjusted and played better, our offensive executed very well, and our quarterback threw the ball very well.”
Junior quarterback Frank Gallo, who had a couple of passes dropped by his receivers, finished with 13 completions in 22 attempts for 249 yards and no interceptions. On three third-down plays, his pinpoint accuracy helped his team to first downs on long completions, and if he opted to hand the ball off, junior tailback Micaiah Henningham was more than up to the task, scoring four touchdowns on 10 carries for 106 yards. He also caught two Gallo passes for 60 yards.
Guilderland got on the scoreboard on the game’s first possession, with Henningham breaking free on fourth down and inches for a 57-yard touchdown.
Saratoga’s junior quarterback Jake Eglintine tied the score with a 29-yard scramble for a touchdown later in the first period, before Guilderland reclaimed the lead on Henningham’s one-yard run with 11:26 left in the second quarter. The big play in the drive was a 46 yard pass from Gallo to Henningham.
Victor Perez’s 75-yard kickoff return helped the Blue Streaks to a 13-12 lead, but Guilderland
reclaimed the lead on another one-yard run by Henningham, the score set up by Gallo’s 57-yard pass to Stephen Polsinelli.
Guilderland struck first in the third period on a 10-yard touchdown by Joe Cornell.
Mooney was hurt on Saratoga’s ensuing drive, but the Blue Streaks managed to put together a nine-play, 61-yard drive to get back in the game on Wilcox’s two-yard run on the first play of the fourth period.
The Dutchmen, however, then put the game out of reach with a long, time-consuming drive climaxed by another Henningham touchdown with 2:31 left to play.
Guilderland 6 12 6 6 — 30
Saratoga 6 7 0 8 — 21
G - Henningham 57 run (kick failed).
S - Eglintine 29 run (kick failed).
G - Henningham 1 run (run failed).
S - Perez 75 kickoff return (Redcross kick).
G - Henningham 1 run (pass failed).
G - Cornell 10 run (run failed).
S - Wilcox 2 run (Chandler pass from Harvey).
G - Henningham 4 run (kick failed).