Just about everything Sal Cimino and the Mechancville offense tried worked Friday night at Schuylerville, and as a result, the Red Raiders handed Kevin Collins his first career playoff win, 40-0 over Watervliet, in a Class C quarterfinal game.
“It’s his first playoff win as a head coach, so it really feels good to give it to him,” said Cimino, a senior quarterback who passed for two touchdowns and ran for another. “Our running game set up our passing game, and our defense played great. It feels great to have a playoff game next week.”
The victory improved Mechanicville’s overall record to 6-2, and puts the Red Raiders into next Saturday’s Class C semifinals against Chatham, a 59-14 winner over Stillwater. Kickoff is at 2 p.m.
The Red Raiders didn’t score on their first possession, but picked up two first downs and won the early battle for field position. On their second offensive series, they went 59 yards in five plays, Cimino keeping the ball for a 10-yard gain before senior tailback Adam Dunn broke free for a 35-yard touchdown.
Chase Delossantos scored on a 22-yard return of an interception to help Mechanicville take a 12-0 lead early in the second quarter, and the Red Raiders took control of the game just a few minutes later, when Cimino lofted a perfect pass to Adam Erno for a 55-yard touchdown. With 6:40 left before intermission, Mechanicville was ahead, 19-0.
“When we establish our running game we are then able to throw the ball, and that’s what happened tonight,” said Collins. “Sal had a great game, and with the guys, blocking really well up front for us our offense played very well. It feels great to have another playoff game next week. This was our goal.”
Mechanicville picked up 11 first downs in the first half, and its four-man running game accounted for 160 rushing yards in the first two periods. Dunn had 55 yards on eight carries, Cimino ran the ball four times for 50 yards and Erno and Delossantos also ran well, combining for 53 yards on 11 carries.
In the second half, Delossantos, a sophomore fullback, did much of the damage, and along with classmate Chris Provancher, helped Erno and Dunn take much of the second half off.
“Chase is our workhorse, and when we need to ground out the yardage, he can do it,” said Collins. “I’m very happy with the way our offense played.”
Mechanicville didn’t look much like a playoff team two weeks ago, when the Red Raiders were upset on the road by arch-rival Stillwater, 34-16. That game, Collins said, is ancient history.
“We preach one game at a time,” said Collins. “We’re a much better team than we showed against Stillwater. Some of Mechanicville’s best teams have lost to Stillwater. That game was a speed bump, but I’ve got a great group of kids here and we’ve moved on.”
“We can’t look back at Stillwater,” Cimino said. “That just wasn’t our night. We’re looking ahead at Chatham. and they’re a very good team. I think people will doubt us, but let me tell you, it’s going to be a real dogfight.”
Mechanicville capped its first-half scoring with a 24-yard touchdown pass to junior wide reciever Noah Harpe, who made a nice diving catch in the corner of the end zone.
Up at the half, 26-0, Cimino capped a short drive early in the third period from four yards out, and then Delossantos scored again on a nine-yard run with 9:31 left.
Watervliet, which dropped to 4-4, produced little offense, although quarterback Taylor Dockstader did hook up with Logan Miller and Tyler Touzin for four long pass receptions. Miller caught two passes covering 52 yards, and Touzin was on the receiving end of two passes for 70 yards, but the Cannoneers couldn’t put the ball into the end zone.
Senior linebacker Nate Hatalsky sparked the Mechanicville defense, while lineman Brennan Flemming, Zach Perras and David Minor also excelled.
“Hatalsky does so much for us, and our ‘D’ line did a great job of stringing out the play, so our linebackers can come up and make the hits,” said Collins.
Watervliet 0 0 0 0 — 0
Mechanicville 6 20 7 7 — 40
M — Dunn, 35 run (kick failed).
M — Delossantos, 22 interception return (run failed).
M — Erno, 55 pass from Cimino (Kawola kick).
M — Harpe, 24 pass from Cimino (Kawola kick).
M — Cimino, 4 run (Kawola kick).
M — Delossantos, 3 run (Kawola kick).