First, Saratoga Springs used short jabs to establish control.
Then the running game and defense came up with knockout blows, as the Blue Streaks ruined Colonie’s homecoming football game Friday night with a 38-22 Class AA crossover win over the Garnet Raiders.
Saratoga turned two short punts into two first-quarter touchdowns, with senior quarterback Jake Eglintine hitting Hal Hagen with a TD pass and running for another. Jordan Wilcox’s interception return for a touchdown and a safety helped give the Blue Streaks (2-0 Empire Division, 3-0 overall) such a healthy cushion at 38-14 that the Red Raiders had to abandon their running game in favor of short passes.
“We knew they weren’t going away. Their last game, I think they scored 22 points in the last quarter,” said Saratoga coach Terry Jones. “We knew it was going to be a tough, physical game, and it was.”
Colonie got back into the game at 14-8 when sophomore quarterback Will McCann threw a seven-yard TD pass to Devon Edwards right before halftime.
“Field position really hurt us. They took advantage of it,” said Colonie coach Bill Roemer.
The game turned in the third quarter, when Saratoga muscled down the field for a touchdown. On Colonie’s next play from scrimmage, Wilcox came up with his pick six that gave the Streaks a 20-point lead.
“We weren’t playing like we’d been playing in the first half,” said Eglintine. “We talked at halftime that we had to play Saratoga football.
“We came out relaxed, put two touchdowns on the board and that helped calm us down.”
“We felt we established the running game, and got the ball in the end zone,” said Jones of his team’s opening possession of the third quarter. “Then we come back with the interception. Those two things are momentum plays.
“We called the same play basically right down the field until they stopped it,” said Jones of the drive that featured Dakota Harvey. “We said we’re going to put the ball in Dakota’s hands and try to make some things happen.”
Wilcox’s pick six added to the momentum.
“That got us going,” said Saratoga defensive tackle Jack Graver. “Jordan Wilcox had an amazing interception that really brought the whole team up.”
Colonie used the threat of its wide speed to answer, when Edwards took a pitch, then straightened up and found Chris West behind the Saratoga defense for a 73-yard catch and run TD.
A Graver sack on the next series led to a safety, and after taking the ensuing free kick, the Blue Streaks needed only three plays to push the lead to four TDs when Eglintine hit Mark Barbaro in the left corner of the end zone for a 36-yard score and 38-14 lead.
Colonie abandoned the running game, having McCann try to connect with his quick backs and receivers, looking for them to make big plays.
Saratoga was up to the task except for one play.
‘We were trying to get someone free, but they tackled very well,” said Roemer, whose offense ran nearly 40 pass plays, two-thirds of those in the second half.
“Our defense stepped up big again tonight,” said Eglintine.
Saratoga has another big test in a week, meeting CBA.
“We couldn’t be happier that we’re 3-0,” Jones said. “But in the whole scheme of things in the division, it doesn’t mean a thing.
“We’re still 2-0, and in the same place we were last week when the game ended. Next week is a big game because we’re back in the division against a very good CBA team.”
Saratoga Springs 7 7 14 10 — 38
Colonie 0 8 6 8 — 22
S — Hagen 26 pass from Eglintine (Redcross kick).
S — Eglintine 2 run (Eglintine kick).
C — Edwards 7 pass from McCann (Johnson pass from Edwards).
S — Harvey 2 run (Redcross kick).
S — Wilcox 24 interception return (Redcross kick).
C — West 73 pass from Edwards (run failed).
S — Safety.
S — Barbaro 36 pass from Eglintine (Englintine run).
C — West 36 pass from McCann (Edwards run).