With a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter, Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons/Saratoga Central Catholic ended its final Class D South Division football game in an upbeat way.
The Sainted Knights would like to close out their season in the same manner.
“My purpose when I came here was to make the playoffs,” NDBG/SCC coach John Barber said after Saturday’s 38-21 homecoming loss to Hoosic Valley. “We made the playoffs, but as a coach, it’s my job to keep kids safe and do the right thing.”
Banged up before Saturday’s game and a little bit more afterward, the Sainted Knights have opted to skip the Class D playoffs after qualifying as the No. 4 seed by virtue of last week’s 8-6 victory over Schoburg. The Sainted Knights — in their first season as a combined unit — will likely be paired with a non-playoff team from the Class D North Division next week, rather than take on the champion of that group in Greenwich (5-0, 6-1).
“It’s in the best interest of the student-athletes,” said Phonsey Lambert, athletic director at Saratoga Catholic. “We’re in the
developing stages. We had success last week, and we put three scores up today. We’ll try to build on something.”
Bishop Gibbons faced Greenwich late last season and lost, 48-14, as part of its 0-8 record. The Witches are currenty ranked No. 7 in the state.
“Class D football is two levels of football. You’ve got the real good teams like Greenwich, Cambridge, Rensselaer and a few others, and then there’s everyone else,” said NDBD/SCC senior Mike Niles. “It’s better for our program to play a team on the same level as us. We’d put up a fight against Greenwich, but it wouldn’t be beneficial for us.”
“We wouldn’t get anything out of it,” added junior David Haskell, who scored two of NDBG/SCC’s three touchdowns and recovered a fumble. “We’re going to try to end on a positive note. Try to build on something for next year. We want to have people gain some confidence heading into next year.”
The Sainted Knights headed into halftime Saturday trailing, 16-8, and when Hoosic Valley quarterback Colin Claus scored on a 17-yard run on the first play of the fourth quarter, their deficit grew to 38-8.
“The kids never gave up,” said Barber. “After they scored their final TD, I told the guys, ‘All year long, we never gave up. Don’t give up now.’ They picked each other up and kept going.”
Haskell returned a punt 70 yards for a touchdown after NDBG/SCC made a defensive stop, and Pat Clare recovered an onside kick soon after. Inside the final minute, Haskell hit Roberto Rikprashad with a 41-yard option pass, and Clare followed with a six-yard scoring toss to Evan Pecetti.
“Every game has been tough for us. They’ve all been a battle, but we’ve kept fighting,” said Niles. “We haven’t fallen down and let anyone just run over us. Everyone has each other’s back, and we keep playing no matter what.”
“We stay together as a family,” said Haskell. “We believe if you keep pushing, you’ll get something eventually. At the end today, we were still pushing it.”
Hoosic Valley (1-4, 1-6) had success pushing forward with its packed double-wing offense.
“They controlled the ball,” said Barber. “They controlled the game with that offense.”
Hoosic Valley piled up 348 rushing yards to the Sainted Knights’ 81, with fullback Anthony Wasiyo gaining 121 on 13 carries and wing Isaac Sanches gaining 117 on 17 attempts. Wasiyo scored two touchdowns, and Sanchez, one of the Indians’ nine freshmen, also produced two touchdowns.
“We thought we could run on them,” said Wasiyo, a senior. “We had good blocking, and that was the key.”
Wasiyo scored on a three-yard run to cap Hoosic Valley’s first drive that covered 60 yards on 14 plays and chewed up just over eight minutes. Haskell scored on a 64-yard dash two plays into the Sainted Knights’ first drive.
“I give 100 percent for this team all the time,” said Haskell. “No matter if it’s running or tackling. You’ve got to want it.”
Sanchez scored on a two-yard run in the second quarter, and Niles kept Hoosic Valley from adding on later in the quarter when he stopped Wasiyo at the two on a fourth-and-goal attempt.
Wasiyo scored from the one in the third quarter following his 61-yard burst, and Sanchez scored from the eight later in the period.
“They put up a good effort,” said Wasiyo. “I commend them for that. I’m just glad we could come out with a win.”
The victory was only the eighth for the Hoosic Valley varsity, which began playing in 2006. Though Hoosic Valley competes in Class D, it is ineligible for the playoffs because of its Class C enrollment size.
“They’re [NDBG/SCCC] in the same boat as us. They’re trying to build. We’re trying to build,” said Hoosic Valley coach Pete Porcelli.
Hoosic Valley 8 8 16 6 — 38
NDBG/SCC 8 0 0 13 — 21
HV — Wasiyo 3 run (Burnell run).
BG/SC — Haskell 64 run (Van Patten run).
HV — Sanchez 2 run (Wasiyo run).
HV — Wasiyo 1 run (Sanchez run).
HV — Sanchez 8 run (Claus run).
HV — Claus 17 run (kick failed).
BG/SC — Haskell 70 punt return (Dobkowski kick).
BG/SC — Pecetti 6 pass from Clare (kick failed).