Pat Hart kept moving the chains before his burst into the end zone capped Fonda-Fultonville’s first drive.
The senior running back scored again and again on his way to another 1,000-yard season before four of his teammates added to the touchdown frenzy.
“The way we came out on that first drive, we took the wind right out of them,” Braves senior center/linebacker Zak Shaw said after Saturday’s 47-6 Section II Class C quarterfinal win over Stillwater. “We took momentum away from them. We were all over them.”
Fonda-Fultonville notched touchdowns on each of its six first-half drives and piled up 40 points on the way to the program’s 300th victory. It was also the Braves’ second postseason win against Stillwater in three years.
“We’ve got a great tradition here,” said coach Tom Carpenter, who in eight seasons has led the Braves to 47 of those 300 wins. “We’re just trying to carry it on.”
Shaw recovered a fumble after Hart’s third touchdown started a put-away second quarter, Anthony Sinicropi scored soon after, and Dylan Peterson and Russ Williams padded the lead.
“That’s as good a half as we’ve played all year. We did a lot of real good things,” said Carpenter. “I was real pleased with both sides of the ball.”
The Braves (South Division No. 2 seed, 7-1) piled up 343 rushing and passing yards in the first half and allowed 18, and coasted to their third straigt win.
Up next is a playoff rematch with defending state champion Hoosick Falls (North Division No. 1 seed, 8-0) Saturday at Stillwater.
Hoosick Falls won its fourth consecutive Section II title last season before its sweep through the state tournament field.
“They’re a great team. Their record shows that, and we respect them,” Shaw said of Hoosick Falls, which beat Watervliet Friday, 40-6, for its 48th straight Section II victory. “But the way we’ve got it working, I’m confident [against] whoever we play. We’re peaking at the right time. We’re playing our best football.”
“Fonda is a good overall team,” said Stillwater coach Vince Barber. “If they play the way they did today, as a total team, they have a chance against Hoosick Falls.”
Hoosick Falls’ lengthy area winning streak includes triumphs over Fonda-Fultonville in the 2010 and 2012 Class C semifinals and in the 2011 title game.
“We’ve played them the last couple of years. They’ve got a great program. They’re the reigning state champions,” said Carpenter. “We’ll prepare for them like we prepare for everyone else and see what we can do.”
Hart started doing positive things right from the start when he returned the opening kickoff 32 yards to the Braves’ 47. He then ran for 11, 12 and five yards, and after an 11-yard pass from Williams to Brandon Baker, Hart churned for 10 and four for his initial touchdown.
“Our line was awesome,” said Hart. “It was fun running behind them. If we can do it again next week, we’ll be good.”
Hart ran for 173 yards on 18 carries in the first half, and finished with 209 yards on 23 attempts. Ten of his carries resulted in first downs.
“He’s shifty and he has good vision, and when there’s contact, he keeps his feet driving,” said Carpenter.
Hart followed the blocks of Shaw and fellow linemen Jack Derby, Mitch Hayes, Steve Dunbar and Matt Georgia, 6-foot-7 tight end Will Turner and Sinicropi, his fullback.
“Super job,” said Carpenter. “Our tight end, our offensive line, our fullback, the whole group did an outstanding job blocking.”
Hart scored on seven-yard runs in the first quarter and early in the second as Fonda-Fultonville, the state’s No. 16-ranked team, stretched its advantage to 20-0.
Sinicropi scored soon after on a one-yard run. That touchdown was set up by a hustling Shaw, who pounced on the ball at the 10 after Stillwater quarterback Schyler Radliff couldn’t handle a high center snap.
A 36-yard scamper by Shaw led to Peterson’s three-yard touchdown run, and a 41-yard reception by Baker led to Williams’ six-yard touchdown sprint. Derby put an exclamation point on the first half with a sack of Radliff.
“We just kept pounding them all game,” said Hart, who needed 165 yards to reach 1,000 for the second year in a row. “That was the plan.”
Zach Nizet bolted 48 yards for a Braves touchdown in the fourth quarter, and combined with Sinicropi for 111 rushing yards. Williams was 8-for-10 passing for 112 yards.
Hunter Lape led Stillwater (North Division No. 3 seed, 3-5) with 87 rushing yards, and Brandon Rozowicz caught a seven-yard touchdown pass from Radliff with 38 seconds left in the game.
“We never got much offense going,” said Barber. “We thought we’d be able to do some things.”
Shaw had a team-high six tackles to go with his fumble recovery, and Hart was in on five tackles.
Stillwater 0 0 0 6 — 6
Fonda-Fultonville 14 26 0 7 — 47
FF — Hart 4 run (Myers kick).
FF — Hart 7 run (Myers kick).
FF — Hart 7 run (kick faild).
FF — Sinicropi 1 run (kick failed).
FF — Peterson 3 run (Myers kick).
FF — Williams 6 run (Myers kick).
FF — Nizet 48 run (Myers kick).
S — Rozowicz 7 pass from Radliff (run failed).