SCHENECTADY — Holy Trinity's list of first-time accomplishments continues to grow.
Yet the way the Pride beat Chatham in a Section II Class C semifinal football game Saturday afternoon looked awfully similar to the things they've done before.
Holy Trinity cashed in on an early turnover and put Chatham away with a third-quarter scoring blitz in a 44-0 victory that pushed the program into its first Super Bowl.
That third-quarter flurry came inside the final five minutes, when Noah Foster caught an 88-yard touchdown pass from Joe Tortello, Nacier Hundley hit Jordan Mettler with a 30-yard option pass for a touchdown, and Hundley returned an interception 25 yards to the end zone.
"They were wired this week," Holy Trinity coach John Barber said. "They were ready to go Wednesday."
Holy Trinity had never tasted postseason success before last week's 42-0 quarterfinal win against Voorheesville. The week before the mix of kids from Notre Dame- Bishop Gibbons and Catholic Central beat Fonda-Fultonville 48-0 to clinch a share of their first-ever league championship.
"I had a five-year plan," Barber said. "I was hoping last year."
Last year, Holy Trinity made its first playoff appearance and lost at Hoosic Valley 46-12. In a way, though, that was a moral victory as the Pride played less than 48 hours after an arson fire at their fieldhouse destroyed all of their equipment and many personal items.
"I think our senior group, in our hearts, though we could get here," said 12th-grade linebacker and fullback Cameron Kiser, a three-year starter. "The week after that game were were texting coach to see when we were going to start working out."
Holy Trinity (North No. 1, 8-1) will play Stillwater (North No. 2, 8-1) in the Class C title game Friday at 7 p.m. at Lansingburgh. Holy Trinity beat Stillwater in Week 5 49-6 as part of its seven-game win streak.
"We've got to do what we do," said Hundley, a sophomore receiver and linebacker. "We light up the scoreboard, and we pitch shutouts."
Holy Trinity made a late defensive stand against Chatham (South No. 2, 6-3) to seal its third straight shutout and fourth this season. Earlier the Pride had four defensive takeaways, and scored after each one.
"Like they say, 'Defense wins championships,'" Tortello said. "Our defense has been playing amazing. Every week they're turning it over."
Jacob Cross recovered a Chatham fumble six plays into the game, and Hundley grabbed a 36-yard touchdown pass three plays later. Nelon Priest's second-quarter interception led to a 20-yard scoring pass from Tortello to Foster.
Luke Clement, who had four kickoffs for touchbacks, booted a 28-yard field goal for a 16-0 halftime lead.
"We always make plays in the beginning of the game," Kiser said. "That gets us going."
Foster's 88-yard touchdown catch and run came after an interception by Ja-Del Whitfield. Hundley's first varsity touchdown pass to Mettler came after a short Chatham punt, and Hundley's pick and touchdown return came two plays into the Tigers' ensuing drive.
Tortello's fourth touchdown pass, to Mettler in the fourth quarter, covered 28 yards.
"I told them at the half, 'There's only other place I want to be, and that's Lansingburgh,'" Barber said. "They got things done."
Tortello was 13-for-19 passing for 239 yards with an interception and his second straight four touchdown playoff game. Foster had five catches ofr 129 yards, and Mettler had six catches for 81 yards.
Holy Trinity opened the season with a 13-6 win against Chatham.
"We've definitely gotten better," Kiser said. "In the first game, our offense didn't have it going yet."
Chatham 0 0 0 0 — 0
Holy Trinity 6 10 21 7 — 44
HT — Hundley 36 pass from Tortello (kick failed)
HT — Foster 20 pass from Tortello (Clement kick)
HT — Clement 28 FG
HT — Foster 88 pass from Tortello (Clement kick)
HT — Mettler 30 pass from Hundley (Clement kick)
HT — Hundley 25 interception return (Clement kick)
HT — Mettler 28 pass from Tortello (Clement kick)