Holy Trinity will head into the Section II football playoffs next weekend with a heap of momentum and a division championship in tow.
Joe Tortello fired three touchdown passes to Nacier Hundley in the second half, and Holy Trinity rallied past Stillwater Friday 35-21 to complete a five-game sweep through the Class C Central Division.
Holy Trinity had never won an outright division title before, with last year's edition sharing first with Stillwater and Mechanicville in the North Division. Holy Trinity went on to capture the 2017 Section II crown with a victory over Stillwater, and notched two state tournament wins afterward to earn a trip to Syracuse.
"That was the first step, the division," Holy Trinity coach John Barber said. "The second is the sectional championship. They plan on playing Cambridge in the Super Bowl. That's their attitude. Play two tough playoff games to get there and then win it again."
Cambridge/Salem (5-0, 7-0) dealt Holy Trinity (5-0, 6-1) its only loss in a Week 2 crossover game 35-17. The Pride then reeled off five division wins including two shutouts before Friday's triumph at Stillwater.
"After we lost, a lot of attention started to go toward Stillwater, and that put a chip on their shoulder," Barber said of his combined cast from Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons and Catholic Central. "A lot of people had Stillwater favored to win [Friday's game]. I've got a competitive bunch of guys here, and they took that to heart."
Stillwater (4-1, 6-1) built leads of 7-0 and 14-7 in the first half before Holy Trinity battled back.
"They scored on their first two possessions. Their quarterback [James Galarneau] ran all over us," Barber said. "We figured some things out a little bit. Todd Williamson stepped up on defense and made some big plays for us in the third and fourth quarters."
Tortello's first two touchdown passes to Hundley went for 12 and 40 yards and helped Holy Trinity go up 21-14 in the third quarter. Hundley turned a short catch into an 80-yard scoring play in the fourth quarter with 2:34 left, and that all but sealed the outcome as the Pride's advantage grew to 35-21
For the game Tortello was 7-for-14 for 179 yards, and with his three TD strikes, the junior upped his season total to 23. Hundley caught six passes for 185 yards, and the junior ran four times for 38 yards.
"Nacier took the game over," Barber said. "He played awesome."
Holy Trinity will be the No. 2 or No. 3 Class C seed for the sectionals and host a quarterfinal game Saturday. Postseason seeds will be announced Sunday.
Holy Trinity 7 0 14 14 — 35
Stillwater 14 0 0 7 — 21
S — Galarneau 1 run (Cutler kick)
HT — Foster 11 fumble recovery (Lawson kick)
S — Galarneau 10 run (Cutler kick)
HT — Hundley 12 pass from Tortello (Lawson kick)
HT — Hundley 40 pass from Tortello (Lawson kick)
S — Galarneau 12 run (Cutler kick)
HT — Priest 11 run (Lawson kick)
HT — Hundley 80 pass from Tortello (Lawson kick)