SCHENECTADY — They wore red jerseys and white pants like Larry Mulvaney's great football teams did so many years ago, and throughout Friday night's game, Schenectady players made big things things happen like those Mont Pleasant squads.
Schenectady answered a quick Green Tech touchdown with seven of their own and soared to a 47-6 win on the field named after the legendary coach who died back in March, and who was honored by the high school at halftime.
"People throw the word around, but he truly was a legend," said Al Aldi, who, as a senior in 1967, played on Mulvaney's 8-0 team that was ranked No. 1 in the state. "From time to time, some of us will get together, and he is the guy we talk about."
Many of Mulvaney's former players gathered at midfield after Schenectady had built a 35-6 halftime lead to pay homage to their coach, and to receive some well-earned recognition of their own.
Many of them played prominent roles during Mulvaney's heyday as a football and wrestling coach in the 1950s and 1960s.
"Larry was a great guy, and they loved him like a father," Schenectady athletic director Steve Boynton said of the multi-Hall of Fame inductee who passed away at the age of 95. "Red runs through their blood. They'd run through a wall for him."
Mulvaney's football teams went 107-64-4, and three of them posted unbeaten records, but he was much more than just an X's and O's coach. He'd give a kid a ride or a sandwich or a job. He'd make a phone call to a college coach and open a door that may not have been there before. Ask for some advice, and he was more than willing to help.
"A telephone call from someone like Larry Mulvaney was special," said Aldi, who, like Mulvaney's trusted assistant Tony Parisi, played his college ball at Holy Cross. "He stood behind his kids."
"If it was not for him, I don't know what where I'd be today," said 1961 Mont Pleasant graduate Howie Russell, whose own football and wrestling coaching career took him to Mont Pleasant, Linton, Schenectady and Schalmont. "He was my mentor. I wanted to be exactly like him."
One of Mulvaney's former players, 1969 graduate Carm DePoalo, was in the lockerroom at halftime coaching up the Patriots. When the game ended, he pumped his first, and then celebrated with the youngsters who had performed so well.
"Nice program win," DePaolo said. "Everyone worked hard, and we had a good result."
DePoalo said the night would not have been complete without that positive result.
"He told us in the summer about this night, and what the game meant," Schenectady senior quarterback Seven Terry said after throwing for two touchdowns and running for one as part of the Patriots first-half scoring spree. "He told us tonight it was big because everyone was going to be here, and we needed this as a team. Last week we let one get away from us."
After talking to his players post-game and then sending them off to the lockerroom, DePoalo hesitated for a moment and soaked it all in.
"Truly, it's a great honor to play on a field named after Larry Mulvaney," DePoalo said.
Schenectady matched its win total from last season with Friday's non-classification victory. Last season began DePaolo's second stint with the Schenectady varsity, the first one spanning the 2007-08 seasons when Schenectady reached the playoffs both times and made its only Super Bowl appearance.
"We're young, but we're working hard and getting better every day," DePoalo said. "That's the message. Work hard and good things will happen."
Falling behind and roaring back
It wasn't a good start Friday when Green Tech recovered a short kickoff and got a 33-yard touchdown run from Jahzanear Pointer on the second play of the game.
"We showed we were not going to back down," Terrry said. "When adversity hit us, we came back."
Schenectady answered on its first play from scrimmage when Chris Davis sprinted 64 yards for a touchdown. Before the opening quarter was through, Jeremiah Davis had caught a 20-yard scoring pass from Terry, and Terry had a 7-yard touchdown run.
Schenectady scored touchdowns on all five of its first-half possessions, with Jonon White taking a catch 48 yards to the end zone in the second quarter before Jah-Sean Haggray's 39-yard scoring dash.
"In past years, we hung our heads," DePoalo said. "We got our momentum back."
Chris Davis ran six times for 110 yards, Terry was 6-for-9 passing for 134 yards, and Schenectady's defense recorded four quarterback sacks in a bounce-back effort after last week's 42-12 loss at CBA. Green Tech was coming off a 16-6 win against Albany.
Green Tech 6 0 0 0 — 6
Schenectady 20 15 0 12 — 47
GT — Pointer 33 run (run failed)
S — C. Davis 64 run (pass failed)
S — J. Davis 20 pass from Terry (pass failed)
S — Terry 12 run (Terry run)
S — White 48 pass from Terry (Terry run)
S — Haggray 39 run (kick good)
S — Myles 63 run (run failed)
S — Grant 8 run (kick failed).