NISKAYUNA -- The Schenectady High Patriots kept the ball on the ground more than they usually do.
That didn't mean that quarterback Seven Terry wasn't still looking to the sky.
With a bright crescent moon hanging over the Niskayuna High field, the lefty senior launched a beautiful arc of a pass to the left corner of the end zone from 26 yards out, and it landed in the hands of Jeremiah Davis with 4:49 left to put away the Silver Warriors on Friday night.
That gave Schenectady a 32-14 lead, and although Niskayuna's Brock Behrman answered right back in one play on a 62-yard TD to Leo O'Brien, the Patriots had plenty of cushion, and ground out the rest of the clock to improve to 2-2 in Class AA and 3-2 overall.
Chris Davis ran for 143 yards on 22 carries for Schenectady, including a weaving, tackle-breaking 32-yarder for a TD and a 24-14 lead late in the third quarter, and he was complemented in the running game by Moses Grant, especially in the second half.
"Oh. I've been waiting for this game since last year," Terry said. "They beat us 35-0 and embarrassed us, and I've been waiting forever since. And when I saw it on the schedule, I knew this would be their homecoming, more than likely. And I was ready to play and got my team ready to play."
Niskayuna (0-5, 0-5) got on the scoreboard first, on the first of Behrman's three TD passes, as Tyler Borwhat made a terrific leaping catch between two defenders in the end zone to haul in a 33-yarder after Behrman had rolled left and stepped forward to find some passing room.
Schenectady drove 58 yards on the next possession to go up 8-7 on Chris Davis' 2-yard run and, while Niskayuna's fumble-prone offense got stuck in neutral, the Patriots went up 16-7 just before halftime on Terry's 11-yard run.
"That killed us," Niskayuna head coach Brian Grastorf said of the first-half turnovers. "Between turnovers and penalties and false starts -- you can count those as turnovers, too -- we kept shooting ourselves in the foot. You're not going to win football games if you keep having negative things happen. We weren't on our game in the first half."
Both teams played a cleaner game in the second half, with the Silver Warriors pulling within 16-14 on a 5-yarder from Behrman to Aaden Woodward.
The Patriots needed just four plays to go up by 24-14 on Chris Davis' 32-yarder.
"We put in a new formation," Schenectady head coach Carm DePaolo said of the emphasis on the running game. "We were a couple players short this week, we had some issues we had to take care of and we took care of them, so I'm proud of the kids to turn it around with some adversity today. We threw a couple starters out that didn't play at all today."
With some starters out, DePaolo credited Jeremiah Davis and Denzere Woolcock for stepping into defensive positions for the first time this season.
Jeremiah Davis intercepted Behrman with great coverage on a deep attempt down the left sideline midway through the fourth quarter. That set up a 57-yard drive capped by Terry's TD to Jeremiah Davis.
"Seven's tough, as usual, he's a great leader," DePaolo said. "We thought we could throw the ball there, and it was wide open. At the beginning of the game, we dropped a couple passes, but, hey, we thought we could run against these people."
"Moses Grant really stepped up, because he hasn't really gotten his chance this year, and he took advantage of it," Terry said. "He's a big guy, and Chris is Chris. We know he'll come through for us. He's reliable. They're both tough to take down, so they have that in common, but Chris is the shifty one, and Moses is the run-downhill guy who we want to use on our dives."
Schenectady 0 16 8 8 -- 32
Niskayuna 7 0 7 8 -- 22
N -- Borwhat 33 pass from Behrman (Pendergrast kick).
S -- C. Davis 2 run (Terry run).
S -- Terry 11 run (Terry run).
N -- Woodward 5 pass from Behrman (Pendergrast kick).
S -- C. Davis 32 run (J. Davis pass from Terry).
S -- J. Davis 26 pass from Terry (Terry run).
N -- O'Brien 62 pass from Behrman (Woodward pass from Behrman).