STILLWATER — James Galarneau stood at midfield, battered and bruised, and holding the Indian Bowl trophy in his hands once again.
"It feels fantastic," Stillwater's senior quarterback and safety said after his team knocked off rival Mechanicville 34-7 Friday night. "To grow up with this group of guys and to experience four wins with them in this game, there's nothing more special."
Galarneau has had a significant hand in each one of those victories, starting with his game-winning 2-point conversion pass in overtime his freshman year, to Friday night, when he passed for two touchdowns and ran for another for the unbeaten Warriors.
His second touchdown pass late in the second quarter and his long scoring dash in the third quarter were of particular importance, giving Stillwater (3-0, 6-0) some breathing room, and then a little bit more.
"What can you say about James that has not been said," Stillwater coach Ian Godfrey offered up. "He's a great kid. He comes from a great family. And when his number is called, he rings the bell. I love being his coach."
Friday night's game was big for reasons other that bragging rights, as Stillwater set up a winner-take-all game next Friday at home against fellow Class C Central Division unbeaten Fonda-Fultonville (3-0, 6-0).
"To their credit, those guys [Mechanicville] played their guts out," Godfrey said. "To beat them is a nice accomplishment. Now we've got another big game. For the second year in a row, we'll be playing for the league title on our field."
Stillwater added to its momentum Friday, with its veteran quarterback anchoring the effort.
Galarneau, who was 7 of 10 for 125 yards, threw touchdown passes of 19 yards to Ryan Greene and 24 yards to Isaac Cutler in the second quarter as Stillwater opened up a 20-0 lead. In the third frame, he went 44 yards to the end zone.
"The first half was a grind," Galarneau said. "We needed some big plays."
Brian McNeil provided one of them late in the first half when the senior nailed Mechanicville quarterback Kyle Johnson for a 6-yard loss on a third-and-12 play from his own 37. Mechanicville punted, and four plays into Stillwater's ensuing drive, Cutler made his touchdown grab to cap a quick 48-yard drive with 32 seconds to go.
"With this team, one person makes a big play and the energy goes through the roof," McNeil said after he, too, participated in his fourth Indian Bowl win. "The perfect example was the end of the first half."
"Going into the locker room up 14-0 would have been nice, but not great, so that made the touchdown huge," Godfrey said of the Galarneau-to-Cutler connection. "Mechanicville was hanging around, and we got a big play at a big moment."
Galarneau's long touchdown run just added to his Indian Bowl highlight list.
"It's hard to pick one that stands out," Galarneau said. "Sophomore year, when I got my first start in this game, that was big, but winning four in a row is pretty special, too."
Galarneau was in on Stillwater's first key play Friday, when McNeil forced a fumble and Galarneau recovered the ball at the Warriors' 30 to halt Mechanicville's game-starting drive. Mason Seymour scored Stillwater's first touchdown after that takeaway on a 1-yard run.
Seymour also scored on a 1-yard run in the fourth quarter as part of his 105 rushing yards. Galarneau paced Stillwater with 116 rushing yards.
"To win it [Indian Bowl] from freshman year to senior year, I am happy I can experience it with all the great people from Stillwater," Galarneau said.
Joe Sanchez scored for Mechanicville (0-3, 2-4) on a 7-yard run in the fourth quarter.
Mechanicville 0 0 0 7 — 7
Stillwater 7 13 7 7 — 34
S — Seymour 1 run (Cutler kick)
S — Greene 19 pass from Galarneau (Cutler kick)
S — Cutler 24 pass from Galarneau (kick failed)
S — Galarneau 44 run (Peacock kick)
S — Seymour 1 run (Peacock kick)
M — Sanchez 7 run (LaFountain kick).