September 09, 2006
Johnstown-Ravena: I only stayed for the first six minutes or so of the game, but I didnt' miss much the rest of the way. By the time I left, the score was 13-0 in Ravena's favor, Johnstown had yet to run a single offensive play, the ball had yet to cross Ravena's 40-yard-line (Johnstown opened with an onside kick), and Ravena had run a total of zero pass plays. Johnstown was simply too small to stop Ravena's rushing attack. Pat Filkins was the star of the show, following up last week's 300-yard performance with a 179-yard game today. Mike Fortier also ran for triple digits, and the two combined for five touchdowns.
Johnstown opened with an onside kick that Ravena recovered, and things went downhill from there. The Indians marched down the field with a four-minute drive, capped off by Fortier's ten-yard run that found the end zone. On the ensuing kickoff, Johnstown's kick returner (don't remember who it was) ran the kick back to about the 20 before being stripped by a Ravena player (I believe it was Nate Graham). A couple plays later, Filkins found the end zone to make it 13-0.
Filkins' TD run didn't look extremely impressive, but I found it amazing - it was a sweep to the left, but the toss was thrown behind him too much. Filkins had to turn around to catch the ball, spun back to face forward, and then dodged a couple defenders to score. I don't know how exactly how impressive that is - I have never been a running back - but I don't think I'd be coordinated enough to catch that ball without falling flat on my face, let alone taking it in for a touchdown. Filkins is the single most important player in Class B this year. Ravena rolled to a 47-7 win.
And one more quick note about that game - have you ever looked at Ravena's uniforms closely? They look like a cross between Florida State and the Oregon Ducks. They have the same logo on their helmet as FSU, and the same strange bright green-bright yellow color scheme as Oregon. Here's a picture if you want to see - I think it's from last year, but they haven't changed much.
Mohon-Lansingburgh: This game was much more entertaining. When I got there, the score was 8-0 Lansingburgh and the first quarter was almost over. The first thing that stood out to me was how many people were there - Lansingburgh's stadium has a huge set of bleachers, and they were just about 100% full. I didn't bring a camera (that's something I will start doing in the future), but it got very loud at some points. Unless the stadium is packed, football games at this level usually don't get very loud, mainly because the field is so far away from the crowd (as opposed to, say, basketball games, where the crowd is often right up on the court and the sound echoes around the gym).
Lansingburgh seemed content to run the football, and their triple-option offense was picking up yards early on. But in the middle of the second quarter (14-0 L'burgh), Mohon's offense started rolling. Star QB Patrick Barnes took off on a 30-yard run, and the Knights were called for a late hit afterwards, moving the ball to Lansingburgh's 20. Then, on a 4th-and-16 (from the 26), Barnes hit Josh Provost in the end zone to make the score 14-6. I don't know how Lansingburgh could possibly give up a touchdown there - they knew Barnes was going for the end zone, and they still didn't stop him. The Knights' safety did slip a little, but he was beaten anyhow. Great throw by Barnes as well.
A couple minutes later, Lansingburgh fumbled the ball around midfield, and Mohon recovered. On the next play, Barnes hit Provost deep - he was wide open - and Provost took it in 52 yards for a touchdown. But the 2-point conversion was no good, and the Knights scored again to take a 22-12 halftime lead.
Opening the third quarter, Lansingburgh's rushing attack was unstoppable - I believe they ran off gains of around 20, 15, 10, 6, and then an 11-yard TD on consecutive plays. Mohon needed a touchdown on the next drive to stay in the game. And their offense was ready, with a great drive that kept moving the chains and gave them a 1st-and-goal on Lansinburgh's one-yard-line. But the Knights' defense stepped up, and Mohon never saw the end zone. Lansingburgh got the ball back inside their own five, and put the final nail in the Warriors' coffin - touchdown pass from QB Connor Gallo to Kenny Youngs that went 98 yards. Youngs also had a 95-yard INT return for a touchdown earlier in the game (the score that I missed); that kid is fast. I haven't seen many teams play yet, but I wouldn't be surprised if he's the fastest player in the section. Youngs also added two rushing touchdowns in the game.
Does anyone know how many times a 98-yard TD pass has occured in recent Section 2 history? I don't know much about the history of high school football, but I would like to know when that's happened before. I can't imagine that's a record - if anybody reading this has any stories they'd like to share, e-mail me (mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org) and I'll post them.
Final score was L'burgh 34, Mohon 12, though the game was actually a lot closer than that. Take away Mohon's late fumble inside Knights territory and add a couple inches on one of their goal-line plays, and the score could have been 28-25. But that's the way the game of football goes.
Mohon is a decent team, and if they play well they could catch a good team off guard and pull off an upset. But they're not close to being playoff contenders. Lansingburgh, on the other hand, is almost certainly one of the top two teams in the class at this point, given lackluster performances last night by Glens Falls and Amsterdam.
The one thing that seemed strange to me about this game was the number of mental mistakes. There were quite a lot of penalties, and not the normal kind like holding - I counted two illegal procedures and four personal fouls in the second quarter alone. And the Knights' secondary seemed very confused at times. If they fix these issues, Lansingburgh will be a great team this year - QB Connor Gallo really impressed me yesterday; he wasn't asked to make many plays, but when he needed to, he delivered - and Youngs is a great player no matter how you slice it. But great teams can't afford to make the number of mistakes the Knights did yesterday, especially once you get towards the end of the season.
(On the flip side, Mohon could be one of the most fun teams to watch this year. They will be playing from behind a lot, and QB Patrick Barnes can really throw the ball. If you get bored by the run-left, run-right, run-middle offense that so many teams like to play at this level, go watch the Warriors play.)
Shaker 20, Colonie 19 - Colonie scored a touchdown with about a minute left in the game to make the score 20-19, but went for the two-point conversion and failed. I don't think this was a bad decision - the extra point at this level is probably only made around 50% of the time (at least early in the year), so you might as well go for the win. But Colonie losing, combined with a lot of the other scores, makes it clear that there is no clear favorite in Class AA.
Columbia 17, Shen 7 - After losing at home last week to Troy, Shen goes down again to Columbia. The road doesn't get much easier for the Plainsmen, as they have to play Saratoga next week. The Blue Devils now are 2-0, beating last year's best teams (LaSalle, Shen) that are now bad. How good are they? Well, they are one of only 4 unbeaten teams remaining, but only time will tell how good they really are.
Saratoga 55, Albany 14 - Saratoga will probably be at the top of my power rankings next week, despite losing to Colonie in Week 1. But Albany is not a very good team this year, so there still are questions about how good the Blue Streaks really are. There aren't really any standout players for Saratoga (yet) - 8 different players scored TDs yesterday for the Blue Streaks.
Queensbury 21, CBA 13 - How good is Queensbury? I have no idea. They've beaten a Nisky team that was supposed to be pretty good but lost to LaSalle yesterday, and a CBA team that hasn't played anybody else in the section. The Spartans running game led by Brad Middleton produced 289 yards and 2 TDs yesterday. Queensbury plays Colonie next Saturday and then Saratoga the week after that, so we should know how good they are soon.
LaSalle 20, Nisky 7 - Nisky will have some trouble generating offense this season. Look for more of these 21-14, 26-12 type games for Nisky down the line. As for LaSalle, they finally put some points on the board after losing 7-6 last week, and they improve to 1-1.
Guilderland 13, Troy 0 - Arguably the most surprising result of the weekend. Troy looked like one of the best teams in the section last week, but they only got 54 yards of total offense in their loss to a surprising 2-0 Dutchmen team. Now Troy is 1-1, and in the pack of "Teams that might be great or might not be that good at all", along with Colonie, LaSalle, Columbia, Guilderland, Queensbury, CBA, Bethlehem and Shaker (am I forgetting anyone?).
BH-BL 42, Glens Falls 7 - Well, I was wrong about Troy being #1 in Class AA. And it looks like I was wrong about Cambridge being #1 in Class C as well (see below). But it looks like I was right about one thing - Burnt Hills is the best team in Class A. Glens Falls came into the game as one of the top four teams in the class (A'dam and L'burgh the other two), and they were playing at home. But they couldn't stop the steamroller that is the Spartans' rushing attack. Kyle Holmes scored three TDs and DJ Moore added two more, and Burnt Hills' great defense held Glens Falls' great ariel attack scoreless (their only points came off a David White kick return).
Amsterdam 30, Scotia 20 - Amsterdam continues to let teams hang around, as the score was 20-13 at the half in Scotia's favor. Scotia is a decent team but not anything close to a contender; the Rams should have won going away. The Rams still are the defending state champs and they still are unbeaten, but they're not going to even make the section title game if they keep playing like this.
Cobleskill 20, Hudson 19 - This was a big game between two title contenders, and it lived up to the hype. Hudson took a 13-0 lead in the first quarter, but Cobleskill came back with two TDs in the fourth to win. Ravena still is probably better than either of these teams.
Hoosick Falls 31, Cambridge 14 - Two great teams squared off last night, and Hoosick Falls was the greater. I still like Cambridge as a sleeper in the playoffs, but they didn't have enough to match Hoosick Falls last night. I haven't seen any Class C action this year, so I can't comment too much on it. QB Rollie O'Brien scored three rushing touchdowns for the Panthers.
Chatham 47, CCHS 7 - Chatham has now outscored their opponents 118-14 this year. Granted, Hoosic Valley and CCHS aren't exactly powerhouses, but still. Josh Hutchinson was the star for Chatham, scoring four TDs.
Voorheesville 7, Schuylerville 3 - Didn't want to say much other than that last year's section champion, Schuylerville, is now 0-2.
Salem 35, Greenwich 34 (2 OT) - Nice win for Salem over a Class C team. I still think Salem will be the best team in a mediocre Class D this year.
Bethlehem 14, Ballston Spa 7
Bishop Maginn 32, Schenectady 12
Canajoharie 27, Rensselaer 8
Fonda 14, Taconic Hills 6
Gloversville 21, AP 14