What a weekend for high school football! There was so much to write about that never made it into the stories online or in print — so here's more about Saturday's Section II championship games... as long as I have an extra hour tonight, thanks to setting the clocks back an hour.
Was the Class B championship game — in which Glens Falls pulled out a wild and wacky 40-37 overtime victory over Schuylerville — the best game ever? It's got to be on the list. This game had it all — clutch plays, huge momentum swings, and tremendous heart by both teams. The Black Horses turned Glens Falls into a one-dimensional passing team, while running the ball down the Indians' throats for virtually the entire game.
— However, QB Joseph Girard III used his passing touch (422 yards on 24-for-39 passing, 3 TDs) and Aaron Sampson's big runs to give kicker Sam Hogan the ability to be the hero, twice. Hogan's 33-yard field goal at the end of regulation sent the game into overtime tied at 37-37, then his 39-yarder in the extra session gave Glens Falls the victory.
— The Class A title game also came down to the wire, as Burnt Hills needed a touchdown with 23 seconds left to snap a tie for a 27-20 win over Queensbury.
— And in Class D, Cambridge pulled a surprise by dominating Greenwich — the two-time Class C champ that dropped down to the D's this season — by a 40-7 score. The Indians jumped out to a 26-0 lead before the Witches knew what hit them as the defending state champs avenged their only loss of the season.
And now to break down the Class B championship game:
— Schuylerville took the opening kickoff and drove the ball 80 yards in 15 plays, eating up seven minutes as the Black Horses scored on Carson Dunkel's 1-yard run. Stratton Sherman converted a fourth down with a 17-yard pass to Justin Carte, who was diving at the Glens Falls 14. Five plays later, Dunkel scored. Sherman then hit Paul Harshbarger with a two-point conversion pass. Schuylerville 8, Glens Falls 0, 5:07 left.
— Glens Falls went three and out, but then a bad punt snap caused punter Sam Hogan to scramble into a 14-yard loss, giving Schuylerville the ball at the Indians' 14.
— The Horses turned that short field into another touchdown, as six plays later, Sherman scored from 2 yards out for a 15-0 lead. Schuylerville 15, Glens Falls 0, 1:19 left.
— Schuylerville's defense had pinned their ears back and played aggressive, flushing Glens Falls QB Joseph Girard III from the pocket several times. However, the Indians flipped the field very quickly on their next possession. Facing third and long on its own 37 after Girard was sacked for an 11-yard loss, Glens Falls got a huge 44-yard pass play from Girard to freshman Aalijah Sampson at the Horses' 19. Two plays later, Girard hit his cousin, Quinn Girard, in the left flat and he ran for the touchdown. Schuylerville 15, Glens Falls 7, 10:25 left.
— The teams then traded interceptions, with Quinn Girard picking off a pass by Sherman, and Schuylerville responded two plays later with a pick of Joseph Girard III by Matthew Peck at midfield with 8:32 to go in the half.
— The Black Horses drove 49 yards in nine plays to Derek Willson's 3-yard touchdown run up the middle for a 22-7 lead — the largest deficit faced by Glens Falls in two years. Schuylerville 22, Glens Falls 7, 4:33 left.
— While the Horses were piling up the rushing yards and stuffing Glens Falls' ability to run — the Indians spent the entire first half in negative rushing yards — few teams can strike quicker than Glens Falls. The Indians needed just four plays to pull within 22-14 — a 70-yard drive accomplished with two incompletions, then a 38-yard pass play to Aaron Sampson to the Horses' 32, and then a diving 32-yard touchdown reception by Justin Holness in the end zone. Schuylerville 22, Glens Falls 14, 3:39 left.
— Glens Falls finally got a stop on defense, forcing Schuylerville to punt with 1:15 left in the first half. The Indians took over on their own 37 and drove up the field to the Horses' 22, where they called time out with one second left on the clock. Hogan set up for a 38-yard field goal attempt, but was just wide left on the try.
Halftime — Schuylerville 22, Glens Falls 14
— Glens Falls took the second-half kickoff — Aaron Sampson returned it 51 yards to the Schuylerville 44-yard line — and scored in six plays on a 19-yard pass from Joseph Girard III to David Barclay to pull within 22-20. Girard was scrambling to keep the play alive, then tossed the ball to Barclay, who was wide open behind coverage and ran in for the score. The two-point conversion pass failed. Schuylerville 22, Glens Falls 20, 10:34 left.
— Schuylerville burned up five minutes driving from its own 35 to the Glens Falls 22 before turning the ball over on downs.
— The Indians then marched 78 yards in seven plays to take their first lead of the game. Facing third and 10 from their own 34, Joseph Girard III connected with Aalijah Sampson for a 49-yard gain to the Schuylerville 27. On the next play, Aaron Sampson weaved through the defense for a touchdown and his younger brother caught the conversion pass for a 28-22 Glens Falls lead. Glens Falls 28, Schuylerville 22, 3:53 left.
— Not to be outdone, Schuylerville refused to quit, driving 80 yards in five plays, as Carte broke a tackle and sprang loose for a 62-yard touchdown, with Cam Alber's extra point giving the Horses a 29-28 lead. Schuylerville 29, Glens Falls 28, 1:43 left.
— Glens Falls got a 25-yard pass from Joseph Girard III to Aalijah Sampson — the two connected eight times for 169 yards Saturday — but Girard was intercepted by Dunkel, who made a diving catch of a tipped pass at the Schuylerville 5-yard line to end the third quarter.
— Schuylerville marched from its own 5 to the Glens Falls 4-yard line — covering 91 yards in an epic 15-play drive that included a fourth-down conversion at the Glens Falls 15. However, the drive ground to a halt when Willson was stuffed for a loss on fourth down by Indians linebacker Dakota Trombley at the 4 with 4:53 left in regulation.
— Joseph Girard III then engineered a 96-yard touchdown drive, needing just five plays — all first downs — in 62 seconds to retake the lead. Girard hit Aalijah Sampson (18 yards), Holness (21 yards) and Noah Balcom (18 yards) to put the Indians on the Schuylerville 42. Then Aaron Sampson burst up the middle to the 27, and finally scored on a draw play on the next down. The conversion pass failed, but Glens Falls led 34-29. Glens Falls 34, Schuylerville 29, 3:51 left.
— Not ready to quit, the Black Horses again rallied, and again Glens Falls could not stop Schuylerville's powerful running game — and occasional passes by Sherman — from driving down the field. This time the Horses needed 10 plays to drive 82 yards to another go-ahead touchdown — a 6-yard pitchout to Harshbarger, who swept in over the left side for the score. Dunkel then caught the two-point conversion pass from Sherman for a 37-34 Schuylerville lead. Schuylerville 37, Glens Falls 34, 1:11 left.
— Even 71 seconds left in regulation is more than enough time for Glens Falls' quick-strike passing offense. The Indians drove 80 yards in eight plays, with Girard completing 4 of 5 passes and running twice, to get the ball into field goal range. Hogan then supplied the tying 33-yard field goal with one second left in regulation. Glens Falls 37, Schuylerville 37, :01 left.
— In high school football overtime, the team that wins the coin toss can choose to have the ball first or which goal to defend. Each team gets a possession from the 20-yard line going in.
— Schuylerville took the ball first, converting a third down with a run by Sherman down to the 10-yard line. The drive stalled, and the Horses went for the 24-yard field goal, but came up short, with Kyle Vachon attempting to return the kick.
— Glens Falls took over for its try, but the Indians' three rushes netted minus-2 yards, and Hogan drilled his 39-yard field goal through the uprights for the winning points.
FINAL — Glens Falls 40, Schuylerville 37
Some big numbers:
Joseph Girard III — 24 for 39 passing for 422 yards, 2 interceptions and 3 touchdowns
Aalijah Sampson — 8 catches for 169 yards
Aaron Sampson — 12 rushes, 79 yards, 2 TDs
Derek Willson — 27 rushes, 141 yards, 1 TD
Stratton Sherman — 10 for 21 passing, 205 yards, 1 TD
Justin Carte — 6 catches, 135 yards, 1 TD