Inspired by my list of the Glens Falls area’s all-time greatest high school football games , I'm reorganizing my list of all time great and very good local football games, and we finally move up to the previous decade -- the 2000s, the Oughts, the 0's, whatever you want to call the period from 2000 to 2009, with some good games from the 2010 season thrown in for good measure... and be sure to click back to the previous entries to find the top games of the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s....
I started my career at The Post-Star in the summer of 2001, 10 years ago, so I was on the sidelines for plenty of these games, or my colleagues were covering some of these games. There were a ton of great teams and great players in that span of time -- too many to list here...
But I can list the top games of the last decade here, so read on:
Fort Edward 22, Lake George 14, Sept. 15, 2000 at Lake George: Trailing 14-8 in the fourth quarter, the Flying Forts scored twice on fourth-and-long using the same play — nine zig drag — each time. The first was a deflected TD pass from Matt Traver to Brian Benson on fourth-and-six to tie the score at 14-14 with 7:14 left in regulation, then a 39-yard TD pass from Traver to Benson with four seconds remaining on fourth-and-14.
Hoosick Falls 37, Corinth 36 (OT), Sept. 22, 2000 at Hoosick Falls: After producing minimal offense their first three games, the Panthers rallied from deficits of 24-8 and 30-20 to tie the game in regulation. Hoosick Falls kicker Wally Sheffer booted a late 29-yard field goal to send the game into overtime tied at 30-30. Mike Wetherby rushed for his third TD of the game to give Corinth the lead, but Hoosick Falls stuffed the Tomahawks’ two-point conversion attempt. Ryan Garippa then scrambled 20 yards to pull the Panthers even at 36-36, and Sheffer kicked the deciding PAT. Garippa passed for 227 yards and three TDs, while Wetherby rushed for 173.
Glens Falls 21, Hudson Falls 14, Oct. 14, 2000 at Hudson Falls: Brett Reynolds' 16-yard halfback option pass to Tim Powers in the third quarter provided the go-ahead TD, but this classic Jug Game came down to solid defense by the Indians to pull off the upset. Turnovers halted two promising Hudson Falls drives in the second half -- a fumble and then an interception by Greg Girard with 45 seconds left deep in Glens Falls territory to seal victory for the Indians.
Granville 30, Schuylerville 26, Oct. 21, 2000 at Granville: Granville’s Garett Roberts passed for 263 yards and three TDs, including two in the fourth quarter to rally the Golden Horde from a 26-14 deficit. Roberts hit Derek Liebig for 35 yards and Cory Stanton for 80 yards with the go-ahead TD with 2:20 remaining.
Hudson Falls 8, Glens Falls 6, Oct. 28, 2000, Class B sectional semifinal at Hudson Falls: The Tigers avenged their Jug Game loss just two weeks later, as Scott Cronin burst through the line and blocked Brian Parsons' 35-yard field-goal attempt on the game's final play to preserve the win. Trailing 6-0 at halftime, Hudson Falls scored a safety on a blocked punt and got a 24-yard touchdown run from QB Torrey Mayer to take the lead in the third quarter. Glens Falls got a fumble recovery at the Tigers' 31 with 44 seconds to play, setting the stage for the Indians' final shot.
Hudson Falls 20, Ravena 14, Nov. 4, 2000, Class B sectional final at Colonie: The Tigers finally got the Ravena monkey off their back with a hard-fought Section II championship win over the Indians. With the Tigers trailing 14-12, Hudson Falls’ Torrey Mayer intercepted a Ravena pass at his own 12, then Mayer and Matt Rabine powered the Tigers 73 yards to Mayer’s 1-yard go-ahead TD run early in the fourth quarter. Mayer then picked off another Ravena pass with 2:42 remaining to seal the win.
Fort Edward 24, Moriah 22, Nov. 11, 2000, state Class D quarterfinal at Queensbury: Trailing 20-0 at halftime of their state quarterfinal, the Forts rallied behind three Jeff Caprood touchdowns. Caprood’s 66-yard TD run late in the third quarter gave them a 24-20 lead. Moriah outgained the Forts in total yards, 302-115, and ran 14 more offensive plays.
Glens Falls 20, South Glens Falls 14, Sept. 21, 2001 at East Field: The Taylor-to-Naylor connection clicked. A rare close game in a series dominated by Glens Falls saw Indians QB Nick Taylor , flushed out of the pocket and on the run, fire a 17-yard TD pass to a wide-open John Naylor with 7:02 left for a 20-12 lead. South High got a fumble recovery by Adam Belair in Glens Falls territory in the final minutes. The Bulldogs had the ball first-and-goal on the Indians’ 1-yard line, but the Glens Falls defense stuffed them four times, then the Indians conceded a safety on a punt in the final seconds.
Hudson Falls 19, South Glens Falls 15, Sept. 29, 2001 at Hudson Falls: Tigers fullback Brian Howard powered in from one yard out with 15 seconds remaining to lift Hudson Falls to the thrilling win. Four minutes earlier, a fourth-down pass from Chris Matte to Ben Stanton in Tigers territory had kept Hudson Falls’ winning drive alive. South High had taken a 15-12 lead with a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns.
Glens Falls 21, Hudson Falls 20, Oct. 19, 2001 at East Field: This Jug Game featured a goal-line stand by the Indians on Hudson Falls’ two-point conversion attempt with 4:05 remaining. Patrick O’Brien had rushed for three Glens Falls TDs, but the Tigers rallied from a 14-0 deficit, pulling within 21-20 on Matt Cowles’ 17-yard run. However, QB Chris Matte was stuffed on an option sweep by Tom Leary, Kevin Richards and Justin Tougas.
Cambridge 14, Watervliet 12, Nov. 9, 2001, Class C sectional final at Shaker: Shades of 1992 all over again, Cambridge shut down the highest-scoring team in Section II, including star running back Larry Starks, and halted a pair of two-point conversions in the fourth quarter to preserve the Section II championship victory.
* Honorable Mention * -- Lake George 26, Salem 21, Nov. 10, 2001, Class D sectional final at Hudson Falls: This Class D championship game was a memorable back-and-forth game featuring some of the area’s best small-school players. Lake George had lost a pair of close games to undefeated Salem earlier in the season by a total five points, but avenged them with a hard-fought win. A 97-yard kickoff return for a TD by Sean Bolen sparked the Warriors to within 21-20 at the end of the third quarter. Then, Lake George’s Tom Gipson picked off a Tony Yushak pass and returned it to the Salem 29. On the next play, Mike Gipson passed to Dean Spitzer for the go-ahead TD with 5:31 left in the game. The Generals converted a fourth-and-three situation on Yushak’s run, fumble and subsequent recovery for a 4-yard gain by Tom Yushak. However, facing fourth down again in Warriors territory, Tony Yushak’s pass fell incomplete with one minute to play and Lake George ran out the clock.
Hudson Falls 27, Scotia 21, Sept. 13, 2002 at Scotia: Chris Matte’s fourth-down conversion with a minute left led to Lee Robb’s 2-yard TD run with 10 seconds to play, capping an 86-yard drive. Matte had barely converted a fourth-and-5 from the Scotia 27, keeping the drive alive by the nose of the ball. Six plays later, Robb, the backup to injured starter Brian Howard, scored from the 2-yard line.
* Honorable Mention * -- Cambridge 35, Hoosick Falls 32, Sept. 21, 2002 at Cambridge: Brandon Seeley’s 1-yard TD run with 25 seconds to play gave the Indians a thrilling come-from-behind victory. Billed as a battle of top QBs between Cambridge’s Zack Luke and Hoosick Falls’ Chad Wysocki, the Indians trailed 24-13 at halftime but battled back by pounding the Panthers with the 1-2 rushing combo of Seeley and Brian Harrington for a 28-24 lead. Hoosick Falls took a 32-28 lead on Matt Yager’s 2-yard TD run with 9:14 — but the Panthers never saw the ball again until the final seconds. Cambridge embarked on an 18-play drive that lasted nearly nine minutes (including a conversion on fourth-and-four by Harrington at the Indians’ 36), and ended with Seeley’s TD.
Saratoga Springs 14, Niskayuna 12, Sept. 27, 2002 at East Side Rec: Playing in abysmal field conditions -- heavy rain turned the middle of the field into a quagmire -- Saratoga needed just two passes and two big defensive plays to defeat Niskayuna. Bryan Manz recovered a Niskayuna fumble in the opening minute of the game, leading to the Blue Streaks' first TD. Saratoga QB Kelly Donnoe completed only two passes, but both went for scores on a night when the Streaks gained only 115 total yards. Niskayuna used a 54-yard hook-and-lateral by Jon Bisaillion to pull within 14-12 with 1:44 left in regulation, but Manz deflected the two-point conversion pass attempt to preserve the win.
Queensbury 28, Glens Falls 26, Oct. 5, 2002 at Queensbury: In a battle of playoff-bound teams — Glens Falls was the Class A runner-up, Queensbury lost in the Class A semifinals — Glens Falls outgained the Spartans 311 total yards to 170. However, Queensbury got three TDs from hard-running Will Groff, including a momentum-changing 78-yard kickoff return. The Spartans’ special teams also blocked an extra point and broke up a conversion pass and their defense held the Indians on downs twice in the fourth quarter.
Granville 16, Whitehall 12, Oct. 19, 2002, at Granville: The Horde’s Brandon Rathbun scored on a 2-yard plunge on fourth-and-one with 13 seconds left in regulation for a rain-soaked win over Whitehall. Granville had recovered a Railroader fumble at the 11 with 1:28 remaining, and Dan Ehntholt carried three times to set up Rathbun’s winning score.
South Glens Falls 16, Hudson Falls 13, Sept. 6, 2003 at Hudson Falls: South High halted the Tigers’ Brian Howard at the goal line as time expired for its first win over Hudson Falls in five years. The Tigers had first-and-goal at the 3 in the final moments, but the Bulldogs stopped three straight Hudson Falls rushes to seal victory.
Glens Falls 46, Gloversville 34, Sept. 12, 2003 at East Field: When a game features 80 points, 12 touchdowns and nearly 700 yards total offense, it’s certainly memorable. After a 20-20 halftime tie, Glens Falls turned three Gloversville turnovers into a three-TD lead in the second half, 39-20, and the Indians had to hold on for the win. Andrew Parsons’ 50-yard fumble return sparked a second-half scoring blitz for the Indians. The Huskies outgained Glens Falls in total yards, 384-308, and QBs Nick Ambrosino of the Indians and L.B. McCloskey of Gloversville each passed for two TDs.
Fort Edward 22, Warrensburg 14 (2OT), Sept. 20, 2003, at Fort Edward: Flying Forts QB Ian Godfrey led Fort Edward to a thrilling double-OT win despite being pounded by a relentless Warrensburg pass rush. Trailing 6-0 with time running out in regulation, Godfrey led the Forts on a 12-play drive, converting two fourth-down situations, including a fourth-and-4 on a 14-yard TD pass to P.J. Salerno, who made the catch in traffic with 47 seconds left. Both teams scored in the first round of OT for a 14-14 tie, then Mike Johnson gave the Forts the lead on a 20-yd TD run. Brandon Tyler intercepted Warrensburg’s last chance pass in OT to seal the Forts’ win.
Corinth 33, Salem 30, Oct. 18, 2003 at Salem: Corinth qualified for sectionals for the first time in 24 years with a wild victory over Class D power Salem. The Tomahawks blew a 26-8 lead and had to rally for a fourth-quarter score to pull out the win. Jason D’Angelo found Adam Lehan with a 24-yard scoring pass — their third TD connection of the day – with 1:30 left to give Corinth the lead for good. The Generals had rallied for three second-half TDs for a 30-26 lead, capped by Justin Hunt’s 6-yard run with 5:40 to play.
Queensbury 21, Burnt Hills 13, Oct. 25, 2003, Class A sectional quarterfinal at Queensbury: After three frustrating quarters against a tough Burnt Hills team, Queensbury put together its best quarter of football of the season, shutting down Burnt Hills' ground game and scoring three fourth-quarter touchdowns. Trailing 13-0 since halftime, Queensbury got a fourth-down stop to start the fourth quarter, then drove to Joe Whitaker's 5-yard TD run. Two more times the Queensbury defense stuffed Burnt Hills, and twice more Queensbury drove to TD runs, by Chris Bacon and QB Jeff Kaier. Kaier's game-sealing TD came on a fourth-and-1 play that he turned into a 25-yard scoring run with 1:38 left in the game.
Amsterdam 15, Glens Falls 12, Nov. 8, 2003, Class A sectional final at Saratoga Springs: A championship brawl on a frigid night ended when Amsterdam drove 90 yards to Mike Altieri’s 2-yard TD run with five minutes to play. The Indians then turned the ball over twice on an interception and a fumble in the closing minutes to end their comeback hopes. Glens Falls had taken a 12-7 lead on Josh Yagy’s recovery of a bad Rams punt snap that sailed into the end zone in the third quarter.
Glens Falls 21, Hudson Falls 18, Sept. 4, 2004 at Hudson Falls: In what turned out to be the final Jug Game for several seasons, Glens Falls retained the Jug by staying grounded. The Indians piled up 351 total yards and 20 first downs, but had to hold off a late Hudson Falls rally to prevail. The Tigers had led 10-7 at the half, but Glens Falls got TDs from Josh Yagy and Warren Carruthers for a 21-10 lead. The Tigers rallied behind backup QB Sean Winters, who entered in place of injured starter Joe Palmer and led Hudson Falls on a nine-play, 67-yard drive capped when Chris Doody caught a tipped pass from Winters for a 6-yard TD. Winters then found Brad Watkins for the two-point conversion pass to pull the Tigers within 21-18 with 3:42 left in the game. The Indians then ate up most of the clock with their running game, then Rachaud Hill's interception ended the Tigers' final possession.
Schuylerville 26, Mechanicville 20, Sept. 10, 2004 at Schuylerville: Facing fourth-and-five from its own 35 to keep a drive alive with less than four minutes to play, Schuylerville got it all in one run by Phil Jarvis. Jarvis busted loose for a 65-yard TD to give the Black Horses their first win over Mechanicville in 15 years. Schuylerville had trailed 20-18 after Jarvis' 13-yard TD run earlier in the fourth quarter, but the two-point conversion pass failed. Then, the Horses' defense made a huge stop, as Jeff McCrea's sack forced the Red Raiders to punt with 5:26 left. Jarvis also had a 99-yard kickoff return for TD in the game.
Queensbury 21, Glens Falls 20 (OT), Sept. 17, 2004 at East Field: An epic, back-and-forth battle in the slop was left up to the player in the cleanest jersey, Queensbury sophomore Jeff Benway, whose extra-point kick in OT lifted the Spartans to the win. In a rain-soaked game that saw the teams combine for an incredible 16 fumbles (eight in the first quarter alone) and 12 turnovers, it was the last few yards in the muddiest end of the field that proved the difference. Tied at 14-14 since halftime, Glens Falls scored first in OT on Josh Yagy's 8-yard run, but the two-point conversion failed. Queensbury replied three plays later, as fullback Jeremy Chapline barreled 12 yards up the gut to tie the score. Benway's kick gave Queensbury the win. Despite the loss, Glens Falls' Eric Walkup rushed for 200 yards and a TD.
Averill Park 33, Glens Falls 28, Oct. 8, 2004 at East Field: Trailing 21-6 late in the first half, Averill Park scored 27 straight points during an 11-minute span that included a 67-yard TD run by Shawn Fleming, and one very big mental lapse by the Indians in the third quarter. When Kellen Ryan's punt rolled to the Averill Park 1-yard line and no one downed it, the Warriors' Mike Fil picked up the ball and returned it 99 yards for the go-ahead TD. Ryan's TD pass to John Weinhold with 4:48 remaining pulled Glens Falls within five. Ryan also tackled Averill Park's P.J. Overdorf on a busted punt, giving the Indians a final shot from the Warriors' 30, but time ran out.
Mechanicville 30, Greenwich 22, Oct. 23, 2004, Class C sectional quarterfinal at Mechanicville: Scrappy Greenwich battled from a 17-point deficit to pull within one, but could not get over the hump against the potent Red Raiders. Trailing 23-6 in the fourth quarter, the Witches got TDs from Joby Darfler and Josh Jennings, plus both two-point conversions, to close within 23-22 with 3:37 remaining. However, Mechanicville put the game away on Gary Pitcheralle’s third TD of the game with 2:19 left.
* No. 9 Greatest Game* -- Warrensburg 20, Cambridge 14, Nov. 5, 2004, Class D sectional final at Amsterdam. Cambridge's Zack Luke had a brilliant career with the Indians, finishing as Section II’s all-time leading passer, but his final high school pass was picked off at the Burgers’ 10-yard line by Chris Bills with nine seconds remaining, sealing Warrensburg’s upset victory. The Burgers used dominating ball-control offense behind Bobby West and Chris Cameron, including a 19-play, 92-yard scoring drive, to roll up a 20-7 halftime lead. Trailing 20-14, Cambridge took over on its own 20 with 2:12 left in the game. Luke completed six of eight passes on the drive, but Bills ended the Indians’ hopes with his interception.
Ballston Spa 30, Saratoga Springs 27, Sept. 2, 2005 at Ballston Spa: Ballston Spa's Mike Leslie celebrated his 18th birthday by booting the winning field goal with one second remaining to lift the Scotties past neighboring Saratoga. The Scotties turned two interceptions into the game's final 10 points to overtake the Blue Streaks, capped by Leslie's fluttering 27-yard field goal. Saratoga had taken a 27-20 lead in the third quarter on QB Dan McLaughlin's 57-yard TD run with a teammate's fumble. However, the Scotties turned an interception by Vince Gonzales into a 41-yard TD pass from Leslie to Nick Payne to tie the score 27-27 with 1:54 left in regulation. Less than 50 seconds later, James Cooper picked off a pass and returned it 47 yards to the Saratoga 15. On fourth down, Leslie kicked the winning field goal. Payne scored all four Ballston Spa TDs, two rushing and two receiving, both from Leslie.
Hoosick Falls 24, Lake George 22, Sept. 9, 2005 at Hoosick Falls: Hoosick Falls' Mike Schmigel kicked three field goals, including the 28-yard game-winner with 2:52 left in the game to lift the Panthers to the win. Wes Carr had given the Warriors a 22-21 lead midway through the fourth quarter on a 24-yard TD run and the two-point conversion.
Granville 20, Greenwich 18, Sept. 10, 2005 at Granville: A back-and-forth fourth quarter highlighted a hard-fought Class C North clash. With the score tied at 12-12 since halftime, Granville took a 14-12 lead when Joe Frandino tackled the Witches' Vinny Monks for a safety with 2:07 left in regulation. After the free kick, the Golden Horde extended its lead to 20-12 on Tom Jackson's 44-yard TD over right tackle. However, Greenwich drove right down the field behind the pitch-and-catch combination of Mike Schreiner and Ryan Niles, with their last hookup an 18-yard scoring pass with 14 seconds remaining. However, Schreiner's pass attempt on the two-point conversion was batted down by Mike Jones to preserve Granville's victory.
Glens Falls 26, Queensbury 21, Sept. 24, 2005 at Queensbury: Glens Falls’ defensive stand halted the Spartans in the final minute, making Matt Salem’s 7-yard run with 1:15 left stand as the winning score. The Indians had led 20-8 at halftime, but Queensbury rallied for a 21-20 lead on Jeff Benway’s 22-yard TD run with 4:35 to go. Earlier in the game, Glens Falls' Jimmer Fredette returned a blocked punt by teammate Denny Wilhelm 20 yards for a TD, part of the Indians' strong first half.
Glens Falls 33, Amsterdam 27, Oct. 7, 2005 at East Field: In an offensive shootout, Glens Falls star Jimmer Fredette scored three TDs and racked up more than 300 all-purpose yards. Denny Wilhelm broke up a fourth-down pass by Amsterdam’s T.J. Czeski with 44 seconds remaining to seal the Indians’ stunning upset of the state-championship bound Rugged Rams. Glens Falls led 27-20 at halftime after a wild second-quarter scoring spree. Amsterdam pulled into a 27-27 tie in the third quarter, but the Indians drove 68 yards in 12 plays to Matt Salem’s go-ahead 3-yard TD run. Fredette caught seven passes for 187 yards and two scores, and returned the opening kickoff 87 yards for a TD.
* No. 8A Greatest Game * -- Glens Falls 32, Gloversville 30, Oct. 14, 2005 at East Field: A back-and-forth game in driving rain and mud resulted in a division title for Glens Falls. Facing a fourth-and-20, Glens Falls’ Alec Conover caught a 20-yard pass from Denny Wilhelm at the 1-yard line, setting up Wilhelm’s scoring plunge on the next play to pull the Indians into a 30-30 tie with 44 seconds left. Then, Glens Falls faked the PAT kick, with Wilhelm passing to a wide-open Jimmer Fredette for the decisive two-point conversion.
Schuylerville 14, Hoosick Falls 6, Nov. 4, 2005, Class C sectional final at Saratoga Springs: Five weeks after Hoosick Falls' Jason Poore snatched away Schuylerville's chance at victory, the Black Horses' Ben Zarzycki returned the favor in the Section II championship game. Zarzycki's leaping end-zone interception in front of the 6-foot-5 Poore changed the game's momentum as Schuylerville held on for its second straight Section II crown. Zac Kozersky rushed for 134 yards and a TD that gave the Horses a 14-6 lead the held up after Zarzycki's INT with 5:30 left in regulation. Poore was later stopped short on a fourth-down screen pass and Schuylerville ran out the clock. The win avenged the Horses' 13-7 overtime loss to Hoosick Falls in a clash of unbeatens on Sept. 30. In OT, Poore had made a leaping catch of a 9-yard scoring pass from Chris Bartolotta, then sealed the win with a game-ending interception.
Cambridge 14, Salem 7, Nov. 5, 2005, Class D sectional final at Hudson Falls: While Cambridge had shut down Salem for most of their Section II title game, the Generals put a big scare into the Carrier Dome-bound Indians in the final minute. Trailing 14-0, Matt Flanagan hit Brad Mattison with a 50-yard TD pass with 35 seconds left, then Alex Farrara recovered the onsides kick for Salem. The Generals moved the ball to the Cambridge 19, but Flanagan's final two passes fell incomplete as time ran out, as Cambridge avenged a 20-14 loss to Salem in Week 2.
Cambridge 27, Ticonderoga 20, Nov. 12, 2005, state Class D quarterfinal at Peru: Cambridge's Sam Luke rushed for 218 yards and two TDs, including the go-ahead score on a 7-yard run with 3:31 left. On the next play, Luke made a diving interception to preserve victory. The back-and-forth game saw Ti's Doug MacAlpine score on runs of 32 and 46 yards to pull the Sentinels even twice, at 13-13 and 20-20 in the second half.
Salem 35, Greenwich 34 (2OT), Sept. 8, 2006 at Greenwich: Trailing 28-14 in the fourth quarter, Salem rallied behind rushing TDs by Brad Mattison and Jamie Allen, then broke up a Greenwich pass at the 1-yard line as time expired in regulation. Tied at 28-28, neither team scored in the first OT — the Witches blocked Jeremy Gillis’ 20-yard field goal attempt. However, in the second OT, the Generals’ Alex Farrara scored from 4 yards out and Gillis kicked the PAT for a 35-28 edge. Witches QB Mike Schreiner, who passed for 319 yards and four TDs in the loss, scored on a 6-yard keeper, but Greenwich’s PAT attempt was wide right to seal Salem’s win.
Hudson Falls 26, Fonda 25, Sept. 16, 2006 at Fonda: The Tigers rallied from a 19-0 deficit to pull out a thriller on the road, as sophomore RB Joe McMurry rushed for 135 yards and all four Hudson Falls TDs. Fonda QB Josh Nethaway had staked the Braves to the lead with three TD passes, all to Kevin Hanson, as he passed for 354 yards on the day. McMurry brought the Tigers back as they capitalized on three Fonda fumbles and a blocked punt to seize a 26-19 lead by the fourth quarter. The Braves failed on a late PAT attempt that would have tied the score.
Salem 21, Fort Edward 14, Sept. 30, 2006 at Salem: A goal-line stand early in the fourth quarter made Alex Farrara’s 16-yard third-quarter TD run stand up as the winning score. The Generals halted Fort Edward on four tries from inside the 5-yard line, with Farrara making the plays on two of those stops, then ran out the clock with a long drive. Salem had also stopped the Forts just before halftime, preserving a 14-14 tie.
Glens Falls 22, Amsterdam 21, Oct. 8, 2006 at Amsterdam: Trailing 21-14, the Indians drove 71 yards for a TD on Denny Wilhelm’s 2-yard QB sneak on fourth-and-goal with 11 seconds remaining. Wilhelm ran the same play for the winning two-point conversion.
Fort Edward 16, Salem 10, Nov. 4, 2006, Class D sectional championship at Hudson Falls: Fort Edward ripped a page from Salem's blueprint by playing more physical than the Generals, using ball control and tough defense. In avenging their Sept. 30 loss at Salem, the Flying Forts rallied from a 10-0 second-quarter deficit, capped by Ryan Carpenter's 1-yard scoring run midway through the third quarter. Carpenter set up the TD with a 35-yard strike to his brother, Tyler, on the play before. Fort Edward then halted Salem's final five posessions on two interceptions, a fumble, a punt and on downs. The Forts had to overcome four of their own fumbles in the first half.
Ticonderoga 34, Fort Edward 28, Nov. 11, 2006, state Class D quarterfinal at Hudson Falls: The Sentinels reached their first-ever state semifinal with a wild, hard-fought win over Fort Edward, seizing a 34-22 lead on long TD runs by James Lenhart and Billy James in the first 5:41 of the third quarter. The Flying Forts closed within six points on Ryan Carpenter’s 6-yard scoring pass to a leaping Matt Thibodeau late in the third. However, the Forts’ final drive for a tying score expired when they came up short on fourth down at midfield with five minutes to play. In the first half, Ti had opened a 21-8 lead on a flea-flicker TD pass from Steve Burris to Ben Van Wert and a 55-yard fumble return by Shawn Ross. The Forts took a 22-21 lead into halftime on a pair of Tyler Carpenter touchdowns. Ryan Carpenter passed for 307 yards and two TDs, while Lenhart and James combined for 260 yards rushing for Ti.
Tuckahoe 22, Ticonderoga 19, Nov. 17, 2006, state Class D semifinal at Dietz Stadium, Kingston: Tuckahoe pulled out a thriller of a state semifinal when QB Joseph Melendez scampered inside the goal-line pylon for a 3-yard TD run with 43 seconds remaining. The score capped the Tigers' rally from a 19-0 third-quarter deficit, after the Sentinels had dominated the first three quarters. Trailing 19-14 in the final minutes, Tuckahoe was halted on three straight plays inside the Ticonderoga 5-yard line. However, on fourth-and-goal, Melendez ran a bootleg left and barely beat a defender to the end zone for the go-ahead score. Billy James rushed for a game-high 119 yards and two TDs for Ti.
Greenwich 20, Stillwater 14, Sept. 1, 2007 at Stillwater: Greenwich's Ryan Robertson made a diving catch of a 17-yard TD pass from Ethan Bain as time expired to snap a 14-14 tie and lift the Witches to the win. Stillwater had turned the ball over in its own end with 1:28 remaining on a bad punt snap, giving Greenwich the ball on the Warriors' 20.
Tupper Lake 22, Ticonderoga 21 (OT), Sept. 6, 2007 at Ticonderoga: The Sentinels had rallied to tie the score at 14-14 on Steven Lenhart's second TD run of the night with 1:23 left in regulation. In OT, Ti's Josh Huestis scored from 5 yards out and Matt Streeter booted the extra point. However, Logan Klossner's 4-yard TD and two-point conversion run gave the Lumberjacks the dramatic win.
Albany 27, Queensbury 24, Oct. 6, 2007 at Queensbury: A furious Queensbury rally ended in frustration when Albany's Kadeem Hermitt returned a kickoff 63 yards to set up Joshua Gordon's go-ahead 15-yard TD run with 1:09 remaining, Gordon's third TD of the day. The Spartans had taken a 24-20 lead one minute earlier on Jared Myhrberg's 24-yard TD run, capping a three-touchdown fourth-quarter rally. Queensbury had trailed 20-6 entering the final period, but got consecutive TD runs from Ryan Woodard, Dominic Marino and Myhrberg to take the lead.
Hoosick Falls 36, Greenwich 28, Oct. 12, 2007 at Greenwich: In a battle for the final Class C North playoff berth, Hoosick Falls' Andrew Morin picked off Ethan Bain's last-second pass to the end zone, preserving the Panthers' victory. The teams had traded big plays all night, including TD runs of 74 and 52 yards by Hoosick Falls QB Kevin Woods, and a 48-yard scoring run by the Witches' Dylan Stout. Stout also caught a pair of TD pass from Bain, and Woods fired a 55-yard scoring pass to Jeremy Burns in a back-and-forth first half. Trailing 29-14 after Woods' 36-yard TD pass to Kevin McMahon, Bain returned the ensuing kickoff 85 yards for a TD, then passed 27 yards to Stout to pull the Witches within 29-28 midway through the fourth quarter. Dan Okerman tore up the middle for a 21-yard TD run and a 36-28 Panthers lead with 1:42 remaining, setting the stage for Greenwich's final drive.
South Glens Falls 38, Queensbury 31, Oct. 20, 2007 at South Glens Falls: The Bulldogs pulled out a thriller over Queensbury as Brandon Hunsdon reeled in a 14-yard TD pass from Zach Coffinger with 21 seconds remaining. The Spartans had rallied from a 30-12 halftime deficit to seize a 31-30 lead as Joe Turck turned a short pass from Andrew Kaier into a 79-yard scoring play with two minutes remaining. Coffinger was a workhorse for South High, rushing for 137 yards and two touchdowns and completing 10 of 12 passes for 119 yards and two more scores.
Cambridge 2, Chatham 0, Oct. 27, 2007, Class C semifinal at Cambridge: Playing in a game-long downpour that reduced the Indians’ home field to ankle-deep muck, the only points of the game were scored on a safety with 2:31 remaining. Pinned at his own 2-yard line by an Abe Andrew punt, Chatham QB Zack Kraham, one of Section II’s best, fumbled the ball into his own end zone. Unwilling to give up a TD, Kraham shoveled the ball out the back of the end zone for a Cambridge safety. In a day-long battle of field position, the Indians finished on top, despite missing a TD opportunity in the third quarter. In the final minute, another Andrew punt pinned Chatham deep, and Kraham’s final high school pass was picked off at the Panthers’ 32 by Cameron Herrington to seal Cambridge’s win over favored Chatham.
Cambridge 21, Schuylerville 20, Nov. 2, 2007, Class C sectional final at Saratoga: In a tale of two completely different halves, Schuylerville dominated the first, opening a 20-0 lead, but Cambridge rallied in the second, taking the lead with under four minutes left and preserving it with tough defense. QB Shea Bromirski ran 4 yards for the final TD and freshman kicker Matt Best snuck the PAT kick over the crossbar to give Cambridge a 21-20 lead with 3:43 remaining. Schuylerville’s final drive stalled inside the Cambridge 30, and on fourth-and-10, John Iseman sacked Black Horses QB Austin Bateman to seal victory with 40 seconds to play.
Hudson Falls 42, Cambridge 28, Oct. 4, 2008, at Hudson Falls: Sheer talent won, but heart did not go down without a fight. In their first gridiron meeting since 1932, this non-league clash between Class B and C powers saw Hudson Falls jump out to a 21-0 lead -- on just eight plays — in the first 7:29 of the game before the Indians rallied within 21-14 before the end of the first quarter, and 35-21 and threatening just before the half. The Tigers racked up 500 yards total offense behind tailback Joe McMurry’s 235 rushing yards and 4 TDs. However, Cambridge countered with 435 total yards, led by Kyle Parmenter’s 204 passing yards and Alex Bell’s 174 yards on the ground. Though the Indians did not seriously threaten to close the gap, Hudson Falls had to play its starters to the end.
* No. 10 Greatest Game * -- Lake George 23, Rensselaer 22, Oct. 17, 2008 at Lake George. Lake George kept its undefeated season going with a skin-of-its-teeth victory, as J.D. DeWaard’s touchdown-saving tackle at the Warriors’ 3-yard line preserved the win as time ran out. The Rams took a 22-15 lead with 1:30 left, but Lake George came right back. On fourth-and-11, the Warriors scored on a 23-yard hook-and-lateral — DeWaard passed to Joe Robertson, who pitched to Caleb Meroski, who took it to the house with 17 seconds left. DeWaard then passed to Jake Nelson for the go-ahead two-point conversion.
* No. 8 Greatest Game * -- Glens Falls 35, Gloversville 34, Oct. 18, 2008 at Glens Falls: Glens Falls pulled out a victory on a final desperate play. The Indians trailed 34-27 and faced fourth-and-10 from their own 31 with time running down. Kyle Kelly hit Steve O’Sick over the middle on a hitch-and-go route for a 69-yard TD play with nine seconds to play. Dan Morrison plunged in for the two-point conversion that gave Glens Falls the victory. The teams combined for five TDs in the fourth quarter, four in the final five minutes. Gloversville scored its go-ahead TD with 1:30 remaining.
La Salle 41, Saratoga Springs 39, Oct. 31, 2008, Class AA sectional semifinal at Saratoga: The Blue Streaks rolled out to a 26-0 lead, but La Salle roared back into the game, and capped a 99-yard drive with Mike Blais’ touchdown catch with 11 seconds left in regulation. Saratoga led 26-14 at halftime after the Cadets scored twice in the final 1:37 of the half, the second TD with one second left that was set up by a blocked field goal. Leading 39-35 with less than five minutes to play, Saratoga appeared in position to put the game away, but Marquis Terrell recovered a fumble at the Cadets’ 1 and they drove for the winning score, a 7-yard scoring pass from Mike Murray (17-for-21 pass for 337 yards) to Blais. The loss overshadowed a monster game by the Streaks’ Leejay Pollacchi, who rushed for 319 yards and four TDs.
Hudson Falls 28, Cohoes 21, Nov. 1, 2008, Class B semifinal at Cohoes: Hudson Falls’ incomparable Joe McMurry — one of the all-time leading rushers in Section II history — had to fight for every one of his 183 yards on 41 carries. But it was his teammates who came up with the biggest plays as the Tigers continued their march to the state semis. Hudson Falls needed every one of those plays to stay ahead of Cohoes, which kept pulling within a touchdown behind Steve Weaver and his 207 rushing yards. Bret Mellon and Isaiah Thomas hooked up twice on TD passes, including an acrobatic leaping catch by Thomas just before halftime. Cohoes pulled within 28-21 with 3:20 to play, and Hudson Falls got a huge 35-yard option pass from Tom Hammond to Josh Canini on third-and-long to keep its final drive alive, allowing Hudson Falls to run the clock down. McMurry’s interception on the game’s final play sealed the victory.
Corinth 33, Schuylerville 28, Sept. 18, 2009 at Schuylerville: The Tomahawks scored two TDs in the fourth quarter to pull out a wild win, their first over Schuylerville in 10 years. Eric Jensen scored on a tipped pass from Jordon Charbonneau, and Clint Dumoulin’s recovery of a muffed punt led to Evan Armstrong’s go-ahead TD run with 5:04 left in the game. Corinth’s defense sealed the win by sacking Black Horses QB Austin Bateman twice down the stretch. The back-and-forth game saw the Horses take a 28-21 lead with 10:50 left in the game on Bateman’s 21-yard TD pass to Steve Backus.
Hoosick Falls 21, Cambridge 19, Oct. 9, 2009 at Hoosick Falls: The Panthers turned Cambridge into a one-dimensional passing team — they held the Indians to 4 yards rushing for the game -- but still had to hang on in the final seconds. The Indians’ Kyle Parmenter passed for 307 yards and a touchdown, but his final pass fell incomplete as time ran out, moments after he had completed a 34-yard pass to Jesse Lybert on fourth-and-30. Cambridge had pulled within two late in the third quarter, but Parmenter’s two-point conversion pass was picked off by Kevin McMahon.
Salem 21, Whitehall 20, Oct. 17, 2009 at Whitehall: Whitehall came agonizingly close to snapping its 17-game losing streak (they broke it the following week), but Salem caught the Railroaders at the end. Kyle McKeighan caught a 5-yard TD pass from Austin Eastman on fourth-and-goal with 22 seconds left, and Pat Wilson’s extra-point kick lifted the Generals to the win.
Saratoga Catholic 17, Lake George 14, Oct. 23, 2009, Class D quarterfinal at Lake George: Beaten 32-0 by the same Lake George squad two weeks earlier, no one gave the Saints a chance. But all the breaks seemed to go Spa Catholic’s way as it capped its second season of football after a 20-year lapse with an unlikely victory. Tim Pompa kicked a 21-yard field goal as time expired to lift the Saints to the thrilling win. The Warriors were banged up coming in and lost leading rusher Caleb Meroski to an ankle injury. Spa Catholic jumped out to a 14-0 lead, capitalizing on two Lake George fumbles, and held on when the Warriors rallied to tie. Jack Keller stopped a two-point conversion, and later, Keller turned a short pass from Dylan Anderson into a 50-yard gain with 33 seconds left to set up Pompa’s winning kick.
Granville 29, Fonda 14, Oct. 24, 2009, Class C quarterfinal at Fonda: Granville won its first Section II playoff game in sloppy conditions perfect for the Golden Horde’s grind-it-out attack, as heavy rain reduced John G. Boshart Field to a quagmire. The 1-2 combo of Jayson Osborne and Codi Scribner pummeled Fonda all day, including on an epic 10-minute third-quarter scoring drive that was capped by Jamie Hicks on a 2-yard QB sneak, snapping a 14-14 halftime tie. Leading 22-14 with 8:19 left in the game, Granville came up with a goal-line stand, as Walter Foster crashed through the line and nailed Braves RB Blake Hart behind the line on fourth-and-goal. That was Fonda’s final threat, and the Horde sealed the win on Osborne’s 33-yard TD minutes later. Osborne and Scribner combined for 244 yards rushing on the day.
New Rochelle 28, Saratoga Springs 21, Nov. 21, 2009, state Class AA semifinal at Kingston: Section I's New Rochelle had dominated its opposition all season, but the underdog Blue Streaks put the biggest scare of the season into the Huguenots. Saratoga led for more than three quarters before New Rochelle rallied with three TDs in the final nine minutes. Then, trailing 28-14 with 37 seconds to play, Saratoga’s Luke Fauler hit Joey Moore with a 25-yard TD pass, and the Streaks got the ball back on the onsides kick. However, Fauler’s last pass was intercepted by New Ro’s Jonny McGhee to end the game.
Hope you all enjoyed the trip down memory lane! The season starts in less than two months!