GLENS FALLS — The Glens Falls Indians learned something about themselves Saturday afternoon.
In an old-fashioned, knock-down, drag-out slugfest of a football game, the undefeated Indians prevailed 10-6 over neighboring Queensbury in a non-league victory.
Glens Falls held on at the end, getting huge defensive stops from Connor Girard and Dakota Trombley in the final minute to halt the Spartans’ desperate final drive and seal the Indians’ 18th consecutive win.
“(It shows) that we have grit, that we’re a tough team,” junior linebacker Kyle Vachon said. “We might not be like the superstar team we were last year, but we’re sure as heck going to play like it.”
“We learned that our defense is tough and we can compete with anybody,” junior quarterback/safety Joseph Girard III said. “No matter who the team is, we’re going to play tough.”
Added senior Aaron Sampson: “When it gets tough, we ain’t going nowhere.”
In a throwback to Foothills Council games of old, the onetime rivals — playing for the first time in six years — engaged in a furious physical battle up and down Putt LaMay Memorial Field. The defenses canceled out each other’s offenses for most of the game.
“We knew going in it was going to be tough — a rivalry itself always brings a good game,” said Joseph Girard, who was sacked four times by the Spartans and threw an interception, but he picked off two passes himself on defense.
“I think the biggest positive is it gives us confidence that when we get in those physical games where you have to dig down, you can find something,” said Indians head coach Pat Lilac, whose 5-0 team is ranked No. 1 in the state in Class B. “Being resilient, I think, is the big takeaway. We’re going to need it next week, because Schuylerville brings its own unique set of problems next week.”
Queensbury came away disappointed, but focused on next week’s key Class A clash with Averill Park.
“(It was a) very close game, exactly what we expected, we just came out on the losing end of it,” Queensbury head coach Matt Crossman said. “Our goal is still to make it to the sectional finals, and it helps if we win (against Averill Park) — it puts us in the driver’s seat for a home playoff game.”
Freshman Aalijah Sampson gave Glens Falls the lead for good when he broke outside and scampered 43 yards down the right sideline for the Indians’ only touchdown with 9:32 left in the third quarter.
“I turned the corner and I saw a block, I took it and just ran straightaway down the field,” said Aalijah Sampson, who was sprung by blocks from his brother, Aaron, and Justin Holness.
“Queensbury had a really good plan of not letting Joe get out of the pocket and do his thing,” Lilac said. “We just made a blocking adjustment in the second half and we were able to get the edge a little bit, and that turned into our only touchdown.”
After that, the Indians’ defense ground Class A Queensbury (3-2) to a halt on the Spartans’ next four possessions, forcing two punts and two turnovers on downs.
Glens Falls burned five minutes of the fourth quarter using the legs of Joseph Girard and Aaron Sampson, but an interception by Liam O’Mara gave Queensbury the ball with three minutes to play.
The Spartans drove from their own 37 to the Glens Falls 40, but Connor Girard sacked Queensbury quarterback Nate Angell on second and long. With no timeouts, Angell had to spike the ball to stop the clock, and on fourth down, Trombley upended Nico Mattia short of a first down with six seconds left.
“This team is unbelievable,” said Connor Girard, a junior linebacker. “Our work paid off, we all swarmed the ball today.”
Glens Falls scored its first points on a Sam Hogan 33-yard field goal in the opening quarter, but the Spartans took a 6-3 lead early in the second period, when Angell found Mattia wide open in the end zone for a 19-yard touchdown pass.
“We definitely have to work on our offense a little, because six points isn’t really acceptable,” Queensbury senior Patrick Conway said. “But I’m proud of the way the defense handled them today — that’s a team that’s putting up 40 points a game.”
Glens Falls 10, Queensbury 6
Queensbury (3-2) 0 6 0 0 — 6
Glens Falls (5-0) 3 0 7 0 — 10
GF — FG Hogan 33, 6:35
Qby — Mattia 19 pass from Angell (run failed), 9:17
GF — Aal. Sampson 43 run (Hogan kick), 9:32
RUSHING — Queensbury: Scott 17-73, Nassivera 9-42, Conway 12-40, Mattia 8-20, Angell 5-13, Guido 2-4, O’Mara 1-2. Glens Falls: Aar. Sampson 13-55, Aal. Sampson 4-46 1TD, J.Girard 7-(-13).
PASSING — Queensbury: Angell 4-10-2, 35 yards, 1TD. Glens Falls: J.Girard 8-16-1, 82 yards.
RECEIVING — Queensbury: Mattia 2-16 1TD, Farah 1-11, O’Mara 1-8. Glens Falls: Q.Girard 4-50, Aal.Sampson 2-17, Aar.Sampson 2-15.