HUDSON FALLS — Something is on fire and Saturday that flame kept burning.
Schuylerville traveled to Hudson Falls for a Class B North matchup and left just as hot as it entered, beating the Tigers 48-24 and earning its fourth straight win.
Not only was second place in league standings on the line, but more importantly, the Black Horses secured a first-round home playoff game come sectionals.
Coach John Bowen and his staff can thank the sound decision-making of quarterback Stratton Sherman and the 224 yards rushing of fullback Paul Harshbarger for capturing what Bowen called an “ugly but effective win.”
Harshbarger scored three total touchdowns and threw a two-point conversion. Sherman added three touchdowns, maintaining Schuylerville’s red-hot status.
“This was the first team we’ve played in four games that had at least one loss,” Bowen said. “Do the math. We have played a 2-0 team then a 3-0, then 4-0 and now a 4-1. And the two teams we lost to are a combined 11-1.
“So the entirety of our schedule, we have been playing teams that have been hot,” he added. “If you would’ve asked me back in August, I was not necessarily ecstatic about our schedule. But in hindsight, I kind of like playing against the better teams. It has helped improve our team overall.”
Hudson Falls came ready for the Black Horses’ fastball.
After Schuylerville (2-1, 4-2) struck on a 26-yard first-quarter Harshburger touchdown catch from Sherman, Hudson Falls quarterback Caleb Condon responded with a 63-yard pass to Connor Hermanson.
Junior tailback Riley Maddison scored from 5 yards out, capping the two-play equalizing drive.
Hermanson was an issue all game, totaling 236 yards receiving and three touchdowns on 11 catches.
But every time the Tigers broke a play, Schuylerville popped a bigger one.
At half, the Horses led 28-12, but Hudson Falls left some points on the field, failing to capitalize on a Sherman interception before time expired.
“It was a good punch, counter-punch, type of back-and-forth between both teams,” Bowen said. “It was a good little chess match going on. Fortunately, we were able to pull away from that foot race on the scoreboard.
“They did a great job of closing out that half and putting us on our heels at halftime.”
Hudson Falls (2-2, 4-2) kept its one score per quarter pace in the second half, but the Horses’ offense is simply scoring faster. Harshbarger popped two runs of 25 yards or more and Jacob Vanderhoof added two fourth-quarter touchdowns to seal it.
As playoff football looms, Sherman and the Horses were determined to secure a first-round home game. Now that they have, it’ll be up to some unfortunate team to try to put out the fire at Schuylerville in about two weeks.
“It’s an amazing feeling to play under those lights there,” Sherman said. “We bring in an amazing student section and we earned that home game today.”