There was plenty of success on the high school gridiron for the local football teams.
Six of the seven local teams - Gloversville, Amsterdam, Broadalbin-Perth, Fonda-Fultonville, Canajoharie and Dolgeville - came out on the positive side of the scoreboard.
Even though the Johnstown Sir Bills fell 19-7 to Cobleskill-Richmondville in their return to varsity-level play, they did put the first points on the board against the Bulldogs and came up with some big defensive stops after Matt Szurek finished off a 5-yard touchdown run.
"When the team came in, [they] were excited and had a good feeling about it [scoring first]," Johnstown coach Matt Benton said. "They are a much different team this year when it comes to being excited about being in a game. They don't rely on the coaches to fire them up. Our seniors are really starting to fire them up. They are confident, which we want them to be. Scoring points and them stopping them defensively, those are key. We stopped them three times inside their 15-yard line. The defense really did a pretty good job, but it still comes down to playing four quarters of football. There were times when we had some opportunities but had some breakdowns, but we did a lot more good things than bad things. Late in the game, we were still able to move the ball, but we have guys going both ways and we were tired."
The Sir Bills (0-1) will play their first varsity game at Knox Field in almost a year. They last played a varsity game at Knox Field on Sept. 14, 2012, a 6-0 loss to Tamarac. The following week, the team opted to forfeit the remaining four games in the season due to an injury-depleted lineup that dropped below 16 players.
"I think they are antsy and anxious to get out there," Benton said. "There is a reason why I have kept them off that field as much as I could in the preseason. You have got to want to be excited about playing in beautiful Knox Stadium."
The Sir Bills will be looking for a little support from their fans.
"It is little league football night, so a lot of the younger football players will be there," Benton said. "We always seem to get that extra boost from them. It seems every time we get the little kids down there, our guys get fired up."
The emotion and excitement of the local rivalry is not being taken lightly by Broadalbin-Perth coach Jim Pelneau.
"I think that we will have to weather that storm early on," Pelneau said. "We talked about that. We have not played there in quite some time and we know we need to play our game and not get caught up in the emotions of what they are feeling."
at Johnstown (0-1)
Today, 7 p.m.
The Patriots are coming off a gutsy 19-12 Class B West victory over Scotia-Glenville.
Junior Zach Morreale celebrated his first start under center for the Patriots with a 118-yard passing game and carried the ball 20 yards for a second-quarter touchdown.
While the offense came through with a fourth-quarter score, the Patriots defense stood out in the final minutes with Jake Coveney and Tyler Schmidt coming up with big plays to stop the Tartans.
"The positives definitely outweighed the negatives. Anytime you win in Class B in our league, it is a positive," Pelneau said. "I was happy with the effort overall and the character the kids showed to keep competing down the stretch, especially in the fourth quarter when we needed to and put the game away. We definitely need to work on finishing drives. Early on, we had three or four opportunities to put some points on the board and we didn't execute well enough. We need to make sure that when we get down there, we finish it off."
The Sir Bills participated in a pre-season scrimmage with the Patriots and are aware of their capabilities.
"We have prepared as much as we can," Benton said. "They have speed and strength, so it is going to be assignment football. We need to be able to make the reads offensively and defensively as well. We need to be able to move the football. But most important is how our special teams rebound from last week. We have been working on our kickoff and punt teams especially. We need to have consistency on the field. Football is a game of inches, and if you give a team an inch they will take a yard. Broadalbin-Perth is the kind of team that if you give them an inch, they will end up taking 10 to 15 yards. We have to be on our game."
The Sir Bills will look to Szurek, who threw for 64 yards and carried the ball 11 times for 74 yards and a touchdown against Cobleskill-Richmondville. Adam Caputo added 33 rushing yards on nine carries while Ryan Auty picked up 24 yards on seven carries. Caputo also had eight solo tackles on defense.
"They were very spirited in practices this week," Pelneau said. "Playing Johnstown helps out a little bit helping us stay up because it is a local rivalry."
at Ichabod Crane (0-1)
Today, 7 p.m.
The Huskies and Riders were scheduled to play Thursday night, but the game was postponed to tonight due to inclement weather.
at Amsterdam (1-0)
Today, 4:30 p.m.
The Rams come into today's matchup after winning an offensive shootout against the Averill Park Warriors.
Amsterdam starting quarterback Julian Gallup scored four touchdowns and completed 12 of 17 passes for 245 yards in the 56-44 victory.
However, Coach Doug Edick said the Rams went back to work in practice this week to smooth out their game, especially on defense.
"We are a work in progress," he said. "Both defenses did not play well last Friday, and Julian played a great game for us. The team has been working hard and will be ready for [tonight]."
Mohonasen got off to a slow start last week, falling to Gloversville 40-0 in their home opener.
at Canajoharie (1-0)
Today, 7 p.m.
The Cougars played four tough quarters and then some to pull out a 20-14 victory over Warrensburg.
Canajoharie rallied in the fourth quarter with a 65-yard touchdown run from Dillon Veeder and a point-after kick from Jordan Griswold to send the game into overtime.
Senior captain Tyler Belmonte came through in overtime to stop Warrensburg's quarterback on a fourth-and-one, setting up the game-winning drive that ended with Jace Fox connecting with Veeder on a 13-yard touchdown pass.
"They played four-plus quarters of football, and they played hard the whole time," Canajoharie coach Ken Sullivan said. "It was a grueling game and they played right to the end. When push came to shove, our defense stepped up and stopped them on fourth and one."
Unfortunately, the Cougars will be without a big component in their offensive line for the remainder of the season.
"We lost our starting left tackle Sam Deacon (6'3"/255) with a torn ACL, so he is done for the year, and that leaves a big hole in our offensive line," Sullivan said. "Zach Folts has an ankle sprain, and he is day-to-day. But other than that, we came out of the game healthy."
Going into the season, Sullivan knew one area the Cougars needed to work on was the backfield.
"We need to work more on our running game, but we knew that going into the season," Sullivan said. "I thought Jace Fox did an outstanding job as a sophomore starting his first varsity game. To throw a game-winning touchdown pass in your first varsity game is an accomplishment, and I am happy for him."
While the Cougars work out the kinks in their running game, Whitehall has one that will present a challenge for the Canajoharie defense.
"They have a balanced offense. Justin Hoagland runs the ball well and they like to pound the ball behind an unbalanced line. They are very aggressive, and against Hoosic Valley they had eight guys or nine guys in the box."
at Taconic Hills (0-1)
Today, 7 p.m.
The Braves set the tone early in last Saturday's season-opener against Voorheesville.
After holding the Blackbirds to a three-and-out, the Braves took over and Pat Hart took Fonda-Fultonville's first play from scrimmage 61 yards to the end zone.
The Braves never looked back as they romped to a 49-12 victory.
"I though our quarterback Russ Williams had a very good game," Fonda-Fultonville coach Tom Carpenter said. "He threw the ball well and made the adjustments at the line. We have gone to using a little more two-back stuff. The offense fits the personnel we have this year. We had a lot of guys have good games, and I think overall we did a good job."
Williams finished the game passing for three touchdowns, two of which were hauled in by Brandon Baker and the third by Will turner.
Now the Braves switch from a bright sunny Saturday afternoon in the Mohawk Valley to playing under the lights at Taconic Hills High School.
"They are always a physical team," Carpenter said. "They have a big back [Anthony Chicaiza] they always try to get the ball to ... he is a force. They run a spread, and the quarterback [Justin Doty] is a tall kid who throws the ball well. They are always a physical team, so we will have to come ready to play."
The Titans did not have much success in their season-opener as they fell to Chatham, 69-8.
at Herkimer (1-0)
Today, 7 p.m.
The Dolgeville Blue Devils rolled to a 42-11 Section III Class D East victory over Morrisville-Easton/Hamilton giving Dan Zilkowski his first win as Dolgeville head coach.
Tonight they will face a new challenge when they travel to take on the Magicians of Herkimer High School.
Herkimer, which captured the last two Class C and C-2 crowns, have dropped into the Class D competition this year and shut out West Canada Valley 19-0 in its Class D debut.
The major contributor to the Magicians' performance came from All-State senior quarterback Austin Mills, who ran for two touchdowns and threw for a third. He carried the ball 16 times in the game for 91 yards.
Opposing defenses cannot focus on just one player when the Blue Devils are on offense, as Jason Nastovski, Devin Coonradt and Johann Doerrer proved last week by scored two touchdowns apiece.
That will work to Dolgeville's benefit as the Herkimer defense was flagged 12 times last week for 105 yards.