JOHNSTOWN - With nothing but Class B West Division games on their regular schedule, the Broadalbin-Perth Patriots know getting off to a strong start to the season is essential.
Friday night, the Patriots battled a much improved Johnstown Sir Bills squad in their emotional return to Knox Field and came away with a hard-fought 23-0 victory.
"That is huge," coach Jim Pelneau said of the Patriots' 2-0 start. "Every game we play is a division game this year. We just need to keep winning in our division. Our goal is to get into the top four to make it to sectionals. But you want to win every one of them."
Broadalbin-Perth's Russell Dickson (40) and Tyler Schmidt wrap up Johnstown running back Ryan Auty (4) during Class B West division action Friday night at Knox Field. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)
for the second game in a row, the B-P defense served as the catalyst for the victory.
Twice the Sir Bills drove the ball inside the 5-yard line but came up empty because of big plays from B-P.
The first came late in the second quarter when Johnstown drove the ball in five plays from the Broadalbin-Perth 35 to the 3-yard line. A fumbled hand-off exchange was recovered by the Sir Bills but pushed them back to the seven. Facing third-and-goal Johnstown quarterback Matt Szurek dropped back and lofted a pass intended for Dan Nellis in the corner of the end zone, However, the Patriots' Jake Coveney outjumped Nellis and came down with the interception.
The Patriots' defense came up with a second drive-killing stand in the third quarter.
"Two weeks in a row to be able to that says a lot about the character of this team," Pelneau said. "It is a good feeling knowing that they can come up with those plays."
The Sir Bills (0-2 overall) took their first possession of the second half from their own 39-yard line to make it first and goal from the nine. In the 12-play drive Steven Forker had runs of 11 and 8-yards and the Sir Bills had a 17-yard run from Ryan Auty called back for holding.
The B-P defense also helped out the Sir Bills as they had then stopped on the 32 but a roughing the passer penalty game the Sir Bills a first down on the B-P 17.
Runs from Forker, Auty and Adam Caputo got the ball inside the 10, but the B-P defense dug in stopping the Sir Bills' threat three-yards short of the goal line before taking over on downs.
"That is the thing we are going to have to work on," Johnstown coach Matt Benton said. "We need to be able to finish."
The Patriots defense was not the only one to step up its game as the Sir Bills defenders continually forced the Patriots into long-yardage situations.
The Patriots found success through the air late in the first quarter when Zach Morreale hit Mike Visco with an apparent 44-yard touchdown strike, but the play was called back on an offensive pass interference call.
Broadalbin-Perth recovered from the setback to put the ball in the end zone with a five-yard run from Visco. Morreale added the extra point for a 7-0 lead with 10:17 left in the second quarter.
The Patriots bumped the score up to 10-0 when Morreale made good on a 38-yard field goal. Broadalbin-Perth regained possession after a successful on-sides kick recovery on the 50-yard line with 19 seconds remaining in the half. Morreale hit visco with a 20-yard pass to move the ball to the 30-yard line. With time running out, the Patriots called a time out to give Morreale a shot at a 47-yard field goal attempt. The Sir Bills iced the play with a time out, but Marino Fabozzi broke through the Patriots line to block Morreale's attempt and hold the Patriots edge to 10-0 at the break.
B-P opened the fourth quarter with another scoring drive featuring a 12-yard pass play from Morreale to Tyler Schmidt and a 35-yard run from Visco.
Luigi Magliocca finished off the drive with a 2-yard run an a 16-0 lead.
Magliocca closed out the Patriots scoring with his 35-yard touchdown run with just over a minute left and Morreale kicked the point after for the 23-0 final score.
Darius Reyes led the Patriots runners with 92 yards on 11 carries, while Visco racked up 56 yards on seven carries and Magliocca had 55 yards and two touchdowns on five carries. Coveney finished the night with a pair of interceptions and Andrew Gorzycki recorded an interception on the last play of the game.
"That was our goal to come in an run the ball a lot better," Pelneau said. "Give Johnstown credit, they did a lot of good stuff. We knew they were going to be a tough team. They played well last week and gave us everything they had and made a big game out of it."
Caputo finished the night with 52 yards rushing on 12 carries, while Auty had 49 on 12 carries. Szurek added 29 rushing yards on 11 carries while completing five of 11 passes for 47 yards.
"They played their hearts out. I can't take anything away from them," Benton said of his Sir Bills squad. "Broadalbin is a good football team and our kids played as hard as they could play. There is some transitions and breakdowns we have to keep plugging away at. I really believe this team can do some good things."
Johnstown (0-2) will take to the road next Friday for a divisional game at Scotia-Glenville (0-2).
Broadalbin-Perth (2-0) will look to extend its early-season run to three-straight wins when they make the trip to Hudson Falls (0-2) on Saturday.
Broadalbin-Perth 23, Johnstown 0
Broadalbin-Perth0 10 0 13 - 23
Johnstown0 0 0 0 - 0
BP - Visco, 5 run, (Morreale kick)
BP - FG Morreale 38.
BP - Magliocca, 2 run (run failed).
BP - Magliocca, 35 run, (Morreale kick).