JOHNSTOWN - Johnstown couldn't keep up with a speedy Schuylerville team as the Black Horses ran over the Sir Bills 34-22 at Knox Field in a Class B West Division contest in Johnstown on Friday.
Coming in off their worst defeat of the season, a 61-0 thrashing at the hands of unbeaten Schalmont, Johnstown head coach Matt Benton knew the Black Horses (2-5) could run the football.
"Every team we've seen them face they battle with them," said Benton. "They're fast and that's what kind of hurts us at times is that speed."
Johnstown’s Steven Forker (13) looks for running room during Friday’s Class B West Division game against Schuylerville at Knox Field in Johnstown. (The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan)
Schuylerville quarterback Will Griffen gave the Sir Bills a taste of that speed on the first play of the game. Griffen scampered 65 yards before eventually taking the ball six yards into the end zone five plays later.
After their first series of the game led to a punt, Johnstown turned the ball over on downs deep in Schuylerville territory on their second drive. It took only two plays before Skyler Bateman took off for a 68-yard touchdown run. The two-point conversion gave the Black Horses a 16-0 lead.
Johnstown's offense showed signs of life on their next drive. Johnstown quarterback Matt Szurek, Adam Caputo, and Steve Forker kept the ball on the ground, driving 62 yards in 11 plays before Caputo stuck the ball in the end zone from five yards out. Brandon Stevens recovered the ensuing kickoff after Schuylerville's Ryan Rajeski mishandled the ball, but the Sir Bills turned the ball over on downs after failing twice to convert from the Schuylerville 1-yard line.
"It's just a matter of finishing," said Benton. "We're inches away from the end zone and our kids have to learn to be hungry to be able to finish that."
Taking over at their own 1-yard line, the Black Horses pounded the ground with the big play of the series coming when Bateman broke off a 51-yard run. Bateman later plunged into the end zone for a 4-yard touchdown to complete the 99-yard, 11-play drive.
"Defensively we could not stop the A gap," said Benton. "They just kept beating us up front, that's the bottom line."
Trailing 22-8, Caputo got things started for Johnstown to begin the third quarter. He ran 39 yards on the first play of the half and rumbled 24 yards two plays later for a touchdown that brought the Sir Bills within eight.
Schuylerville (2-5 overall, 2-5 Class B West) responded, however, as Josh Thomas pushed through for a 1-yard touchdown set up by a 47-yard run by Griffen to push Schuylerville's lead to 28-14.
The Sir Bills didn't complete a pass until the fourth quarter, but had success through the air late. Down 34-14 following another touchdown run by Griffen, Szurek completed three straight passes on Johnstown's final drive of the game. The third pass to Ryan Auty went 33 yards for a touchdown, but it was too little too late for Johnstown.
"It comes down to strength and speed, and right now we're still years away from getting that strength and speed," Benton said.
Caputo was successful on the ground for Johnstown Friday, rushing for two touchdowns and for four runs of 20 yards or more.
"Adam Caputo had a great night offensively," said Benton. "This was his senior night and he took advantage of it, ran hard, and he did the things that he needed to do."
Szurek, who attempted only one pass in the first half for Johnstown (2-5 overall, 2-5 Class B West), ended up completing 6-of-9 passes for 95 yards in the game. Caputo rushed for 137 yards on 20 carries for the Sir Bills.
Schuylerville 34, Johnstown 22
Johnstown0 8 6 8 - 22
Schuylerville16 6 6 6 - 34
S - Griffen 17 run (2 point good)
S - Bateman 68 run (2 point good)
J - Caputo 5 run (2 point good)
S - Bateman 4 run (2 point failed)
J - Caputo 24 run (2 point failed)
S - Thomas 1 run (2 point failed)
S - Griffen 23 run (2 point failed)
J - Auty 33 pass from Szurek (2 point good)