CLIFTON PARK - The Schalmont Sabres were denied their fourth-straight Section II Class B Super Bowl victory last year by Glens Falls.
Schalmont returned to the championship win column Saturday with a dominating 54-7 victory over Broadalbin-Perth.
"They are so fast to the ball and tonight they took care of us up front," Broadalbin-Perth coach Jim Pelneau said. "They deserved it. They just physically wore us out."
Broadalbin-Perth’s Luigi Magliocca (23), Darius Reyes (10) and Damion Jabot (11) knock the ball loose from Schalmont’s Devon Willis during Saturday’s Section II Class B championship game at Shenendehowa High School in Clifton?Park. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)
The championship game at Shenendehowa High School was the second meeting of the season between the Class B West Division rivals. On Sept. 27 the Sabres punched in a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns to claim a 21-3 victory.
The Patriots defense came up with a big play on Schalmont's first drive of the game.
Starting on the B-P 35, the Sabres used a swift no-huddle offense to move the ball to the Patriots' 5-yard line. The Patriots stopped the drive, forcing Devon Willis to fumble the ball, which they recovered on their 6-yard line.
SECTION II FOOTBALL
Class A Championship
Queensbury 14, Burnt Hills 7
Class B Championship
Schalmont 54, Broadalbin-Perth 7
Class D Championship
Cambridge 36, Rensselaer 14
The Schalmont defense was up to the task, trapping the Patriots inside their 10, forcing Mike Visco to attempt a punt out of the end zone. Visco had trouble receiving the snap but alertly grabbed the loose ball and scrambled out of the end zone before being tackled, giving Schalmont possession on the 7-yard line.
Three plays later, Nick Gallo ran the ball five yards for the touchdown. Paul Mattick added the first of his six point after kicks for a 7-0 advantage.
Schalmont's defense continued to keep the Patriots in check in the second quarter, while adding three touchdowns to the score.
Gallo rushed for his second touchdown of the game on a two-yard plunge. Hunter Gac added a 13-yard touchdown run and Willis added a 4-yard touchdown run to build the Sabres' halftime lead to 28-0.
The Patriots defense forced five fumbles from the Schalmont runners in the opening half but were able to recover only two.
"We have got to be able to get to those," Pelneau said of the fumbles. "They bounced back into their laps and they got the recoveries. If we got a couple of those early it might have changed something."
The Patriots came out of the locker room fired up and with a pair of sacks by Andre Taylor, forced a three and out. However, a roughing the kicker penalty gave the Sabres new life and they capitalized on the opportunity to drive 68 yards in 12 plays to take the score to 35-0 on a Willis 1-yard touchdown run.
"We challenged them at the half to come out and continue to play as hard as they could and they did that," Pelneau said. "We got a penalty there on a fourth down that got them another drive and a touchdown."
The Patriots offense took the air on the ensuing possession.
Luigi Magliocca gave the Patriots good field position when he returned the kickoff to the 31-yard line and drew a personal foul against the Sabres to move the ball to the 46-yard line.
Quarterback Zach Morreale threw the ball downfield for Jake Coveney that drew a pass interference call. He backed it up with a 35-yard pass completion to Tyler Schmidt before Taylor carried the ball the final three yards for the touchdown. Morreale kicked the point after to put the score at 35-7.
The Patriots attempted to keep possession of the ball with an onside kick but the Sabres pounced on the ball to take possession on their 49-yard line.
Five plays later, Willis ran the ball in from the 12-yard line the help extend the lead to 42-7 heading into the fourth quarter.
Willis added his fourth touchdown of the game early in the fourth quarter and the Sabres defense held the Patriots in check before Cameron Brooks finished off the scoring with his 10-yard touchdown run.
"I am just proud of our guys, they didn't quit," Pelneau said. "I told them after the game to keep their heads up. They have changed the way football is played [at Broadalbin-Perth]. They have come a long way. It is not the way you want to go out but when you lose to a better football team like that, you can walk off the field with your head up."
Willis finished the game with 138 yards and four touchdowns on 20 carries. Gallo added two touchdowns, while carrying the ball 17 times for 65 yards and throwing for 124 yards. The Sabres amassed 315 rushing yards to improve their record to 10-0 on the season.
Senior captains Magliocca, Visco, Zach Newfrock and Pierre LaPort delivered a message to their teammates after receiving the finalists plaque - "This is nice but the one we want it the one they got."
"That is the message," Pelneau said. "We are happy with the finish and there are 14 other schools that would have liked to finish runner-up too. But we do want the big one and that is our motivation for next year. This group of seniors changed the culture and expectations of it [Patriots football]. Moving forward, our juniors and underclassmen got a taste of it and hopefully it is motivation for them."
The Patriots finished the season with an 8-2 record.
Schalmont 54, Broadalbin-Perth 7
Broadalbin-Perth0 0 7 0 - 7
Schalmont7 21 14 12 - 54
S - Nick Gallo 5 run (Paul Mattick kick), 4:51.
S - Gallo 2 run (Mattick kick), 10:55.
S - Hunter Gac 13 run (Mattick kick), 7:13.
S - Devon Willis 4 run (Mattick kick), 1:28.
S - Willis 1 run (Mattick kick), 5:40.
BP - Andre Taylor 3 run (Zach Morreale kick), 5:03.
S - Willis 15 run (Mattick kick), 3:00.
S - Willis 3 run (kick failed), 9:35.
S - Cameron Brooks 10 run (kick failed).