Raiders reach Super Bowl

Colonie didn't need overtime to defeat Saratoga this time. Not with Heath Furbeck carrying the load.

Furbeck rushed for 162 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Garnet Raiders to a 27-13 victory over the Blue Streaks in last Friday's Section II, Class AA football semifinal in Saratoga.

Colonie (7-2) advanced to its first Super Bowl in four years and denied Saratoga (7-2) a third consecutive championship game appearance.

It's a great opportunity for the kids, said Colonie coach Mike Ambrosio. "As a sophomore class (last year), the juniors went undefeated at the junior varsity level, and our senior class was undefeated two years ago. So, we knew they could step up and do well."

"I was wishing for the seniors that they could go back for a third time, and it didn't happen," said Saratoga coach Blase Iuliano.

The turning point came early in the third quarter with the score tied at 7. Colonie defensive back Brian Sleasman anticipated a screen pass by Saratoga's Dan McLaughlin, stepped into the route and intercepted it. Sleasman ran down the right sideline and nearly got into the end zone before McLaughlin chased him down, but it put the Garnet Raiders on Saratoga's 1-yard line. Joe Poleto finished what Sleasman started on the next play to give Colonie a 13-7 lead.

"We did a good job of flushing McLaughlin out, and Sleasman did a nice job of jumping the route," said Ambrosio.

"They were sky high after that, and we knew we were in trouble," said Iuliano.

Saratoga bounced back on its next possession. A 37-yard run by Vonzel Legall gave the Blue Streaks a first-and-goal at Colonie's 6-yard line. The Garnet Raiders held their ground for three plays, but James DeLoatch got into the end zone on fourth down to tie the game at 13.

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