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Raiders pull off upset against Saratoga

A wild finish netted a big win for the Colonie football team.

Tom Duff connected with Matt June on a 20-yard touchdown pass in overtime to lift the Garnet Raiders to a 27-21 victory over Saratoga last Friday.

If the victory was unexpected, it was only because of the reputations both teams had entering the game. Colonie has been a notoriously slow-starting team the last several seasons, while Saratoga was beginning its quest for a third consecutive appearance in the Section II, Class AA Super Bowl.

We talked all week about how they (Saratoga) were picked to win the section. But, we laid low and showed what we could do tonight, said Duff.

Colonie was clinging to a 21-14 lead in the closing seconds when Saratoga quarterback Dan McLaughlin threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Max Higgins. There was a penalty flag on the play, but it turned out to be an inadvertent flag. Jimmy Minogue then kicked the extra point to tie the game at 21.

Colonie got the ball to start overtime, but was in danger of being shut out on its first possession when Duff hit June for a touchdown on fourth down and 10. The Garnet Raiders missed the extra point, though, which gave Saratoga a chance to win the game on its possession.

Colonie's defense made certain that didn't happen. The Garnet Raiders swarmed the Blue Streaks and forced McLaughlin into a couple of incompletions that sealed the victory.

McLaughlin had been effective for the Blue Streaks. The senior completed 14 of 25 passes for 250 yards and two touchdowns.

"We moved the ball effectively in the air. I thought Danny was on the mark, and he did a good job. But our running game was sporadic," said Saratoga coach Blase Iuliano.

Colonie opened the game with a bang when Duff threw an 80-yard touchdown pass to Jim Kehrer. Vonzel Legall pulled Saratoga even early in the second quarter with a 16-yard touchdown run, but Heath Furbeck put Colonie ahead again with a 20-yard scoring scamper. James DeVoe's extra point failed, though, leaving the Garnet Raiders with a 13-7 lead.

Saratoga took the lead late in the second quarter. McLaughlin connected with Miltner on a 13-yard touchdown pass, and Minogue added the extra point to give the Blue Streaks a 14-13 advantage heading into halftime.

The score remained that way until the fourth quarter when Duff capped a Colonie drive with a 1-yard touchdown run. The junior quarterback then added a two-point conversion pass to June to put the Garnet Raiders up seven points.

Duff finished with 148 yards passing in his varsity debut, and Furbeck rushed for 103 yards on 16 carries for the Garnet Raiders.""

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