COLONIE: Garnet Raiders clinch Sectional playoff berth

The Colonie football team locked up the Liberty Division's No. 3 seed for the upcoming class AA playoffs with a dominating 34-14 victory over Niskayuna Friday.

We talked before the game about how we have control of everything, and we don't want someone else to do the job for us, said Colonie coach Mike Ambrosio. "The kids came out, stepped up and took care of business."

Joe Poleto and Jim Kehrer ran the ball effectively for the Garnet Raiders (4-2 division, 4-2 overall). Poleto carried the ball 18 times for 152 yards, while Kehrer complemented Poleto's efforts with 92 yards on 11 carries. Together, they accounted for four of Colonie's five touchdowns.

"He's a tough, physically strong young man " probably pound for pound one of the strongest guys on the team," Ambrosio said of Poleto. "When we need a big play, we know Joe's going to deliver for us."

"The (offensive) line was opening up huge holes for us today, and with Jim (Kehrer) in the backfield, he's another player that can run the ball just as good," said Poleto. "Coach (Ambrosio) told us before the game that we needed to come out hard, and we definitely did."

Poleto got the Garnet Raiders on the scoreboard with a 1-yard touchdown run less than five minutes into the first quarter, capping a nine-play, 69-yard drive. Niskayuna (1-4, 1-5) blocked James DeVoe's extra point attempt, though, leaving Colonie with a 6-0 lead.

Brian Sleasman recovered a Jesse McNeal fumble on the ensuing kickoff, giving Colonie the ball at Niskayuna's 35-yard line. Four plays later, Poleto scampered up the left sideline from 16 yards out for the Garnet Raiders' second touchdown. Niskayuna stopped the two-point conversion, which made the score 12-0.

Kehrer capped Colonie's third scoring drive of the first quarter with an 11-yard touchdown run off a pitch from quarterback Tom Duff. Poleto added a two-point conversion run, which put the Garnet Raiders up 20-0.

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