Whenever the Saratoga Springs football team needed a big play, Leejay Pollacchi was there.
Pollacchi rushed for two touchdowns, returned a punt for a touchdown and intercepted a pass at the goal line to help the Blue Streaks defeat Guilderland 49-7 in last Friday's Empire Division game in Saratoga Springs.
Leejay has certainly been one of our key players all year, said Saratoga coach Terry Jones.
There were two critical moments in the game where Guilderland (2-4 division, 2-5 overall) let a possible upset slip out of its grasp. The first came in the first quarter when Pollacchi returned a punt 78 yards for a touchdown to give Saratoga (6-0, 6-1) a 14-0 lead, and then the Dutchmen fumbled the ensuing kickoff to give the Blue Streaks prime field position. Quarterback Collin Mulholland capped the short drive early in the second quarter with a four-yard touchdown pass to Joey Moore to make the score 21-0.
"We moved Leejay into returning punts three or four weeks ago, and he's really taken to it," said Jones. "That punt return was all him."
The second critical moment came midway through the second quarter. Guilderland drove deep into Saratoga territory, but the series ended when Pollacchi intercepted a Ryan Smith pass at the goal line after Bobby Falcone tipped the ball in the air for what would have been the Dutchmen's first touchdown.
"That really hurt because we were about to put it in," said Guilderland coach Dan Penna. "A Saratoga defender knocked into our receiver (Falcone), which put the ball in the air."
The Blue Streaks capitalized on Pollacchi's interception, as they drove deep into Guilderland territory on the ensuing series. Pollacchi finished the drive with a 15-yard touchdown run to give Saratoga a 28-0 lead.
Guilderland tried to get back in the game. Smith engineered a last-minute drive that ended with a six-yard touchdown pass to Falcone to cut Saratoga's lead to 28-7 at halftime, but the Blue Streaks limited the Dutchmen to less than 10 total yards of offense in the second half to make certain Guilderland wouldn't pull off a comeback.