The Schalmont football team nearly let a perfect league season slip out of its grasp. Now, the Sabres are hoping not to let their Section II title dreams suffer a similar fate.
Broadalbin-Perth rallied in the fourth quarter with a pair of big plays, but Schalmont (4-0 league, 6-1 overall) held on for a 26-20 victory in last Friday's West Division regular season finale to lock up the league title and home field advantage through the first two rounds of the Class B playoffs.
I've been here 10 years, and it's the first time I remember hosting a playoff game, said Schalmont coach Mike DiCocco. "It's the first time we've won our division, it's the first time we've won all of our home games and if you look back to the preseason, it's the first time we've set records lifting in the weight room. We've had a lot of firsts this season, and we'd like to keep it going."
The Sabres host Hudson " a team they defeated 38-8 in the second week of the season " in Friday's quarterfinal round.
"Hudson is a much-improved team from Week 2, and we are taking them very seriously," said DiCocco.
The Sabres nearly learned the hard way what can happen when they let down their guard on the field. After building an 18-0 lead in the first quarter, Schalmont made several mistakes, which allowed Broadalbin-Perth (1-3, 2-5) to stay within striking distance.
The Patriots cut into the deficit in the third quarter when R.J. Pingatore threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Nathaniel Akey to make the score 18-7. Then, Akey recovered a Schalmont fumble early in the fourth quarter and returned it 30 yards for another touchdown. The two-point conversion failed, though, which left Schalmont with an 18-13 lead.
Tailback Vincent Gallo gave the Sabres some breathing room not with his feet, but rather with his arm. Gallo took the handoff from quarterback Kyle McKelvey and then launched a 67-yard touchdown pass to Dashawn Banks. McKelvey added a conversion pass to Jennes Coleman to put Schalmont ahead 26-13.