The Schalmont football team couldn't have asked for a better start or for a better result than what it got in last Saturday's Section II Class B championship game at Schenectady High School.
The Sabres (8-2) scored three touchdowns in the first quarter and cruised to a 35-20 victory over Lansingburgh to win their first Sectional title.
You couldn't script it any better, said Schalmont coach Joe Whipple. "We wanted to come out and set the tone early."
The tone Schalmont wanted to set came quite early, as DaShawn Banks scored on a 64-yard touchdown run on the Sabres' first offensive series. It continued a short time later when Jaren Ramundo ran through Lansingburgh's defense for a 38-yard touchdown to make the score 14-0.
Quarterback and leading rusher Vince Gallo had barely kept the ball for himself through those first two drives, but it didn't take long for him to get involved. The senior capped Schalmont's third offensive series with a 2-yard touchdown run to give the Sabres a comfortable 21-point lead.
"We knew we had to strike quickly and play good defense to keep them on their heels a little bit," said Whipple.
Banks contributed a 5-yard scoring run in the second quarter to increase Schalmont's lead to 28-0. Lansingburgh (8-2) tried to get back into the game in the third quarter when quarterback T.J. McLaughlin connected with Kynan Vandenburgh on a 21-yard touchdown pass, but Gallo scored on a 33-yard run a short time later to put the game out of the Knights' reach.
Gallo finished with 133 rushing yards, and Banks contributed 102 yards on the ground for Schalmont, which avenged a 42-29 loss to Lansingburgh in the second week of the regular season.
"These guys have been progressing every week since Week 2," said Whipple. "All three facets [offense, defense and special teams] came together against Lansingburgh."