The Saratoga Springs football team won the field position battle, and in the process won the Section II, Class AA title.
The Blue Streaks took advantage of several Ballston Spa mistakes to score all of their points in a 31-7 victory last Friday at Colonie Central High School and win their first Sectional title since 2004.
We got some good breaks, said junior quarterback Luke Fauler, who threw two touchdown passes and ran for another. "Our defense got us good field position."
All five of Saratoga's scoring drives started inside Ballston Spa's 40-yard line, thanks to big plays on special teams and defense. Tony DeLoatch had a 32-yard punt return to set up the Blue Streaks' first touchdown, and Saratoga's next two scoring drives were set up by Ballston Spa turnovers deep in its own territory.
"Special teams and defense " that's what we do," said Saratoga coach Terry Jones. "Our kicking team was able to pin them deep tonight, and our defense was able to come up with some big plays."
"As good as Saratoga is, you can't make those mistakes and expect to be in the game," said Ballston Spa coach John Bowen. "Defensively, we didn't play bad. Offensively, we had some difficulty."
DeLoatch's punt return placed Saratoga (9-1) at Ballston Spa's 20-yard line early in the second quarter. The Blue Streaks kept the ball on the ground, and Fauler capped the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run to give his team a 7-0 lead.
Saratoga received a break later in the second quarter when a punt bounced off a Ballston Spa player, and the Blue Streaks recovered the ball at the Scotties' 1-yard line. DeLoatch scored on the next play to give Saratoga a two-touchdown advantage.
"We capitalized because our [offensive] line knows what to do when we're near the goal line," said DeLoatch. "We love to pound [the ball] on the ground."