The ride keeps going for the Schalmont football team.
The Sabres (9-2) scored the final 27 points of the game to rally past Section VII champion Beekmantown 34-20 in last Friday's Class B regional at Plattsburgh High School.
The win moves Schalmont into Saturday's state semifinal against Section I champion Nanuet at Kingston's Dietz Stadium.
We watched a lot of film on them, said Schalmont coach Joe Whipple of Nanuet, which defeated Section IX champion O'Neill 35-0 in last weekend's regional action. "They're well coached, they play very physical, they love to run the ball and they play very good defense."
The Sabres demonstrated an ability to bust up an opponent's defense against Beekmantown last weekend. After being limited to one touchdown over the first 28 minutes of game time, Schalmont scored the final four touchdowns to put away the Eagles.
"We'd been playing really good ball in the second half of games," said Whipple. "We made it our goal after the [first] Albany Academy game [a 35-18 loss] to win all of our second halves, and we've done that."
Beekmantown took a 20-7 lead when Bob LaDieu returned a Schalmont fumble 20 yards for a touchdown early in the third quarter. Schalmont quarterback Vincent Gallo responded by guiding the Sabres on a pair of scoring drives that he capped with 4-yard touchdown runs to tie the game at 20. The second drive followed an interception by DaShawn Banks inside Beekmantown's 25-yard line.
"The kids just knew we needed to execute and stay positive after the turnover," said Whipple. "We knew we could do this."
Banks put the Sabres ahead for good early in the fourth quarter with a 37-yard touchdown run. Gallo then sealed the victory with an 11-yard scoring run with 1:15 left in the game.
Gallo finished with 238 rushing yards and 89 passing yards, and Banks contributed nearly 50 rushing yards for Schalmont.