If the Christian Brothers Academy football team hadn't been in the discussion for being an Empire Division contender before last Friday's game at Saratoga Springs, it's entered the discussion now.
The Brothers (2-1 division, 3-1 overall) put on a defensive clinic against the defending Section II Class AA champions as they pulled away for a 27-2 road victory.
CBA forced four Saratoga turnovers and limited the Blue Streaks (2-2, 2-2) to less than 60 rushing yards as it moved within a game of first-place Shenendehowa.
We stepped up big on defense, and we did just enough on offense to win the game, said CBA coach Joe Burke.
"They were just better than us," said Saratoga coach Terry Jones. "We lost control of the field early with turnovers."
The tide turned in CBA's favor late in the second quarter. A short Saratoga punt set the Brothers up at the Blue Streaks' 41-yard line, and they swiftly moved the ball deep into Saratoga territory. Fullback Nick Antoinette capped the series with a 5-yard touchdown run to give the Brothers a 6-0 lead.
Saratoga got the ball back, but not for long as Elijah Dukes made a leaping interception of Luke Fauler's pass and returned the ball to Saratoga's 25-yard line. Several plays later, Dukes made another leaping catch " this time, it was to haul in Casey Crotty's 7-yard touchdown pass to the back left corner of the end zone. Trey Williams added a two-point conversion run to give CBA a 14-0 lead.
"Certainly, I thought that was a turning point of the game," said Burke. "That certainly gave [Saratoga] something to think about at halftime."
Whatever Saratoga talked about at halftime didn't help in the third quarter. CBA took the opening kickoff and ran 7:37 off the clock as it methodically ran the ball down the Blue Streaks' throats. Williams finished the drive with a 15-yard touchdown run to put the Brothers ahead 21-0.