ROTTERDAM The Schalmont football team didn't care how it won the West Division. The Sabres just wanted to win.
In a game that featured nine turnovers between the two teams, Schalmont earned its fourth consecutive divisional title by beating Schuylerville 26-14 in Saturday night's regular season finale.
"I think we got the job done tonight," said senior running back Alex Hildebrand. "We did what we had to do."
Hildebrand was a big reason why the Sabres (5-0 division, 7-0 overall) beat Schuylerville. He scored all four of the Sabres' touchdowns -- two on the ground, one on a reception and one on a blocked punt that changed the complexion of the game.
Up 6-0, Schalmont forced Schuylerville (3-2, 5-2) to punt with 2:23 left in the second quarter. Senior Jean Gomez rushed in and blocked the punt, which caused a mad scramble for the ball. A Schuylerville player fell near the ball, but it was still loose when Hildebrand saw it. Having not heard a referee's whistle, Hildebrand scooped up the ball and ran into the end zone while the Schuylerville team looked on to give Schalmont a 12-0 advantage.
"I saw it there, and I thought , 'They [Schuylerville] can't advance it.' So, I picked it up and ran it in," said Hildebrand.
"We preach to the kids play to the whistle," said Schalmont coach Joe Whipple. "He didn't hear the whistle, so he kept going."
Hildebrand's return of the blocked punt was one of several unusual plays in the first half for both teams. Schuylerville and Schalmont committed a total of seven turnovers, including one sequence in the first quarter where the Black Horses fumbled to Schalmont only to regain the ball when the Sabres fumbled on their next play.
Schuylerville gained some momentum in the second half, though. James Perry -- listed on the Black Horses' roster as an offensive lineman and defensive end -- took the opening kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown to cut Schalmont's lead to 12-7.