Patrick Hoey never had a play like the one he turned in early in the fourth quarter of last Friday's Section II Class AA quarterfinal game.
The Shaker defensive end sacked Ballston Spa quarterback Derek Chandler, forced a fumble, recovered it and ran 65 yards for his first varsity touchdown.
Hoey's play wasn't critical in the larger scheme of things as Shaker trounced Ballston Spa 42-6, but it was special to the junior.
"There's no better feeling in the world," said Hoey. "Honestly, it hasn't set in yet."
Hoey's play was one of nine turnovers Shaker's defense forced -- or rather, one of nine Ballston Spa turnovers Mother Nature forced. The rain-slicked turf at Shaker's home field made for poor footing and hard-to-handle footballs.
"More than anything, it was the field," said Ballston Spa coach John Bowen. "It was a wet ball, and we had inexperienced kids in there."
"The weather had something to do with it," said Shaker coach Greg Sheeler. "But, it was good to capitalize on those mistakes."
Even Hoey had some concerns about reaching the end zone, though there wasn't a Ballston Spa player within five yards of him as he ran down the field.
"I was a little worried about the footing for the first 20 yards, but after that I stopped worrying about it," said Hoey.
Shaker (8-0) failed to score on its first offensive series, but it didn't take long for the Blue Bison to get going after that. Tailback Ryan Griffin scored on a 35-yard run, tailback Kenny Jackson caught a 15-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Chris Landers and Griffin added a 2-yard touchdown run to give Shaker a 22-0 lead before the end of the first quarter.
"Scoring early was big for us," said Sheeler. "Neither team was going to be throwing the ball a lot in this weather."