Saturday, October 31, 2015

Friday Night Lights: Queensbury @ Troy, the sequel, 10/30/15

When the 2015 season began, Troy High scored a mild upset, defeating defending Section II Class A champion Queensbury, 20-6, on September 4. Eight weeks later, the Spartans returned to Troy bent on revenge and a 3rd straight trip to the Class A Super Bowl.

In the first half of the game, it certainly looked like the Spartans' goals would be achieved. Star running back Brett Rodriguez scored three touchdowns, wrapped around a John Germinerio 1 yard run on 4th & goal for Troy, to give the guests a 24-8 halftime lead. Neither team has a reliable kicking game, it seems, as Queensbury opted to go for 2 after the first touchdown. What had the Troy faithful upset, however, wasn't so much the shoddy defensive play, but suspicions that the officials were favoring Queensbury. Proof of this came in the 2nd quarter, when a flag was dropped, presumably against Queensbury. Troy's Reid Crobok, who'd been  battling leg injuries all season, was helped off the field. His father, roaming the bleachers, was angry, accusing Queensbury players of deliberately injuring his son. The refs picked up the flag for no reason. Before the half was over, a second Troy player, Cam Ziter, was knocked from the game with what looked like an ankle or knee injury. On the other hand, Rodriguez's night was over by halftime due to an ankle injury. Karmic justice, perhaps?

In the 3rd, Queensbury took the opening kickoff, and freshman running back Brandon Scott, newly added to the team, broke off a big touchdown run to extend the lead to 30-8. It didn't matter who was carrying the ball for the Spartans, be it Rodriguez, Scott, Jared Bruno, or quarterback Kevin Collins. Troy had trouble again stopping the run.

But, back came the Flying Horses, riding their senior star, Damani Soares, who scored 3 touchdowns in the half, with a Germinerio TD toss to Dylan Casey mixed in. Troy came all the way back from a 22 point deficit to lead, 34-30, early in the 4th quarter. However, Queensbury came right back, as Collins ran it in himself to give the Spartans a short-lived 36-34 lead. Short-lived because Germinerio needed just 2 plays to get the lead back. First, it was a 16-yard completion to Tavon Moore. Then, senior wide receiver Dajuan Hudson raced 64 yards for the winning score. Dev Holmes caught the 2-point conversion pass, and Troy was back up, 42-36, with under a minute left.

Then, things started getting screwy again on Queensbury's final drive. An interception by Nick Pastore was wiped out by a questionable personal foul on the defense as Collins was headed out of bounds on the pass. A second personal foul, as Collins was shoved out of bounds on the Troy sideline, was more of the ticky-tack variety that the officials normally wouldn't call in a game like this. The message was again sent to Troy. Section II doesn't want you in the Super Bowl yet. However, the Flying Horses punched their ticket to the big dance anyway, as Ethan Evans picked off Collins on the last play of the game to ice it.

The last two Super Bowls have matched two sets of Spartans as Queensbury defeated Burnt Hills. This year, neither of those teams will play for the A title, as Amsterdam upset Burnt Hills, 37-7, a game that was over well before the final gun sounded at Picken Memorial Field. The Rams and Flying Horses will meet at Steuerwald Stadium at Shenendehowa High School next Saturday night for the A title, Troy's first Super Bowl of any kind in 5 years. This will be a rematch from a September 18 game at Amsterdam, which Troy won, 26-21. The Rams will be the ones motivated more for revenge, and it's been a while since they, too, played in the Super Bowl.

For those of us who can't get to the game, it will be on Time Warner Cable's Sports Channel, as last night's game was, providing an alternative to the usual college fare. Meanwhile, they'll soon be preparing the gym for basketball season, which, barring preseason tournaments, starts December 1. Schedules will be available to the public within the next 2 weeks or so on the school website and on Section II's site. We'll see if Troy can use the momentum of the football team to carry the hoops squads, both men's & women's, to similar success.

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