For the 2nd time this season, the Time Warner Cable/Albany Times-Union high school sports reporter predicted defeat for Troy High. For the 2nd time, coach Bob "The Builder" Burns and the Flying Horses proved him and all the other doubters wrong.
To refresh everyone's memories, Allen had written at the start of the season that Troy would go 6-1 in the regular season, the lone loss presumably against Shaker. On Homecoming night, September 23, Troy weathered a halftime rainstorm to defeat Shaker, 20-13.
On the eve of the Class AA championship game at the Syracuse Carrier Dome, Allen had a video posted on the Times-Union's website where he predicted that Victor Central, which is actually from suburban Rochester, would clip the Flying Horses' wings, to the tune of 24-21.
Suffice to say, Allen got half the score right.
After Cambridge and Glens Falls had clinched state titles within the previous 24 hours, Troy took the field vs. Victor knowing that they had every reason to believe they could complete a 3-game Section II sweep in the finals.
In the first half, it was the Dev Holmes show, as the senior receiver scored two touchdowns to give Troy a 13-7 lead at halftime, and one of those touchdowns was as a running back on a reverse. In the 3rd quarter, Troy extended its lead as Joey Ward broke loose for a touchdown. John Germinerio hit James Kelley for the 2 point conversion, and Troy led, 21-7.
However, on the ensuing Victor possession, Zack Estabrooks bulled through the defense for an 80 yard touchdown to cut the lead to 7. Estabrooks caught a break from the local officials in the first half when they didn't throw a penalty flag on him for yanking Germinerio's helmet off. In the 4th, Victor scored again, but missed the two point conversion, leaving Troy with a tenuous 21-20 lead with more than 5 minutes left. The ensuing kickoff pinned Troy at the 7 yard line, but a key 4th down conversion gave the Horses some breathing room. Troy continued to chew up the clock, and then Germinerio hit senior tight end Jesse Brown for 57 yards to ice the game. Victor was out of timeouts, and was helpless to stop the clock as Germinerio took two kneel-downs, despite the desperate efforts of the Victor defense to force a turnover, and Troy had ended a 18 year drought between state titles in football.
On Friday, Cambridge won just their 2nd state title, the first coming in 1999, beating Maple Grove, 22-21, in double overtime. Earlier this afternoon, in the first half of the double-header at the Carrier Dome, Glens Falls, behind Joe Girard III, won their first state title, breaking Chenango Forks' 25 game winning streak. Chenango Forks had won the last three state titles, and the disparity in penalties accepted during the game suggested that maybe, just maybe, there were some who thought Chenango Forks would make it 4 in a row. Nuh-uh. After Chenango Forks got within 1 point, Andrew Murphy returned an onside kick for a touchdown to ice the game, 47-39.
To the players & coaches in Troy, Cambridge, & Glens Falls, we dedicate the following music video:
For Troy's Ryan Carmello, Ethan Evans, Joe Casale, & Brandon Holmes, the shoulder pads and helmets get put away, swapped for basketball jerseys, as Suburban Council play begins in 10 days at home against Colonie. Coach Burns will reload for next season, knowing he'll have key players such as Casale, who figures to be the starting quarterback next season, Ward, and defensive ace Derrick Cipriani, as well as placekicker Jordan Audi, who is just a sophomore.
The basketball teams, men's & women's, now have a tough act to follow.