Guilderland’s hard-charging defense was no match for Streaks quarterback Brian Williams’ pinpoint accuracy. The Saratoga Springs Blue Streaks beat the Guilderland Dutchmen by a score of 34-14 at Saratoga Springs High School on a cold Friday night, where the temperature got as low as 48 F during the game.
“Anytime you get a win, especially in the division, I think it helps build confidence,” said Head Coach Terry Jones after the game. However, things were not so pretty for the Blue Streaks to start the game. On the opening kickoff, the ball was fumbled by Saratoga and it was picked up by Guiderland lineman Cameron Topliffe. After four plays and eight yards gained by the Guiderland offense, a punt was fumbled by Saratoga and a Guilderland lineman picked up the football. Two plays later, it was 7-0 Dutchmen after a Cameron Long one-yard run into the end zone.
Saratoga was not be outdone as Saratoga receiver Nick Anderson ran the kickoff all the way back to the endzone, but the extra point was no good, and made it 7-6 Dutchmen about two and a half minutes in.
After a punt by Guilderland and exchanged turnover on downs, a full quarter had been played and Guilderland led 7-6. About a minute and a half into the second, quarter, Williams ran a four-yard touchdown to make it 13-7 Streaks.
Saratoga kicker Ryan Manlapaz kicked off the ball and it was fumbled by the Guiderland returner and picked up by Streaks receiver Zach Stacey, who ran it into the endzone to make it 20-7 Saratoga and two touchdowns in the first 100 seconds of the second quarter. A lot of running game from Dutchmen quarterback Andrew Sentz and runner Cameron Long and a few changed possessions kept the score at 20-7 at halftime.
During halftime, five new inductees were introduced to the crowd after their induction to the Blue Streaks Athletic Hall of Fame. The new inductees were Barbara Chubb, Nicole Blood, Moira D’Andrea, Dylan Welsh, and Rich Johns.
There was no scoring in the third quarter until Sentz ran for three yards into the endzone to make it 20-14 with 5:31 left in the quarter. That would be the last time in the game that the Dutchmen scored.
A few turnovers on downs later, it was the end of the third quarter, and the Blue Streaks held the 20-14 lead.
The Dutchmen started the final 12 minutes with the ball, but that was only to be for about forty-five seconds when they turned the ball over on downs. Saratoga held the ball for almost two minutes, until Luke Thompson ran the ball for 17 yards for a touchdown, but the extra point failed for the second time in the game, so the score was 26-14 with nine and a half minutes left.
Guiderland fumbled the ball in their third play after the touchdown and it was picked up by Saratoga DT Zack Regels, but the ball was turned over after five plays, which included a 10 yard holding penalty called on the Streaks.
On the first play of the Guiderland possession, cornerback Tyler Kraus intercepted a throw from Sentz and ran it back for a touchdown and the two-point conversion was good for the eight point play with six and a half minutes left in the contest, and the Blue Streaks led by a score of 34-14. They would win the game with this score.
The teams exchanged the ball for the final six and a half minutes, and the last possession of the game was by the Streaks, who gained the ball with just 17 seconds left in the game, the Streaks used their final timeout immediately after gaining the ball, which finally the ball was kneeled by Williams and let the time run out to clinch a 34-14 victory. Williams only threw one incomplete pass during the game.
Jones said of Williams’ accuracy, “We’ve said it all along that he throws the ball real well and we have the utmost confidence in him and our receivers.” He also said, “At times tonight he was spot-on… and he’ll keep working to get better because he can.”
The field was playable Friday night because the application of nematodes solved a grub issue earlier in the week, Athletic Director Peter Sheehan said on Thursday.
Saratoga is now 2-1 overall this season after the victory. The Blue Streaks travel to play Shenendehowa next Friday in a 7:00 p.m. rivalry game.
Statewide Week 3 Football Results from the New York State Sportswriters Association
The Lightning Rod’s SSHS sports schedule
Aidan Joly is a freshmen covering sports for The Lightning Rod.