Friday, October 30, 2009

Call to duty in the 'Burgh; Rams rally in Rensselaer

Lansingburgh head coach Al McNall celebrates a touchdown during Friday's wild 52-35 victory over Hudson Falls. The Knights are heading to a Section II Super Bowl for the seventh time this decade. (Photos by Tom Killips - The Record).

Hudson Falls' Dakota Drake rushed for a Herculean 304 yards (37 attempts) and four touchdowns, but the Knights' offense just couldn't be stopped.

T.J. McLaughlin went 5-for-5 for 122 yards and two touchdowns and the Knights used eight different running backs to pile up 275 rushing yards on 42 attempts.

Lansingburgh (8-1) will face Schalmont (7-2) in the Section II Class B Super Bowl, to be played Saturday at Schenectady High School at 1 p.m.

It was a game featuring many injury replacements. Lansingburgh starting left tackle Mark Tracey injured his knee (likely MCL issue) in practice, so left guard Jake Luce shifted to tackle and sophomore Corey Fernet, called up to varsity from the JV squad just last week, made his first career start in Luce's stead.

Lansinguburgh's Jake Shaw, whose eye was injured in a freak badminton accident this week in gym class, is also out. (That is an insane sentence, but not a typo). The Knights certainly missed the junior placekicker and defensive end, but wound up making the five two-point conversion attempts they tried.

McLaughlin took his shot at placekicking and had two extra point attempts blocked. If the Knights want to win the field position battle against Schalmont next week they will also need to work on the kickoff team as well.

Lansingburgh's Terrance Kemp skips over outstretched defenders during Friday's game. His 80-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter sparked the Knights' second half surge.

Lansingburgh's Tyrone Nichols applies the stiff arm to Hudson Falls' Frank Savasta (7). Nichols finished with 93 rushing yards, two touchdowns and a two-point conversion run.

T.J. McLaughlin looks upfield during Friday's game. He finished with 58 rushing yards, two rushing touchdowns and four two-point conversion runs.

Hudson Falls' Aaron Dudley is spun around by Lansingburgh's Quincy Michael (11) and Marcus Little (r) during a kick return. Lansingburgh's Nate Gause (50) looks on.

"Coach said this is goal No. 2, getting to the Super Bowl," said McLaughlin. "The first one was winning the division, the second one was getting to the Super Bowl and now we have to win it."

The Knights will have their hands full with Schalmont's Vince Gallo in the big game, as he tore up the Cohoes defenders for 300 yards in a 55-14 victory for the Sabres.
But if Friday's game was any indication, no matter how much trouble the Lansingburgh defense has with an opposing running back, that offense always finds a way to put points on the board.

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Rensselaer's Jason Brown (65) drags down Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons' Justin Relyea (1) during Friday's game. Rensselaer made it interesting, but scored 29 unanswered points in the second half to escape with the 50-22 victory. (Photos by J.S. Carras - The Record).

A gang of Rams tacklers led by Kalen Judge (8) and Nate Butler (42) wrap up Bishop Gibbons' do-it-all quarterback Derrick Pitts.

Nate Butler (left) makes room for Jashem Hamilton (24), who rushed for 45 yards on four attempts and scored a pair of touchdowns.

"We have our work cut out for us," Rensselaer head coach Joel Preston told our Ryan Kircher. "Greenwich gave us a real fight the first time we played them, they’re going to ready. Tonight is something we needed. We needed to be in a tough game and we were."

In the other Class D semifinal Friday night, Greenwich ousted Spa Catholic 50-0, setting up a rematch between the Witches and the Rams. Rensselaer won 20-7 in Week 1.

--
Check out the full stories in Saturday's edition of The Record. For the latest brackets, click here.

We'll be there for you Saturday as Troy High hosts Gloversville and Hoosick Falls takes on Granville in a Class C semifinal at Stillwater High School.

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