Tuesday, December 16, 2014

From The Board: Bills O saved by their D and Special Teams.

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Joed Viera | Syracuse Post-Standard
Don't think because the Buffalo Bills knocked off the Green Bay Packers, it means they deserve to play in the NFL Playoffs.

In fact, the Buffalo Bills have a lot of work to do if they are even going to be considered for a playoff spot -- and that doesn't include the help they need from outside factors.

But it is nice to see with two weeks left in the season, and with the Oakland Raiders coming up this Sunday, the Bills could very well enter the final week of the regular season as a team still "in the hunt".

With that being said, the Bills need to work on their offense.

Because their current package isn't getting the job done.  The Bills are lucky their special teams, especially Dan Carpenter, and their defense carried them to victory on Sunday.  Because Kyle Orton and the offense wasn't getting it done.

Yes, Orton moved the ball on occasion.  But 14/27 for 158 yards isn't going to get the job done, especially when the Bills have to face the New England Patriots at Foxborough to close the season.

The telling number is the 0 touchdowns that the Bills offense scored all game.  The Bills points came via a punt return for a touchdown, four field goals from Dan Carpenter, and a safety with less than two minutes to play.

The Bills need to get the ball into the end zone with their offensive line on the field.  The Bills are next-to-last when it comes to scoring touchdowns in the Red Zone (40% - Jacksonville is the only team worse with 38% conversion.  Driving the field to score field goals isn't going to get it done.

When Dan Carpenter booted the second field goal of the third quarter, the Bills were only up 6.  The same when Mason Crosby answered Carpenter's 4th field goal with his own to close the Packers to within six again.  Both times, the thought was in mine, and many Bills followers mind, that Aaron Rodgers would lead the team down to the field to victory in the closing minutes of the game to give Green Bay their 11th win of the season.

The Bills got lucky when Aaron Rodgers fumbled an attempted pass into the end zone, and because of the Holy Roller rule that prohibits an offensive player besides the fumbler to advance a fumbled ball within two minutes of the half or end of game, the Bills were given the two point safety, enhancing their lead to eight.

The origins of the Holy Roller rule

The defense has been great throughout the season for the Buffalo Bills, but they're not going to go anywhere in January as long as the Buffalo Bills offense remains anemic.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Indian River floods Queensbury's Rush Attack, Wins State Championship

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SYRACUSE - Down 19-0?

No problem for the Indian River Warriors, who adjusted their game plan midway through the second quarter and came back to a 63-38 win over the Queensbury Spartans for the Class A Championship.

It is the first state championship for Indian River, and the end of a 25 game winning streak for the previous defending champs.

But the way it started, it looked like Indian River was going to be on the receiving end of the blow out.  It took only two plays before Erik Wettersten ran in from 4 yards out, with Tyrell Adams setting up the touchdown run with a 65 yard gain up the right side.

Then after an Indian River fumble on the kickoff return, Brett Rodriguez scored from 9 yards out to give Queensbury the 13-0 lead.

Indian River would drive the length of the field, but a fumble at the Queensbury 5 yard line gave the Spartans the ball.  Drew Wilson connected with a wide-open Brett Rodriguez to make the score 19-0.

Indian River would storm back with an eight play, 75 yard drive, capped with a quarterback keeper as Densel Barnes ran in from 4 yards for their first score.

But a fumble on the second play of the ensuing drive gave the Warriors great field position to close the first quarter, and Romel Washington made the Spartans pay for that miscue with his 36 yard jet sweep touchdown run to start the second quarter.

The Spartans answered back with Drew Wilson's pass to a wide open Brett Rodriguez, who lined up as a wide receiver on the right sideline, but Chris Goudy's rush on the 2 point conversion failed, to make the score 25-14.

But then the Spartans became unraveled.  And the Warriors began their game of deception.  A fake handoff on the ensuing kickoff got the Spartans to bite, allowing Chase Farrell to run the ball to the Queensbury 45.  Dustin Sharritt would score two plays later, pulling the Warriors to within a field goal.

It only got worse for Queensbury from there.  Tyrell Adams was hurt on the bench, never to return to the game with ice down around his ankle.  On the next series, Queensbury would fall victim to two penalties, with Keeghan O'Leary getting slapped with an "ineligible participation" penalty after his helmet came off during a 1st Down play where Erik Wettersten tried to run to the outside, and Drew Wilson getting tabbed with an intentional grounding call after the ball sailed out of bounds on the next play.  The Spartans would end up punting the ball from their own 15 yard line.

Indian River would score again to make 29-25 at the half, converting a fourth down with a jet sweep to set up Dustin Barnes 4 yard touchdown run.  The Warriors would receive the ball first to start the third quarter, having deferred to the second half.  Connor Brown made that pay off with his 23 yard run to cap a four play drive, expanding the Indian River lead to 36-25.

After another touchdown, Indian River booted the ball towards Erik Wettersten, who bobbled the ball and was brought in by Brett Rodriguez.  However, trying to make something happen, he ran backwards and was down at the 7 yard line.  Rodriguez made up for that miscue with a 93 yard touchdown run to close the gap to 12.

Romel Washington scored the second of his two touchdowns after the kickoff, going in 68 yards for the score to make it 50-31 at the end of the third quarter.

Junior Dustin Sharritt scored the third touchdown of the game, and Freshman Brandon Smith would add to the Warriors lead late in the fourth quarter to make it 63-31.

Brett Rodriguez would return the kickoff 76 yards for a touchdown with two minutes left, but it was too little too late.

Romel Washington was named the game's Most Valuable Player, running 196 yards on 13 carries and scoring two touchdowns.  Dustin Sharrit was a key contributor, scoring 3 touchdowns on his 20 carries, picking up 89 yards in the process.

Brett Rodriguez scored two touchdowns and picked up 146 yards on 18 carries, most of that coming on the 93 yard touchdown run in the third quarter.

Indian River used misdirection to fake out the Queensbury Spartans.  The Spartans fell victim several times, allowing huge lanes to open up for the Warriors to gain consistent yardage.  And 5' 4" Romel Washington made his short speed pay dividends on the jet sweeps, allowing him to burn the Spartans with 196 yards.  This helped Indian River convert five of their eight third downs.

They also clogged up the holes inside, forcing Queensbury runners to the outside, where defensive backs were waiting to take the ball carrier down.  The Spartans had 289 rushing yards, but only 133 yards of that coming in the second half.  They only had four first downs in the second half, limiting the Spartans possession time, an attribute that the Queensbury Spartans used effectively through their 25 game winning streak

It is the first championship for the squad that played in Section 10 until the 2008-2009 season, but is the first trip to the State Tournament as a representative in Section 3.

Queensbury Spartans (12-1)
Indian River Warriors (13-0)

1st Quarter
11:37 - Erik Wettersten (QSBY) - 4 yard run.  (Escamilla kick) - 7-0
10:57 - Brett Rodriguez (QSBY) - 9 yard run.  (kick failed) - 13-0
03:57 - Brett Rodriguez from Drew Wilson (QSBY) - 57 yard pass.  (run failed) - 19-0
00:54 - Densel Barnes (IR) - 4 yard run.  (Iketau kick) - 19-7

2nd Quarter
11:53 - Romel Washington (IR) - 36 yard run.  (Iketau kick) - 19-14
07:50 - Brett Rodriguez from Drew Wilson (QSBY) - 26 yard pass.  (run failed) - 25-14
07:21 - Dustin Sharrit (IR) - 9 yard run.  (Barnes run) - 25-22
03:01 - Densel Barnes (IR) - 4 yard run.  (Iketeau kick) - 25-29

3rd Quarter
10:29 - Connor Brown (IR) - 23 yard run.  (Iketau kick) - 25-36
05:40 - Dustin Sharrit (IR) - 2 yard run.  (Iketau kick) - 25-43
05:17 - Brett Rodriguez (QSBY) - 93 yard run.  (run failed) - 31-43
04:57 - Romel Washington (IR) - 68 yard run.  (Iketau kick) - 31-50

4th Quarter
04:16 - Dustin Sharrit (IR) - 7 yard run.  (kick failed) - 31-56
02:13 - Brandon Smith (IR) - 9 yard run.  (Iketau kick) - 31-63
02:00 - Brett Rodriguez (IR) - 76 yard kickoff return.  (Escamilla kick) - 38-63

Individual Stats
RUSHING: Queensbury - Brett Rodriguez: 18-146-2; Tyrell Adams: 2-86-0; Chris Goudy: 6-26-0; James Kassebaum: 2-14-0.  Indian River - Romel Washington: 13-196-2; Dustin Sharrit: 20-89-3; Connor Brown: 8-72-1; Densel Barnes: 10-45-2

PASSING:  Queensbury - Drew Wilson: 6-11 162yds, 2TD, INT; Brett Rodriguez: 0-1.  Indian River - Densel Barnes: 1-1 40yds

RECEIVING: Queensbury - Brett Rodriguez: 3-88 57yds, 2TD; Keegan O'Leary: 2-73; Hunter Scott: 1-1.  Indian River - Gary Ruckman: 1-40.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Queensbury vs. Indian River: Things to Know:

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Queensbury Spartans (12-0) vs. Indian River Warriors (12-0)

Start Time: Approximately 3PM.

As Queensbury/Indian River is the second of two games at the Carrier Dome, the game will not begin until after Schalmont/Maine-Endwell wraps up.

That game is scheduled for Noon.

After those two teams are done, they both will meet at mid-field for the awards presentation and championship photo.

Only after all that is done will both Queensbury and Indian River be allowed on the field to warm up.

So it could take upwards of 40 minutes after the conclusion of the first game before the kick-off between Queensbury & Indian River.  Case in point, Hoosick Falls and Chenango Forks finally kicked off at 3:40PM, held back because the Chester/Randolph game ran long.

Home Team: The Western Semifinal winners are the home teams this year at the Carrier Dome, therefore, Indian River will be the home team and will sit on the Press Box side.  Queensbury will be the away team and will sit on the far sideline.  It's opposite of last year's setup, when Queensbury was the home team.

Admission: Admission to the Carrier Dome is $10, which includes the Class B Championship before it between the Schamont Sabres and Maine-Endwell Spartans (kick at Noon).

Parking: There are parking lots a couple blocks to the west of the Carrier Dome, at $10 per car.

Directions: There are several ways you can get to the New York Thurway from the Queensbury area,

  • Take the Northway SOUTH to Exit 15.  Hang a right on the exit ramp for Route 50 SOUTH to Route 29 WEST.  Follow signs for Route 29, heading onto Route 9N past the Hospital before taking a left on WEST AVE.

    Take WEST AVE to Route 29, and take a RIGHT.  Route 29 WEST will take you into Fulton County and JOHNSTOWN.  At Route 30A, take a left and follow signs to the Thruway, taking you into Fonda and Fultonville, where you will catch the New York State Thruway.  Take the Thruway (I-90) WEST towards Buffalo. [$4.75 toll to Syracuse]
  • Take the Northway SOUTH to Exit 12, Route 67.  Take a right for Route 67 WEST towards Ballston Spa, and follow the road through Ballston Spa towards Amsterdam.  In Amsterdam, take Route 30 SOUTH to the Thruway. [$5.15 toll to Syracuse]
  • Take the Northway SOUTH all the way to Albany, catching the New York State Thruway WEST at Exit 1W.  [$6.35 toll to Syracuse]
Once in Syracuse, take Exit 36 for Interstate 81.  Pay the toll and take Interstate 81 SOUTH.  Follow Interstate 81 for about 3 miles to Exit 18 (which is right after I-690), Harrison Street/Adams Street.

Keep left at the fork on the ramp for Adams Street, travelling under I-81 for about 1/2 mile.  Take a left onto Adams Street, looking for Irving Street.  Take a right onto Irving Street and continue for a half mile until you find the Carrier Dome parking on your right.

Travel Time: 3 hours, not including stops.  Keep in mind Sunday is a major travel day for people returning from the Thanksgiving holiday, therefore roads may be more congested than normal.

Weather: There's a slight chance of rain showers in Syracuse, with temperatures in the low-to-mid 40's.

Thoughts from the Press Box: Kingston Musings

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Last year, Cornwall made Queensbury fans sweat as Tyler Peddie was able to make it in to claw the Dragons within a point of the Spartans.

Especially when they went for two.

Mitchel Crispens batted the ball away and Queensbury was one step closer to their first state title.

This year, Cornwall made Queensbury sweat in a great renewal of a game between two teams that deserved to advance to the Dome.

This time, Queensbury came up with the defensive stops when they needed it most, and they were able to win 28-21 to advance to this Sunday's game at the Dome.

It was a game Queensbury really needed.  Very few times this season would Queensbury be required to give their starters a full 48 minute game.  Outside of the Scotia game in Week 9, the outcome wasn't really in doubt in any of their games entering the fourth quarter.  Some games were closer than others, but for the most part, Queensbury had a cushion entering the final frame.

But here, like last year, Cornwall forced Queensbury to have to play a full game with their #1 crew on the field.  It showed that the Spartans have the agility to play four full quarters if they need to.

It would seem like that's a minor thing, but when you get deeper into the tournament, and the teams get stronger, there lies the lingering question of whether or not a team will start to crumble the closer the clock reads 0:00 in the fourth quarter.

Queensbury didn't here.  And because of that, they should be ready to go for the Championship Game.

Penalties: The Queensbury Spartans and the Cornwall Green Dragons executed a mostly penalty-free game.  A lot of that can be at the result of John Irion's attempt to clean up some of the mental mistake penalties, like the holds that have called back several touchdowns during the season.

The Spartans had no holding calls on Friday.  

In fact, the first penalty flag flew in the second quarter, when Erik Wettersten was slapped with a "Hit to the Head" penalty that ultimately resulted in a Cornwall touchdown.   It was the first of two of those penalties for the junior, and Wettersten should be counting his blessings that he wasn't deemed ineligible for the championship.

Penalties like that are something Wettersten needs to watch out for, because in this era we live where concussions are a major concern, they are going to be flagging that more often on all levels of football from prep to the pros.  

After the game, I was outside taking some pictures while they were handing out the honors.  As Jeffrey Underhill was noted as the Defensive Player of the Game for Queensbury, there were people nearby muttering that Underhill "had a good game, but not as good as Erik's".

Not to take away from Underhill's game and award, but Erik Wettersten's name may have been dropped from consideration for that defensive award because of those two personal foul penalties.


Cambridge: The Cambridge Indians fumbled away their chances to play for the State Championship as their first three drives resulted in turnovers.

The Indians ran into a strong squad in the Hambletonians, and with a strong squad, you cannot give them special opportunities.  While the first turnover shouldn't have been called a turnover as the player was out of bounds before it happened, the second turnover on the throw by Ethan English was poorly-advised, and the third was a horrible ball exchange.

Cambridge had their opportunities, especially the one gifted to them when the refs missed a fumble deep in Hambletonian territory late in the game, which ultimately led to Caleb Rowland's touchdown to the right side.  

But the turnovers hurt.  Badly.

The Indians had a great season, making it one step deeper than they did last year when they were knocked off by the Moriah Vikings in the regional round.


Syracuse-bound: For the third time in as many years, we're heading to Syracuse to cover a State Championship.  It's something I never thought would happen when we made plans to start broadcasting local high school sports, and will reflect on that more on a special "Thoughts from the Press Box" come Sunday morning.

We'll be on the air live from the Carrier Dome approximately 2:45PM, when things wrap up after the Schalmont/Maine-Endwell game.

For those who expecting the Buffalo Bills on FOX Sports Radio 1230, be advised we are moving the Bills broadcast to our sister station, CBS Sports Radio 1410 (WENU) so that we can carry the Championship game.

NYSPHSAA State Championship Schedule

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All games at the Carrier Dome, Syracuse
The Western State Representative will be the home team for all five games

Class D Championship
IX-Chester Hambletonians (10-3) 41, VI-Randolph Cardinals (12-1) - 48

Class C Championship
II-Hoosick Falls Panthers (12-1) 14, IV-Chenango Forks Blue Devils (11-1) 20

Class AA Championship
IX-Newburgh Free Academy Goldbacks (10-3) 20, VI-Jamestown Red Raiders (12-1) 41

Class B Championship
II-Schalmont Sabres (12-0) vs. IV-Maine-Endwell Spartans (12-0) - Noon

Class A Championship
II-Queensbury Spartans (12-0) vs. Indian River Warriors (12-0) - 3 p.m.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Section 2 Teams Who Have Played at Syracuse

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Since the State Tournament began in 1993
Local teams in bold; State Champions in CAPS

1993: No Section 2 representatives

1994: Rensselaer (D-lost to Caledonia-Mumford 36-20); Hudson (C-lost to Walton 28-18)

1995: Rensselaer (D-lost to Caledonia-Mumford 41-0); AMSTERDAM (B-beat Lake Shore 11-8); Shenendehowa (A-lost to Jamestown 32-18)

1996: WATERVLIET (C-beat LeRoy 20-19); Ravena (B-lost to Springville 9-0); TROY (A-beat Whitesboro 27-13)

1997: Queensbury (A-lost to Vestal 14-11); Troy (AA-lost to Fairport 35-14)

1998: Lake George (D-lost to Maple Grove 39-6)Queensbury (A-lost to Aquinas 33-16); TROY (AA-beat Fairport 26-9)

1999: CAMBRIDGE (D-beat Clymer 28-0); Troy (AA-Lost to Webster 35-18)

2000: Fort Edward (D-lost to Doldgeville 55-3)

2001: Cambridge (C-lost to Delhi 39-21)

2002: Shenendehowa (AA-lost to Webster-Schroeder 28-7)

2003: Cambridge (D-lost to Onondaga 41-21); Hoosick Falls (C-lost to Caledonia-Mumford 30-26)

2004: No Section 2 representatives

2005: Cambridge (D-lost to Randolph 35-6); AMSTERDAM (A-beat Geneva 35-14)

2006: Albany Academy (B-lost to Geneva 33-7)

2007: Lansingburgh (A-lost to Aquinas 34-12)

2008: Burnt Hills (A-lost to Sweet Home 35-28)

2009: Burnt Hills (A-lost to Sweet Home 34-7)

2010: Schalmont (B-lost to Hornell 50-20); Troy (AA-lost to Rush-Henrietta 40-28)

2011: Burnt Hills (A-lost to Maine-Endwell 27-20)

2012: HOOSICK FALLS (C-beat Hornell 34-21); Glens Falls (B-lost to Maine-Endwell 42-12); BURNT HILLS (A-beat Sweet Home 40-20)

2013: Schalmont (B-lost to Maine-Endwell 22-21); QUEENSBURY (A-beat Williamsville North 36-7)

2014: Hoosick Falls (C-faces Chenango Forks); Schalmont (B-faces Maine-Endwell); Queensbury (A-faces Indian River)

Déjà Vu - Queensbury is Syracuse-bound again

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KINGSTON - For the third time in three years, a North Country team will be playing at the Carrier Dome.

The Queensbury Spartans will play for the NYSPHSAA Class A Championship next Sunday after beating the Cornwall Green Dragons 28-21.

Tyrell Adams scored three touchdowns, including a 61 yard touchdown in the fourth quarter, to extend the Spartans lead to 28-13.

Cornwall spotted the Spartans a 14-0 lead after Brett Rodriguez set up his one yard touchdown run after somehow catching a 37 yard pass from Drew Wilson with teammate Keegan O'Leary and two Cornwall defenders also vying for the ball.

But the Green Dragons were able to drive down the field, capping a 2:22 drive with Matt Robinson's three yard touchdown run to half the deficit with 52 seconds left in the first half.  The touchdown was aided by Erik Wettersten's personal foul penalty for a hit to the head that gave the Green Dragons bonus yards.  The Spartans ran out the clock on the ensuing drive, and kicked off to the Green Dragons to start the third quarter.

But the Green Dragons were unable to do anything, and the Spartans began a punishing eight minute drive that would wear down the Green Dragons, finished by Tyrell Adams's three yard touchdown run, his second of the game.

After both teams traded six points, including Adams 61 yard run up the left side with Drew Wilson as a lead blocker, the Cornwall Green Dragons clawed within one possession with Kevin Gangemi's three yard touchdown run with 2:20 left to play.

An onside kick attempt failed, as the Spartans were able to retrieve the ball at the 45 yard line.  Cornwall then used all three of their timeouts to stop the clock, but found themselves helpless when Erik Wettersten was able to seal victory with his three yard run for the first down with less than two minutes to play.

Drew Wilson took two knees, and the Queensbury Spartans celebrated their second straight semifinal victory over the Cornwall Green Dragons.

Last year, Queensbury had to hold on, needing a Mitchell Crispens deflection on a two point conversion try that would have given Cornwall a 29-28 lead with over three minutes to play.  Instead, the Green Dragons trailed, and Kody Bruno iced the game with his touchdown run to make it 36-27.

The Queensbury Spartans have won their 25th straight game, and will face Indian River in the Championship at the Carrier Dome on Sunday.  The Warriors beat Irondequoit in the Western Semifinals 49-22.

It is the second straight trip to the Carrier Dome for Queensbury, who last year claimed the Class A title when they beat the Williamsville North Spartans (Section 6) 36-7.  This is Queensbury's fourth trip to Syracuse overall, going in back-to-back years in 1997 and 1998.

#2 CORNWALL (11-1):       0   7   0  14  21
#1 QUEENSBURY (12-0):   8   6   8   6   28

1st Quarter:
02:43 - Tyrell Adams (QSBY) - 8 yard run.  (Adams run) - 0-8

2nd Quarter:
03:14 - Brett Rodriguez (QSBY) - 1 yard run.  (kick blocked) - 0-14
00:52 - Matt Robinson (CORN) - 3 yard run.  (Growney kick) - 7-14

3rd Quarter:
0:30 - Tyrell Adams (QSBY) - 3 yard run.  (Adams run) - 7-22

4th Quarter:
09:28 - Kobie Thomas from Jason Bailey (CORN) - 8 yard pass.  (pass failed) - 13-22
05:56 - Tyrell Adams (QSBY) - 61 yard run.  (run failed) - 13-28
02:20 - Kevin Gagemi (CORN) - 3 yard run. (Peddie from Bailey pass) - 21-28


The NYSPHSAA Class A Championship
Queensbury Spartans (12-0) vs. Indian River Warriors (12-0)
Sunday, November 30th, 2014 - 3PM

IF YOU GO: The Carrier Dome is on the campus of Syracuse University.  Take the New York State Thruway (Interstate 90) Westbound towards Syracuse/Buffalo. 

Take Exit 36 for Interstate 81, Syracuse/Watertown.

Follow Interstate 81 South to Exit 18 (right after Interstate 690), Harrison Street/Adams Street.

Keep left for Adams Street, traveling underneath Interstate 81 for about 1/2 mile.  Take a left onto Adams Street, then look for Irving Street.  Take a right and continue for 1/2 mile until you find the parking lot on the right.

TOLLS: $4.75 from Fonda-Fultonville (Exit 28); $5.15 from Amsterdam (Exit 27); $6.35 from Albany (Exit 24)
ADMISSION: $10 (includes admission to the early game - Schalmont vs. Maine-Endwell at Noon) + fees.  [Purchase Tickets Online]

Travel Time: Approximately 3 hours.  Please bear in mind that Sunday is a major return day for travelers from the long holiday weekend, and therefore traffic may be heavier than normal on Interstate 90.

IF YOU DON'T GO: We will have the live broadcast from Syracuse on FOX Sports Radio 1230 beginning at approximately 2:45PM, depending on when the Class B Semifinal game wraps up.  

In addition, there will be television coverage on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel, Channel 50 here in the Glens Falls area.