Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Thoughts From The Press Box: Hudson Falls 46, Ichabod Crane 27

In the pre-game write up, I noted that Hudson Falls needed to stop their mental mistakes if they were to take a run towards the Class B playoffs.

They didn't.  The Tigers made several miscues, but were saved by the Ichabod Crane mistakes as the Tigers won 46-27 to improve their record to 2-1.

I don't want to dwell much on those mistakes.  But with division-leading Schuylerville coming to town this Saturday, these are mistakes that Coach Bill Strong is going to have to get a handle on in order to make a mark in Class B West.  Schuylerville's coach John Bowen isn't going to be as forgiving as the Riders were on Saturday.

The biggest miscues came from Hudson Falls's Special Teams unit, which allowed five decent kickoff returns of 30-plus yards, which in turn led to points on the board for the Riders in several occasions.  And on one occasion, Ichabod Crane was given the ball with great field position after a fumble during a kickoff return by Hudson Falls.

Both of Ichabod Crane's scoring drives in the second quarter that pushed the Riders to within six at the half came thanks to great field position, and was aided by the golden laundry.

Hudson Falls was able to pull away in the third quarter thanks to two turnovers, and a critical third down where Ichabod Crane was flagged on holding on a play that would otherwise be a first down deep in Hudson Falls territory.  The Riders were unable to convert on fourth down, and Hudson Falls was soon able to blow the game open.

The point of this - Ichabod Crane was forgiving.  The Tigers might not be as lucky this Saturday when they face Schuylerville.

But that's the negative.  Let's take a look at the positives.

First, Hudson Falls showed that they do not always have to rely on Geno Brancati in order to put points on the board.  Heading into the game on Saturday, Brancati was responsible for 9 of the Tigers 10 touchdowns.  While Brancati scored three of the Tigers touchdowns, he was not alone in the offensive effort.

We saw a strong effort from Dalton Hogan, who passed for three touchdowns.  Hogan completed 9 of 10 passes for 192 yards.

On some aspects, it was a tough game for Ichabod Crane.  But there were bright spots.  Zack Herbst didn't get a lot on the ground, rushing 31 yards on 10 carries, but made quite the play in the first quarter to tie the game with his 47 yard option throw to Alden Bilinski.  Alex Lambert completed three of his first four passes, connecting twice for touchdowns in the second quarter to draw the Riders closer.

If the Riders didn't make the errors in the third quarter, including Lambert's interception by Geno Brancati, and Grove Cleveland's fumble return for a touchdown, this could have been a closer game.

It shows you how much turnovers can change the course of a game.  And how important field position is, and more importantly, defending the kickoff return.

NEXT WEEK: We're off to Glens Falls for the first of two games.  This Saturday at 1:30 P.M., the Glens Falls Indians host the Cohoes Tigers in a rematch of last year's quarterfinals game.  Then six days later under portable lights, it's our first Friday Night Lights as the Glens Falls Indians host the Hudson Falls Tigers in the 2014 renewal of the Jug Game.  Kickoff for that game is 7:00 P.M.

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