Saturday, November 1, 2014

Game Preview: Scotia at Queensbury

The Scotia Tartans and Queensbury Spartans do battle in the Sectional Semifinals, to be broadcasted on FOX Sports Radio 1230 beginning at 1:15 p.m. on Saturday

QUEENSBURY - One team uses a ground and pound technique to send their opponents into submission.

The other, a little more balanced.  But still explosive.

That's what you get on Saturday when the Queensbury Spartans (8-0) host the Scotia Tartans (6-2) at 1:30 p.m. in the Class A Sectional Semifinals.

Queensbury's double wing offense for coach John Irion means you're not sure who is going to get the ball, you just know someone is likely to cut up the middle, aided by the offensive line, to chew up some yards and clock.  It's been Irion's primary offensive set since coming to Queensbury in 1997, and a major reason why the Spartans have a 16:1 run-to-pass yard ratio.

The offense starts with Drew Wilson, the quarterback for the Spartans.  In the Spartans offensive package, his major role is to effectively hand off to one of his wings, but he has been known to attempt a pass.  For the season, he's 5/16, passing for 111 yards and three touchdowns, including a pass to Brandon Kauffman last week against Averill Park.

Their corp of running backs also mean that Queensbury will not have a running back at the top of the standings for run yardage.  Tyrell Adams has the most yards, running for 712 yards during the first eight games of the season.  That's good for 29th in Section 2.  He has reached the end zone 10 times, including twice against Averill Park.

Junior Brett Rodriguez is their second leading running back, compiling 627 yards on 52 carries.  His time was limited last Saturday when a shoulder injury sidelined him in the first quarter, and is questionable for the game against Scotia.

Christopher Goudy also gets several carries during a game, with 490 yards in the first eight games.  He had a season-high 124 yards last week against Averill Park.

Erik Wettersten, Hunter Scott and James Kassebaum also have been known to carry the ball at regularity for the Spartans.

The Scotia Tartans are a little more balanced, with 1,300 rushing yards compared to 1,000 passing yards.  A lot of this is thanks to the growth of Dan Zeglen, the Tartans quarterback.

Zeglen is 68/120 for 894 yards, throwing for 11 touchdowns this season.  He had a season-high 274 passing yards against Averill Park.  But defenses have to watch out -- Zeglen has been known to keep it himself, running for 502 yards on 90 carries and 6 touchdowns.

Marty McCollum is one of Zeglen's favorite targets, connecting with McCollum 22 times for 431 yards and four scores.

Ire Pinney is another target, with 12 catches for 178 yards.  Pinney is also a threat when he lines up in the backfield, rushing for 226 yards on 31 carries and four touchdowns.

And Jon Clark is another threat deep for Zeglen, with 192 receiving yards during the season.

The Queensbury Spartans were able to cycle in their backups in the second half during their quarterfinal game against Averill Park, winning 35-6 in a team effort.  The Scotia Tartans had to sweat things out in the fourth quarter as Bishop Maginn scored a touchdown with less than a minute left to close the gap to 14-12.  But the Tartans defense came up big during the two point conversion try and was able to hold on for the win.

The Spartans and the Tartans met back in Week 4, with Queensbury scoring on a Brett Rodriguez kick-off return and an option pass to close the second quarter from Rodriguez to Erik Wettersten.   The Spartans would add once more to win 40-17 in a game where the Tartans early collected on the Spartans mistakes and had the lead for awhile during the first half.

Both teams hope to correct those miscues, and to control the clock.  Kevin Warren remarks that the Tartans goal is to slow down the clock, noting that the Spartans desire to ground and pound can lead to long clock-draining drives.

The winner meets Burnt Hills in the Sectional Championship next Saturday night, 7 p.m. at Shenendehowa High.  Burnt Hills beat the Amsterdam Rugged Rams 30-13 on Friday night on the road to earn their ninth straight berth to the title game.

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