By MICHAEL KELLY
FONDA -- Late in the third quarter of Fonda-Fultonville's 49-12 win Saturday against Voorheesville, the Braves' Cam Ives came limping off the field, the cramps in his legs affecting his gait.
Seeing Ives coming toward him, F-F head coach Tom Carpenter's shoulders slumped a bit.
"You've just got to stretch it out, Cam," said Carpenter. "I don't know what to tell you."
An unfeeling coach? Hardly. Carpenter just could not believe his team's luck. Ives was only the latest F-F player to succumb Saturday to leg cramps, an affliction which seemed contagious on the Braves' sideline.
"We have plenty of stuff for them to drink and we tell them to hydrate," said Carpenter. "One of my things I say is: 'Sleep, eat and hydrate.'"
But there was nothing the Braves could do Saturday to escape the ailment. Halfback Pat Hart battled lower-leg cramps in both legs during the first half before not returning to action in the second half, and Kevin Myers went down in the third quarter, just beating out Ives.
"I don't know what was going on," said quarterback Russ Williams. "I really don't."
Williams was one of the healthy-for-the-duration Braves. At one point, Carpenter had so few healthy bodies available to him, he jokingly considered putting Williams into the game on defense. Instead, F-F barely made it through the rout, giving time to second-string players and junior-varsity call-ups like Jake Mundell, a freshman who recorded two tackles and carried the ball four times for 33 yards in the fourth quarter.
How weird did things get Saturday? How about this: After the Braves had scored a touchdown to pull ahead 36-6, F-F had to go for a two-point conversion because both its kicker (Hart) and back-up kicker (Myers) were grounded.
Hart's legs were the worst of the bunch. The junior hurt his right calf on an early run, then felt a twinge in his left calf after catching a screen pass. Later, as the first half came to a close, both of his legs gave out on him, forcing him to collapse to the ground.
He stayed right there for the entire halftime, as F-F coaches tried to loosen up his leg muscles.
"But their hands were cramping up trying to rub them out for me," he said. "It just wouldn't go away."
Hart eventually was brought into the locker room and did not play in the second half.
The worst thing about Saturday's weird injury bout? Assistant coach Alex Mancini, Williams said, is always in the Braves' ears about drinking pickle juice before games to ward off cramps. Saturday's oddness will only embolden him, the quarterback said.
"We know in practice, Monday, he's going to make sure he gets his point across -- again," Williams said.