Patriots off to a fast 2-0 start

JOHNSTOWN -- Late in Friday night's second quarter, Broadalbin-Perth defensive back Jake Coveney had his big chance for redemption.

A week ago, the junior had let an easy interception spin out of his hands. But with Friday's leap and a catch in his team's end zone at Knox Field against rival Johnstown, Coveney snuffed out a key drive for the Sir Bills and the Patriots rolled from there to a 23-0 victory.

"I just focused on catching it, 100 percent," said Coveney. "Last week, the guys had made fun of me for dropping a pick and I didn't want that to happen again."

The ribbing had continued into Friday night's warm-ups.

"I told him before the game: 'Last week, you had stone hands,'" said B-P senior halfback Luigi Magliocca. "I knew he was pissed off about it, and he stepped up for us tonight."

Coveney's touchdown-ruining interception of Johnstown quarterback Matt Szurek came with just more than three minutes to play in the first half, with B-P clinging to a seven-point lead after Mike Visco had rushed for a short score early in the quarter. But, after Coveney's pick, B-P added a 38-yard field goal from Zach Morreale to close out the half and used a big fourth quarter to march its way to a road victory.

"It's huge," B-P head coach Jim Pelneau said of his team's 2-0 start in the Section II Class B West Division.

"Every game we play is a division game this year, so we've just got to keep winning," Pelneau continued.

For the second week in a row, it was the B-P (2-0, 2-0) defense that provided the Patriots' spark, as Coveney had two interceptions -- he added one late in the fourth quarter -- defensive back Andrew Gorzycki added one of his own and defensive end Andre Taylor recovered a fumble that lineman Pierre LaPort forced.

The B-P defense finally broke the Sir Bills (0-2, 0-2) spirit late in the third quarter. Starting with the ball in the second half, Johnstown drove down the field and was set up with a fresh set of downs at the B-P 7-yard line. But, after three rushes went nowhere, Johnstown's Ryan Auty broke free on an outside run -- until B-P linebacker Darius Reyes drove Auty out of bounds at the 3-yard line, ending the Sir Bills' drive.

"I just like being on the field, doing whatever I can for my team," Reyes said.

It was a play similar to one a week ago, when Reyes and Taylor combined to stop a Scotia-Glenville 2-point conversion late in the contest.

"Two weeks in a row, to be able to do that tells a lot about our heart, our character," said Pelneau. "It's a good feeling when you can come up with those plays."

Reyes made a lot of plays Friday night, as the junior led the Patriots in tackles and rushed for a game-high 94 yards on 14 carries.

The Patriots' red-zone stand sparked a 97-yard scoring drive, an eight-play excursion which ended with Magliocca punching in the touchdown from two yards out. Two drives later, Magliocca reached the end zone again on a 35-yard scamper.

Magliocca had struggled in Week 1, rushing for fewer than 10 yards. But the senior had 47 yards and two scores Friday, a night capped by his first big run of the season.

"It felt really good, but it didn't only feel good for me," said Magliocca. "I know it felt good for the lineman to bust one like that because that's the first one we've busted for 25-plus yards, probably. ... The hole was wide open, so I give 100 percent of the credit to those guys blocking for me."

B-P rushed for 207 yards in the contest, while Morreale -- the team's junior quarterback -- was 6-of-14 passing for 97 yards. Morreale was intercepted once.

Meanwhile, the Johnstown offense committed four turnovers and only gained 184 yards of total offense. Of those yards, 54 came on its final drive against the B-P reserves.

Shutting down the Sir Bills' offense was the top priority for B-P Friday night. Coveney said achieving the program's first shutout since 2011 was on the team's mind all week.

"I wanted a big zero up on the scoreboard for my defense," said Coveney. "We wanted to shut them down."