Linemen go through a drill during football practice Wednesday at Broadalbin-Perth High School. (Adam Shinder/Recorder staff)
By ADAM SHINDER
BROADALBIN — The Broadalbin-Perth Patriots came through the toughest two-week stretch of their regular season with a couple of losses, but the knowledge that if they can put a full 48 minutes together, they can go toe-to-toe with the better football teams in the Section II Class B picture.
In back-to-back games against Glens Falls and Schuylerville — respectively, the No. 1 and No. 5 teams in this week’s New York State Sportswriters Association’s Class B football rankings — the Patriots suffered a pair of losses by a combined score of 97-30, but those results belie what Patriots coach Jim Pelneau saw as some solid stretches of play from his team. It’s simply that the Patriots weren’t able to cash in on sustained momentum, while a combination of turnovers and quick-strike offenses gave Glens Falls and Schuylervile the chance to drop the hammer.
“It was the same story each of the last two weeks,” Pelneau said. “We know those two teams are as good as anyone in the state. If we clean up the mistakes at Glens Falls, we might hang around more. Last week (against Schuylerville), we had the lead after the first quarter and we didn’t convert on a fourth-and-1 going in. Then, the wheels came off, they ended up getting an onside kick and you go from 7-3 to 21-3 to end the half. That kind of took the wind out of our sails.”
In the next two weeks, the Patriots (2-3, 0-2 Class B North) need a pair of complete-game efforts to keep their Class B playoff hopes alive. Wins the next two weeks should lock up the No. 3 seed out of the North Division, and that push starts tonight at 7 when B-P hosts the Hudson Falls Tigers at Patriot Field.
“We played two good halves or so in the last two games,” Pelneau said. “We’ve got to go out there and win the next two, and that sets us up.”
The Patriots’ 49-10 loss to Schuylervile was also preceded by a week of practice that, thanks to the overbearing heat disrupting the team’s routine — “It really throws a wrench into some of what you want to do,” Pelneau said — didn’t get the club ready to deal with the Black Horses’ physicality on both sides of the ball.
As the Patriots have gone through their preparations for Hudson Falls (3-2, 1-1), Pelneau has observed the team going back to business as usual.
“Last week was a little bit of an anomaly,” Pelneau said. “We didn’t have a great week of practice with no pads, and Schuylerville’s a great team. Now, we’re getting back to fundamentals and it’s been a good week.”
The hope for B-P is that a better week of practice will help get the team back to the form it carried during the two games that preceded the back-to-back against Glens Falls and Schuylerville, which saw the Patriots notch a pair of impressive road wins against Lansingburgh and Gloversville.
In that stretch, quarterback Brodryk Benton turned in a pair of impressive performances — highlighted by a career game against Gloversville that saw him throw for 232 yards and account for four total touchdowns — while running back Lucas Coon rushed for more than 100 yards in both games. Defensively, disruptive end Kobe Waldvogel racked up three sacks and two fumble recoveries.
If the Patriots can return to that brand of football tonight — and next week in their regular season finale at Johnstown — things should be looking up going into the first week of the postseason.
“That’s been the theme all week,” Pelneau said.
In Hudson Falls, B-P faces a team coming into Patriot Field with plenty of momentum. After a season-opening win over Ichabod Crane, the Tigers suffered consecutive losses to Cobleskill-Richmondville and Schuylerville, but have rebounded the past two weeks with a 24-8 win over Mohonasen and Saturday’s 44-28 win over Johnstown that saw HF score three straight touchdowns in the fourth quarter to take the lead away for the Sir Bills.
In the past two weeks, the Tigers have leaned heavily on a two-pronged running game with quarterback Riley Maddison — who took over for injured starter Caleb Condon earlier in the year — and fullback Schuyler Russell combining for 475 yards and eight touchdowns on 99 carries.
Pelneau’s had his team preparing for the Tigers’ inside-out combination all week.
“They come right at you. They fire off the ball, they’re physical,” he said. “Their quarterback got hurt earlier in the year and they moved around a couple pieces. We’ll see who ends up playing, whether it’s their normal starter (Condon) or this other kid (Maddison). We’ll be prepared either way.”