By ADAM SHINDER
For both the Broadalbin-Perth Patriots and Johnstown Sir Bills, tonight’s game at Knox Field presents a simple scenario: Win, and you’re in the Section II Class B playoffs next week. Lose, and the meaningful part of your season is over.
Fulton County rivals B-P and Johnstown will clash for the fourth and final playoff spot out of the Class B North Division tonight at 7. Both teams had chances over the past two weeks to improve their postseason chances, but both let fourth-quarter leads against Hudson Falls slip away as the Tigers were able to lock up their playoff spot.
Now, it comes down to one game for one spot. Win, or go home.
“Do or die to get in,” B-P coach Jim Pelneau said Friday night following the Patriots’ 22-20 loss to Hudson Falls. “We want to get in, we want to give it a shot and get into sectionals, that’s our goal.”
B-P (2-4, 0-3 Class B North) is mired in a three-game losing streak. The first two of those losses came against powerhouses Glens Falls and Schuylerville, but the Patriots had themselves in position to win last week’s game against Hudson Falls before a pair of fourth-quarter turnovers led to the game slipping out of their control.
Even in defeat, junior quarterback Brodryk Benton threw for 208 yards and three touchdowns on just nine completions against Hudson Falls, including touchdown strikes of 84 yards to Alex Gardner and 64 yards to Nick Geren. The Patriots did struggle to get their running game going against Hudson Falls, and will look to re-establish fullback Lucas Coon and wingback Joey Vitalis tonight against Johnstown in the hopes to get back to the balanced attack that led the Patriots to early-season wins against Lansingburgh and Gloversville.
Johnstown (1-5, 0-3) enters on a four-game losing streak since a Week 2 victory over winless Ichabod Crane, but after a slow start to the season on offense, the Sir Bills have shown signs of explosiveness the last two weeks, putting up a combined 64 points in losses to Hudson Falls and Green Tech.
The Sir Bills have struggled to produce a consistent running game throughout the season, but quarterback Trevor Porter leads Section II with 1,168 passing yards and is coming off a career-best game in Friday’s 44-36 shootout loss to Green Tech that saw the senior signal-caller throw for 337 yards and four touchdowns while adding 125 rushing yards on 22 carries.
Receiver Austin Fullington has put up back-to-back big games, with 15 catches for 286 yards and four touchdowns over the last two weeks, while Trey Stover had 156 yards on just four catches against Green Tech.
A look at the rest of the action around the area this week:
Canajoharie-Fort Plain at Rensselaer (Tonight, 7 p.m.) — C-FP’s hopes of an undefeated season were derailed Saturday when Warrensburg finished strong to turn a close game entering the fourth quarter into a 40-14 runaway. The Cougars can still claim a playoff spot with wins the next two weeks against Rensselaer and Hoosic Valley. Rensselaer has struggled massively this season, with the Rams being outscored by a margin of 275-25 in their six games. The Rams have not scored more than seven points in a game this season.
Holy Trinity at Fonda-Fultonville (Saturday, 1 p.m.) — The Braves will close out the regular season against an opponent that’s playing as well as any Class C team in the state right now. While Fonda-Fultonville has lost three straight since its Week 3 win over Corinth, Holy Trinity sits at 5-1 and is riding a four-game winning streak that’s seen the Pride outscore its opponents 192-31. Holy Trinity has a strong line led by University of Connecticut commit Liam Maloney, and a versatile array of playmakers. Sophomore quarterback Joe Tortello has thrown 13 touchdown passes, running back Dion Sexton has four games with more than 100 rushing yards and receiver Nacier Hundley has scored 13 total touchdowns — seven on offense, and six on special teams and defense, including four return touchdowns in one game Sept. 22 against Corinth.