Round One: Cambridge wins in rout; rematch looms in playoffs

C ambridge’s football team confirmed what theWhitehallcoaching staff already knew, that the Indians are a good team.

The undefeated Cambridge Indians (7-0) dismantled the Railroaders 48-0 inWhitehall’s final regular season game, held Saturday afternoon inCambridge.

Playing perhaps their best game of the season,Cambridgeliterally ran byWhitehall, racking up 446 yards on the ground as they displayed the type of execution that has made them the premier football program in the area over the last decade.

“They were just so fast and they do everything well,” said defensive coordinator Neil Hughes.

Aaron Mulready led the way forCambridgescoring three touchdowns on 117 yards. Skyler Saunders rushed for a game high 153 yards and two touchdowns, and Matt Parmenter added 101 yards and a score of his own as the Indians rolled out to an insurmountable 34-0 lead at halftime.

Josh Hoagland managed to gain 94 yards on 20 carries but the rest of the Whitehall attack was held to a total of 68 yards as several key players spent most of the second half dinged up with injuries.

“We couldn’t account for their speed,” head coach Justin Culligan said. “They were fast and very efficient. It’s tough to simulate their no-huddle (offense) in practice.

They’re tough, that’s a good team. They’re 7-0 for a reason.”

The Railroaders will have a little extra time to lick their wounds after the defeat.

Whitehall’s final game of the season against Spa Catholic was canceled last week after the Saints were forced to forfeit the rest of their season because of injuries that left them with too few players.

The Railroaders had concerned scheduled another game to fill the void but the coaching staff made the decision that it was better to take the extra week to prepare and heal for Sectional play.

Because of the cancellation,Whitehallwill receive a forfeit victory and finish the season with a 5-3 record which is good enough for the fourth and final playoff spot in Class D.

Unfortunately,Cambridgeis poised to finish the season as the number one seed, meaning they’ll playWhitehallin the opening round of Sectional play at7 p.m.on Saturday, Oct. 29 in Schuylerville.

Culligan said the Railroaders coaching staff has already begun devising a game plan for the rematch.

“We saw them on the field and we know what we have to do,” he said. “We’re going to get back to fundamentals. It’s the little things. We’re not that far off.”

One thing the Railroaders will need to work on is their tackling.Whitehallhas been gashed in three games-against Warrensburg,FortEdwardandCambridge-when they failed to wrap up the ball carrier and finish off tackles.

They’ll also need to address their blocking, which was subpar for the first time all season against a surprisingly physicalCambridgeteam.

If Evan McLaughlin is given clearance to play, that could help, but more than likely players are going to have to step and play better.

Culligan said the coaching staff saved some offensive and defensive looks for the rematch and may have an added wrinkle to throw at Cambridge the second time around.

“We didn’t show them much on offense or defense. We’ll get the kids ready and see them in two weeks,” Culligan said.

The Indians have yet to play a close game all season, so if the Railroaders can avoid the kind of start they had Saturday, they may have a punchers chance in Schuylerville. 

During Saturday’s gameCambridgewasted no time getting on the scoreboard. The Indians returned the opening kickoff to the 31 yard line and on the first play from scrimmage, Parmenter took the reverse 31 yards down the left sideline for the opening score, and after a successful point after attempt,Whitehalltrailed 7-0 17 seconds into the game.

On Whitehall’s first possession, the Cambridge defense picked off Justin Hoagland’s pass and several plays later Aaron Mulready scored his first touchdown of the game from one yard out to complete the 90 yard drive and give the Indians a 13-0 lead just over four minutes into the game, effectively taking the wind of the Railroaders sails.

Mulready scored on a 44 yard run later in the quarter and a 28 yard run halfway through the second quarter for a 27-0 lead. Saunders would add a nine yard run before the half for a 34-0 lead.

Cambridge came out and added two more scores behind Saunders two yard run several minutes into the second half and a nine yard run from Jake Pierce near the end of the third quarter, by which point several of Whitehall’s players were sitting on the sidelines nursing bumps and bruises or were being held out to save themselves for the rematch in two weeks.

On the bright side,Whitehallwas able to give several of its younger members some playing time near the end of the game and emerged with no serious injuries. They also got a firsthand look at what they are trying to become.

“Ultimately, our goal to get to where they are; to be competitive every year,” Culligan said.

 

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