Every football coach will tell that each game means something; that no one game is more important than another. And, on that basis, the surging Granville Central School Golden Horde football team finds itself on the outside looking in at next week’s Class C sectional tournament. Mario Torres’s eleven used a stingy defense and speed on the edges to complete a 21-18 comeback victory last Friday night over the home standing Brittonkill-Tamarac Bengals for their third consecutive win.
Unfortunately, a week one loss to Stillwater Central School on the Warriors turf cost GCS a playoff spot. Try and follow this logic. Both teams finished with 3-3 Class C, North divisional records with the Warriors head to head meeting win being one of the deciding factors which cost the Horde a tournament entry. But, overall, Stillwater finished with a 3-4 record to the Horde’s 4-3 overall slate. Apparently, only divisional games count in whether you’re among the top four teams from either the North or South divisions to get into the tournament.
It gets better. Voorheesville, a team the Horde beat 34-0 in week six, is in the tournament. The Blackbirds have the same overall record (4-3) as the Horde. A game the Horde traveled 60 miles to play, and won, doesn’t factor because Voorheesville is one of the top four South teams. In this case scenario, a head-to-head Granville win meant nothing. And, how about this? Voorheesville is the third seed from the South division.
So, you’ve got a team with one less overall win (Stillwater at 3-4) and a team which the Horde beat (Voorheesville at 4-3) in the tournament while the Horde are out.
Anyway, back to the very good game which the Horde played against the Bengals.
On a night when the temperature hovered around 40 degrees on the Clums Corners turf, the Horde took a 6-0 lead when senior running back Evan Hoagland completed a 21-yard touchdown drive by bolting up the middle from six yards out. Jacob Greinke’s PAT boot put GCS ahead 7-0 with 2:59 left in the first quarter.
The Bengals got within 7-6 after David Bornt scored on a thirteen yard run. The PAT was blocked with :13 left in period one. A long kickoff return set up the short 35-yard Tamarac TD drive.
The Bengals took a 12-7 halftime spread with :15 left in the half. Marcus Schur took a 3-yard pass in the right flat from Dan Motzer into the end zone. The conversion run failed.
Tamarac would score their final TD with 3:25 left in the third quarter. Cody Sullivan caught a 27-yard scoring pass from Motzer as B-T took an 18-7 lead. The conversion pass failed.
But, Granville would be the fourth team in regular season play to come back and beat the Bengals. Tamarac, having lost three games in the final two minutes, saw the Horde get within 18-13. Junior running back Ronnie Taylor took a reverse handoff from junior quarterback Jacob Young, went off left tackle, broke a tackle at the line of scrimmage and darted down the left sideline 23 yards to pay dirt. Greinke made it 18-14 with 1:00 left in period three.
Granville, with its speedy ground game tiring the Bengal defense, would take advantage of one last Tamarac miscue. The Tamarac punter dropped back early in the fourth quarter, had to reach high for a snap from center and was tackled immediately by the Horde defense at the Bengal 29-yard line. Hoagland would do the rest. Running right with a pitch on the very next play from scrimmage, he headed for the sideline, cut back and was gone down the sideline for a 29-yard TD scamper. Greinke’s PAT boot with 10:16 left to play allowed GCS to walk away with their hard fought, come from behind win.
Said Horde Coach Mario Torres of the win,” We made our adjustments at halftime. We are getting the most from our kids. We are putting a program together and we are seeing the results of a program we are putting together. I’m really happy for our kids. They are starting to get it. We made some key adjustments in our blitz game.”
Said Bengal Coach Eric Roadcap of the Horde’s effort against his team, “I knew coming into the game it was going to be tough. We’ve lost three games this year in the last two minutes. We’ve been playing well. That #10(Hoagland) did a great job. He played hard the whole game. He has a lot of speed.”
Hoagland, deflecting praise of himself, had a different take on the game. “I think the biggest thing is we didn’t give up. We fought and we fought. That’s what happens when everybody comes together. I can’t get over the fact we didn’t give up. Brad McEceron held his block on that second touchdown. It was a team effort.”
Bailey Pratt, a junior linebacker/running back summed up the Horde’s effort for the game. “We were down the first half and we fought back. Winners have a mentality and it showed tonight. Big players make big plays.” They sure do.
Granville will play at Coxsackie Athens Friday night.