In­di­ans over­come slow of­fen­sive start to top Beek­man­town, earn spot in state semi­fi­nals

Albany Times Union - - FRONT PAGE - By James Allen

Glens Falls beat Beek­man­town 21-7 Fri­day night to ad­vance to the Class B foot­ball semis.

David Bar­clay had no trouble giv­ing him­self and the other 10 de­fen­sive starters for Glens Falls an A-plus grade re­gard­ing Fri­day’s per­for­mance in the Class B state quar­ter­fi­nals against Beek­man­town. When it came time to of­fer up a grade for the In­di­ans’ of­fen­sive work, Bar­clay strug­gled to come up with the proper mark.

“It is hard to put a let­ter grade on it,” said Bar­clay, a ju­nior cap­tain who starts at re­ceiver and line­backer for the In­di­ans.

Al­though the Sec­tion II Class B cham­pi­ons left points out on the Steuer­wald Sta­dium turf, the In­di­ans over­came an un­even of­fen­sive per­for­mance to pro­duce a 21-7 vic­tory over the Ea­gles.

Glens Falls (9-2) reg­is­tered its fifth state play­off win since 2016 and ad­vance to the state semi­fi­nals for the third straight year. The In­di­ans will take on the win­ner of Satur­day’s quar­ter­fi­nal be­tween Sec­tion I cham­pion Ard­s­ley (9-0) and Sec­tion IX rep­re­sen­ta­tive Marl­boro (9-1) on Nov. 17 at Middletown High School.

“Last year, we all know what hap­pened in Middletown,” Bar­clay said, re­fer­ring to a 20-7 semi­fi­nal loss to even­tual state cham­pion Pleas­antville. “Right now, it is not about get­ting to the Dome. It is about be­ing back in Middletown and get­ting re­venge for (the 2017 loss).”

“This is a game where you al­ways tend to look ahead alit­tlebit.itis­sorto­fa­trap game,” Glens Falls coach Pat Lilac said of Fri­day’s quar­ter­fi­nal en­counter. “We know the teams that come down from (Sec­tion VII or X) are go­ing to be scrappy and re­ally tough teams. That’s what they were.”

Glens Falls led only 7-0 at half­time Fri­day, even though the In­di­ans owned a 275-20 edge on of­fense through steady rain dur­ing the first 24 min­utes.

“Es­pe­cially this play­off sea­son, we have dealt with all the weather cir­cum­stances: a lit­tle bit of snow, a lit­tle of hail, a lit­tle bit of sleet, the rain, the wind — we’ve dealt with it all,” Glens Falls se­nior quar­ter­back Joseph Gi­rard III said. “It is mak­ing us tougher and mak­ing us a bet­ter team.”

The In­di­ans were able to move the ball ef­fec­tively in the dif­fi­cult con­di­tions. Glens Falls, how­ever, missed on two field goals and Gi­rard

tossed an in­ter­cep­tion in the end zone to limit the scor­ing in the first half.

“Penal­ties killed us. We had some dumb ones: some holds, a pass in­ter­fer­ence on of­fense,” Bar­clay said. “We over­came it, came down and scored right away to start the sec­ond half. Our de­fense is play­ing out­stand­ing.”

A con­stant through­out the play­offs, the In­di­ans’ de­fense lim­ited Beek­man­town (8-2) to just 135 yards of of­fense. Glens Falls man­aged to gen­er­ate 504 yards of of­fense -- 218 yards rush­ing and 286 yards through the air on 21for-35 ac­cu­racy from Gi­rard.

“We just weren’t play­ing like the team I know we play like, but we came out in the sec­ond half, clicked and got the job done,” Glens Falls sopho­more run­ning back Aal­i­jah Samp­son said.

The In­di­ans opened the third quar­ter with a six-play, 73-yard drive capped by a 14yard touch­down pass from Gi­rard to ju­nior re­ceiver Ho­gan Fox for a 14-0 lead.

“When we popped that touch­down, it got us go­ing,” Samp­son said.

“It was a one-score game. We come out and get our­selves a lit­tle breath­ing room, in case they score, which they did,” Lilac said. “We were able to an­swer there. Aal­i­jah had a great run when he kept his bal­ance and we were able to punch it in.”

Beek­man­town cut the deficit in half as William Colvard caught a 21-yard touch­down pass from Cade Pre­ston with 9:47 left. The touch­down and ex­tra-point kick rep­re­sented the most points al­lowed in the play­offs by Glens Falls as the In­di­ans have given up just 13 points in four post­sea­son wins.

Glens Falls an­swered the touch­down by the Ea­gles with an 80-yard march cul­mi­nated by a 1-yard touch­down run from Samp­son with 4:34 re­main­ing. The sopho­more de­liv­ered a spec­tac­u­lar 42-yard run along the right side­line to push the ball down to the Ea­gles’ 4.

Gi­rard, who is the state’s all-time lead­ing scorer in boys’ bas­ket­ball, will sign his na­tional let­ter of in­tent to play at Syra­cuse Univer­sity on Wed­nes­day. Be­fore div­ing into his se­nior sea­son on the hard­wood, the 6-foot-2 quar­ter­back has some un­fin­ished busi­ness left to han­dle in Middletown af­ter Pleas­antville de­nied the In­di­ans a shot at re­peat­ing as state foot­ball cham­pi­ons.

“It is an un­be­liev­able op­por­tu­nity,” Gi­rard said. “Be­ing a born com­peti­tor, I have al­ways been look­ing for­ward to it. I am known for my bas­ket­ball, but I am out here com­pet­ing — no mat­ter what sport it is. In foot­ball, I don’t want to lose. When I do, I am al­ways go­ing to re­gret it and think about it.”

John Carl D’an­ni­bale / Times Union

Glens Falls run­ning back Aal­i­jah Samp­son breaks a tackle against Beek­man­town in their state quar­ter­fi­nal on Fri­day at Shenen­de­howa High School.

John Carl d’an­ni­bale / times union

Glens falls’ Ho­gan fox gains ground dur­ing the in­di­ans’ win over Beek­man­town on fri­day at Shenen­de­howa High School.

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