Late field goal lifts Cobleskill to crown
Pacatte’s 44-yard kick rallies Bulldogs past Sabres for Reinfurt title
In the final minute of the first half Friday night, Cobleskill sent Donovan Pacatte to try a 39-yard field goal against Schalmont.
The kick sailed wide right but had plenty of power, a development that wasn’t lost on Bulldogs coach Ed Hantho.
When Cobleskill faced fourth-and-long with 4:14 remaining in the game, Hantho boldly let Pacatte attempt a 44-yarder. The kicker was on target, with yards to spare, lifting the Bulldogs to a 22-21 victory over the Sabres in a Class B football showdown.
The victory clinched the Reinfurt Division for Cobleskill (5-2, 5-0), which won its fifth straight.
“That was in my head,” Hantho said of the earlier miss. “I said, ‘I feel like he’s got the ability to kick it that far, let’s put the ball in his hands.’ There was still time on the clock. If we get a stop, maybe we get another chance at it. I felt he had the leg.”
“For the first one,” Pacatte said, “I had plenty of leg, but it just went straight. I wasn’t able to turn it at all. I knew with the second one, I just had to put it in the right direction.”
Schalmont (4-2, 3-1), which lost a 14-0 lead, regained the advantage with 6:40 to play on Shane O’dell’s 8-yard run. The Sabres chose to kick the extra point for a two-point lead, which evaporated on Pacatte’s kick.
“To kick a 44-yard field goal in high school shows you how clutch that kid is and how much faith that his teammates and coach had to do it,” Sabres coach Joe Whipple said. “I don’t know if I would have made that call.”
Pacatte was far from one-dimensional. The senior quarterback completed 9 of 19 passes for 102 yards and a touchdown, and also rushed for 51 yards.
“He does a lot for us, so he doesn’t get as much time to practice his kicking,” Hantho said. “We’ll kick field goals. He’ll miss the first one and nail the next one every single time. That’s in the back of my head, too.”
Cobleskill’s losses came in the first two weeks, to Class A Averill Park and North Division winner Glens Falls, which the Bulldogs won’t see again until the Section II final if both win their first two playoff games.
“Last year we came in a three-way tie for first place and lost on point differential,” Pacatte said, “so we had to go up to Schuylerville for our first playoff game. Being able to win the division outright and getting two home playoff games is huge. It hasn’t happened in Cobleskill for a long time.”
Jake Sanford and O’dell intercepted Pacatte passes in the first half, and the Sabres cashed in on two Darnell Green touchdowns.
Schalmont held a 286-258 edge in total yards and did not have a turnover, but four false-start penalties and some bobbled snaps pruned its momentum.
“We’ve got to bounce back and play Hudson on Tuesday,” Whipple said. “We’ve got to find a way to win that game and hopefully get the 2-seed and get a home playoff game, and see what happens from there.”