Late field goal lifts Cobleskill to crown

Pa­catte’s 44-yard kick ral­lies Bull­dogs past Sabres for Re­in­furt ti­tle

Albany Times Union - - HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL - By Pete Dougherty ▶ pdougherty@time­ 518-454-5416 @Pete_­dougherty

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.”

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