BROADALBIN - Just minutes before the opening kickoff, an otherwise dry Friday gave way to a downpour.
For the past two weeks, the rain had been a bad omen for the Broadalbin-Perth Patriots, who had previously been blown out by Schalmont and Glens Falls in wet weather.
This time, the weather didn't matter as a pair of long touchdowns in the first quarter helped lift the Patriots to a 33-6 win over Schuylerville.
Broadalbin-Perth’s Mike Visco returns a kickoff as Schuylerville’s Skyler Bateman makes the tackle during Friday’s Class B West game at Patriot Field in Broadalbin. (The Leader-Herald/Mike Zummo)
"This is such a big win," Broadalbin-Perth running back/linebacker Tim Gordon said. "We've had a rough two weeks, some really tough losses to Glens Falls and Schalmont. But to come back and to play real Patriots' football on our homecoming, I couldn't ask for anything more. I don't want anything for Christmas now. That's all I want."
The win gives the Patriots' their first playoff berth since 2009 and the third seed out of the West Division. In two weeks, they will face the second seed out of the Reinfurt division to open the playoffs.
"It definitely means a lot," senior lineman Sam Comini said. "We're turning things around here."
During a rain-soaked first half, both teams traded scores and combined for three touchdowns in the space of two minutes
Quarterback Gabe Mendez got the scoring started with an 86-yard touchdown run after faking a handoff to Gordon. He ran through the Schuylerville defense virtually untouched for the score.
"That's the kind of play when I fake it to Timmy and go right up the middle," Mendez said. "Everybody just goes after Timmy because that ball fake is so good in my opinion. Everybody is just flying to Timmy and I'm running by people as they're running by me. That's when track came into play."
Schuylerville (2-4 overall, 2-3 Class B West) answered immediately on the second play of the next drive when quarterback Shane Lyons broke a 69-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 6-6.
"They broke a big one and we expected him to break a big one," Mendez said. "Shane has been doing that all year. Give him a lot of credit. He's a great athlete. He's a great player. I wish him the best of the luck at the next level. We knew he was going to break one or two. We wanted to limit what he could do. Aside from that one play, I think we shut him down."
Luigi Magliocca, who returned Friday from a back injury suffered against Glens Falls last week, put the Patriots (4-2 overall, 3-2 Class B West) ahead for good on the second play of the next drive when he scored on a 54-yard touchdown run around the right corner.
Darius Reyes widened the gap with 9:14 left in the second quarter with a 57-yard touchdown run of his own and Mike Visco's extra point gave the Patriots a 19-6 lead.
That's when the Black Horses' offense looked like it was about to take control. Lyons and running back Danny Waldron fueled a drive that started on the Schuylerville 14-yard line and took 13 plays and chewed nearly seven minutes off the game clock. However, the drive stalled at the Patriots' 21-yard line when Pierre LaPort intercepted Lyons' pass and returned it to the Patriots' 30-yard line.
"That was a momentum-changer at the half," Gordon said. "At that point, we were able to just pound it. That was a big momentum shift. I feel that drive gave us momentum on defense for the rest of the game."
The Patriots' got two key turnovers to start the third quarter, leading to 14 more points as a fumble recovery on the Schuylerville 20 led to Tyler Schmidt's 8-yard touchdown and an interception by Magliocca led to his own 14-yard run, giving the Patriots a 33-6 lead with 5:31 remaining in the third.
"When you get turnovers, you have to capitalize." Broadalbin-Perth coach Jim Pelneau said. "We've been on the other end of that the last two weeks. It's good to be on this end for right now."
Despite the loss, the Black Horses are assured the fourth seed as they will receive a division win next week via a forfeit from Johnstown, which canceled the remainder of its varsity season after Week 3. With the third seed in hand, the Patriots will visit the Cobleskill-Richmondville Bulldogs next week to finish the regular season.
"They're excited," Pelneau said. "I'm happy for the seniors especially. The young guys are going to get a lot of experience and hopefully that playoff experience will come. We've got a tough game next week and going down to Cobleskill is not easy. They're a very well-coached team."
Broadalbin-Perth 33, Schuylerville 6
Schuylerville6 0 0 0 - 6
Broadalbin-Perth12 7 14 0 - 33
BP - Mendez 86 run (kick failed), 4:56
S - Lyon 69 run (pass failed), 4:18
BP - Magliocca 54 run (kick blocked), 3:20
BP - Reyes 57 run (Visco kick), 9:14
BP - Schmidt 8 run (Visco kick), 9:33
BP - Magliocca 14 run (Visco kick), 5:31