Talk to any football coach long enough and at some point when discussing keys to success they’ll reference limiting turnovers and playing well in all three phases of the game. More times than not teams will need to do both to earn a victory and on Friday night in Mechanicville turnovers and special teams played a big part in Canajoharie/Ft. Plains 28-20 “W” over Mechanicville.
After a three and out by Canajoharie to start the game, the Red Raiders put points on the board in their initial drive when senior kicker Jake LaFountain connected on a 27 yard field goal at the 5:45 mark, capping a series highlighted by a 40-yard run from junior quarterback Luciano D’Ambro.
After the Mechanicville defense held the Cougars to another three and out, the Raiders took over on their own 46 yard line and immediately went to work. Rolling right, D’Ambro found Mason Angiano for a 46 yard throw and catch down to the Cougar eight.
But on a third and goal from the five D’Ambro’s pass was deflected and picked off on the back of the end zone by Andrew Ferguson ending the Raider threat.
The Cougar’s third series resulted in points, after driving the field almost exclusively through to the air, senior quarterback Derek Hyney found junior back Keegan Myers for a 7-yard touchdown and when the point after failed, the Cougars led 6-3 with 11:52 remaining in the half.
At the 6:41 mark of the quarter with the Cougars punting from deep in their own territory, the Raiders Kyle Johnson smothered Canjo punter Dalton Consalvo in the end zone for the safety, pulling Mechanicville to within one at 6-5.
Before the half the Raiders took the lead on a D’Ambro tote from eight yards out with :35 left, and when D’Ambro added the two-point conversion Mechanicville headed to the half leading 14-6.
After the break the Cougars owned the third period, scoring a trio of touchdowns, on a pair of Hyney scoring strikes, the last coming on a 6-yard TD run by Myers giving Canajoharie a 28-13 advantage with 3:16 left in the third.
Midway through the fourth, after a punt block by Mechanicville’s Alex Amorso set up the Raiders at the Canjo 25 yard line, Russell DeLosSantos powered it in from 15 yards out and with the LaFountain point after the Raiders trailed 28-20 with 7:24 left in the game.
The hosts, after another defensive hold by the Raider D, got their hands the football one more time and drove deep into Cougar territory when on a fourth and 7, with 1:07 remaining, D’Ambro’s pass fell incomplete sending Canajoharie home well the well-earned 28-20 victory.
Mechanicville returns to action next Friday night when they’ll host the Indians of Hoosic Valley with both squads coming in at 0-1 looking for their first “W” of the season.