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DiPiazza’s Debut Spoiled, Falcons downed by Blue Devils

September 6, 2015

by Justin Porreca

Mental mistakes and fundamental lapses plagued the Albany High Falcons in their 34-7 defeat against the Columbia High School Blue Devils on Saturday night.

In their Suburban Council debut, the Falcons drew first blood, getting out to an early 7-0 lead in the first quarter behind a Ky’Ere Tillery’s rushing touchdown. However, the wheels fell off after that.

Albany High Tailback, Ky’Ere Tillery, jukes to evade an oncoming Columbia defender/Justin Porreca

Albany High Tailback, Ky’Ere Tillery, jukes to evade an oncoming Columbia defender/Justin Porreca

“We got out executed and we made more mistakes than they did and when you make more mistakes than the opposing team that’s going to hurt you,” said Coach Joey DiPiazza.

There was sloppy play all-around Saturday night, with both teams committing turnovers. Despite Albany High winning the turnover battle 3-1, they failed to capitalize on their opponent’s offensive miscues and displayed poor tackling technique. The game came down to the execution and capitalization of the opponent’s lapses, along with making key stops, and Albany High failed to do both.

The Falcons forced a goal line fumble in the first quarter, but failed to turn the turnover into points – instead they were forced to punt after a three-and-out. Then the Blue Devils offense started clicking, and the Falcons offense stalled.

The Blue Devil’s scored on three of their four second quarter possessions, one being a punt return for a touchdown that was a result of poor punt coverage.

Albany High went into halftime trailing 20-7 and failed to overcome the deficit. Poor blocking and tackling, along with a lack of execution, continued to ruin their night.

Columbia High’s starting tailback, Dylan Dubuque, took over in the second half for the Blue Devil’s running roughshod on the Falcon’s defense.

Despite Seven Chandler’s key interception at the beginning of the half, possibly turning the tide in favor of the Falcons, the offense came out flat, failing to capitalize on the turnover and solid field position.

Columbia High Tailback, Dylan Dubuque, scampers past oncoming Falcon defenders en route to a big gain/Justin Porreca

Columbia High Tailback, Dylan Dubuque, scampers past oncoming Falcon defenders en route to a big gain/Justin Porreca

Dubuque put the nail in the proverbial coffin with two huge runs after Albany High failed to convert on fourth down. In a 30-yard gain he pushed through the initial line of the defense, broke three arm tackles and carried the ball into the redzone. He followed that up two plays later with a touchdown run that saw him break three more arm tackles.

With the score 27-7, this forced the Albany High coaching staff to convert to an air-assault attack in hopes to score quickly to make an inconceivable comeback. However, the Falcons offensive line continued to struggle.

Unable to get a push off the ball and getting manhandled at the line of scrimmage, the offensive line gave quarterback Noah John zero time in the pocket. Under heavy pressure, John threw an ill-advised interception, which resulted in a late-fourth rushing touchdown by Dubuque to all but seal the game for the Blue Devils.

DiPiazza will turn to the film to find all of the mistakes the team made against Columbia High and will look to turn those blemishes into strengths.

“Defensively the technique of tackling. Quarterback, the technique of throwing the ball, getting your proper steps. I think the focus of this week’s practice is going to be the actual technique and fundamentals, back to basics for sure,” DiPiazza said.

Quarterback Noah John sitting in the pocket, locking onto an open target/Justin Porreca

Quarterback Noah John sitting in the pocket, locking onto an open target/Justin Porreca

Falcons’ players also realize that they have a lot of work ahead of them if they want to be a serious contender in the Suburban Council.

“We have to be better at being able to respond to failure, coach [Joey DiPiazza] always talks about that, we’re going to have bad plays, but it’s how you bounce back each play, you can’t take a couple plays off to try and regain momentum, you just have to refocus right away,” John said.

Albany High newbie and workhorse, Tillery, also realizes that the team needs to watch the film, learn, and improve from their miscues this week in practice.

“The intensity level has to get picked up as a team, the lineman have work to do and I have work to do.”

As for the victorious Columbia High Blue Devils, they have some work ahead of them this week in practice, correcting their fumbling miscues will likely be a main focal point.

“We have to cleanup a lot of things, anywhere from the penalties, to the turnovers, to the blocking, to the tackling, we’re a constant work in progress and we have to continue to work on all of those things if we want to get better,” said Coach Craig Cavotta.

As for the player of the game, Dubuque, despite having a monster night, with two rushing touchdowns; this week’s practice will likely consist of ball security drills. The Blue Devils’ tailback coughed up the ball three times, losing it once. However, he was pleased with the overall play by the team and the effort they gave.

“It was a great game, we worked hard in the offseason to be where we are today. We have to learn for next week, be ready, watch some film, learn what they’re going to do and come back at it next week and be ready to go,” Dubuque said.

With offensive line woes and tackling inconsistencies, Albany High will have a lot to work on in preparation for their next game. The Falcons will be traveling to Larry Mulvaney Field for a Saturday afternoon duel with Schenectady High School, while the Columbia High Blue Devils will be home Friday night versus Guilderland High School.

“The good thing is that it’s a long season, its one game, we hit the film on Monday and we get ready for Schenectady next week,” DiPiazza said.-30-

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