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Tillery Runs Roughshod, Scotties push past Falcons

September 22, 2015

by Justin Porreca

Despite Ky’Ere Tillery’s coming out party, mental mistakes and defensive lapses thwarted Albany High’s chances of getting a win on homecoming, losing 49-28 to the Ballston Spa Scotties Saturday.

“We just made more mistakes than they did and when you make more mistakes in football, you’re likely to come out with a loss,” said Coach Joey DiPiazza.

Both defenses were seemingly non-existent, giving up huge chunks of yards on the ground.

Middle Linebacker, Ian Graham drops the hammer on quarterback Semaji Jones in the 2nd quarter/Justin Porreca

Middle Linebacker, Ian Graham drops the hammer on quarterback Semaji Jones in the 2nd quarter/Justin Porreca

Safety Ky’Ere Tillery sizes up Scotties Quarterback, Ryan Reed for a big hit in the second quarter/Justin Porreca

The Scotties came out swinging, drawing first blood with a 7:44 drive that resulted in a 1-yard rushing touchdown by tailback, Zaire Royal. The Falcons countered that with a quick drive of their own, aided by a defensive holding and late-hit call. Quarterback Semaji Jones capitalized on the flags, scampering into the end zone for a 3-yard touchdown, drawing the game even.

After their initial scoring drive, the Falcons offense sputtered and the Scotties continued their dominance on the ground.

Ballston Spa scored twice before halftime, once on a 30-yd burst up the gut by Royal and the second time on a 5-yard plunge by tailback Ian Graham that gave them a 21-7 lead heading into halftime.

Like last Saturday against Schenectady, it was a tale of two halves for both squads.

“In the second half, when coach gave us the talk he got us hyped up and we came out hard,” said fullback Lamar Grady.

Albany High’s defense in the first half came out lethargic and hesitant and the offense came out attacking, but loss steam. However, again it came down to the turnover battle.

Scotties Tailback, Ian Graham, breaks loose of several Falcon defenders en route to a 74-yard gain/Justin Porreca

Scotties Tailback, Ian Graham, breaks loose of several Falcon defenders en route to a 74-yard gain/Justin Porreca

 

Middle Linebacker, Ian Graham drops the hammer on quarterback Semaji Jones in the 2nd quarter/Justin Porreca

With the raucous Albany High crowd loud and energetic, it didn’t take long for the silence to ensue.

The second half kickoff was a squib kick by Ballston Spa that went off the hands of Phillip Williams and Vince McCann and was recovered by the Scotties with generous field position.

The Scotties capitalized off of the Falcons miscue with a 4-yard rushing touchdown by fullback Elijah Washington, extending the lead to three scores, 28-7.

Turnovers continued to plague the Falcons.

On the following drive, after a 15-yard carry by Tillery, Jones threw a deep ball, intended for Jarrell Chaney, over his head and into the awaiting hands of Ballston Spa safety, Christian Leva, for an interception.

Ballston Spa continued to take advantage of the Albany High turnovers.

Scotties Tailback, Ian Graham, breaks loose of several Falcon defenders en route to a 74-yard gain/Justin Porreca

A 74-yard bolt up the sideline by Graham put the Scotties in the redzone looking to add to their massive lead. Graham had his number called once again at the half-inch line on 3rd and goal, where he would slither his way in for a touchdown, increasing Albany High’s deficit to 27.

The momentum would take a drastic swing after the Scotties touchdown, in favor of the Falcons.

With the score 34-7, DiPiazza made a switch at quarterback mid-game, giving Noah John the nod after the Jones interception.

“We like competition, we like guys to be able to compete at positions and sometimes guys are going to have good games and bad games, and you have to figure out what guy is going to put the team in the best situation to have success,” he said.

On the back of stud running back Tillery, the Falcons would score quickly with a 22-yard passing touchdown on a running back pass from Tillery to Chaney, decreasing Albany’s insurmountable deficit.

Albany High willed themselves into a comeback mindset with 7:41 in the third quarter, down three touchdowns. The Falcons would force a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, resulting in a Tillery 2-yard rushing touchdown, cutting the deficit to two touchdowns, 34-21.

Albany High forced another fumble, but failed to capitalize. The Scotties seized control of the momentum and game once again with a 35-yard touchdown run up the heart of the Falcons defense by Royal, re-extending their lead back to three scores.

“I wouldn’t have been able to get those runs if it wasn’t for the line blocking for me,” Royal said.

Poor tackling and lack of aggression on defense continued to be the headache for the Falcons and the Scotties continued to exploit those glaring weaknesses.

“We’ll look to get better this week and be more disciplined staying home, knowing what your assignment is and I feel confident that we’ll improve on that for sure,” DiPiazza said.

Albany High Tailback, Ky’Ere Tillery prepares to stiff-arm Ballston Spa defensive back, Josh Thompson en route to a 13-yd gain/Justin Porreca

Albany High Tailback, Ky’Ere Tillery prepares to stiff-arm Ballston Spa defensive back, Josh Thompson en route to a 13-yd gain/Justin Porreca

 

Albany High Tailback, Ky’Ere Tillery prepares to stiff-arm Ballston Spa defensive back, Josh Thompson en route to a 13-yd gain/Justin Porreca

The score 41-21, a comeback was inconceivable. Despite quarterback Ryan Reed’s fumble at the beginning of the fourth quarter and a 50-yard burst up the sideline by Tillery, resulting in a 3-yard touchdown by Grady, it just wasn’t enough to stage a comeback.

Turnovers dictated the remaining 9:50 in the game, in which the Falcons shot themselves in the foot.

Noah John threw an ill-timed interception to Scotties defensive back, Tyler Warrington, in which Ballston Spa capitalized off of, with a first-play, 60-yard touchdown run by Washington that put the nail in the coffin.

With 4:21 left on the clock, Albany High put the ball in Tillery’s hands, but on a running back pass. He threw an interception to Leva that sealed the game for the Scotties.

Royal finished the game with 103 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Graham also ended up with 100-yards on the ground, 108, and two touchdowns. Overall, the Scotties accrued a mind-boggling 491 yards on the ground, chewing the Falcons defense apart.

“We want to run. At the end of the day, I’d love to have a game where I don’t have to throw the ball more than once,” said Coach Dave Murello. “We run the ball and that’s what we do, that’s how we have to matriculate first downs.”

The Scotties first and only pass attempt came at the 4:25 mark in the second quarter.

In a losing effort, Tillery was the player of the game, racking up 178 yards on the ground, 22 through the air, and two touchdowns.

“The holes—the line did their thing today, they did good, I liked the way they blocked today and I got to give credit to my fullback too,” Tillery said.

For both of these teams it’s back to the drawing board in preparation for next week’s game. For the Ballston Spa Scotties, it’s eliminating the turnovers and mental miscues.

“Big emphasis on ball security and we say ‘triple A: alignment, assignment, attack,’ we’ve got to get these young guys knowing what they’re doing, we got to get some young guys to step up and start making plays,” Murello said.

As for Albany High, the keys to practice this week will once again be the fundamentals. Blocking, tackling and focusing on defensive assignments will dictate a short practice week for the Falcons. However, DiPiazza sees the progression in his team from week one to week three.

“The boys keep improving, they keep improving from week-to-week, from day-to-day, they’re committed to coming and getting better and we’ll put it together and we’ll be able to have the success that these boys want to have,” he said.

It’s another division game for the Falcons, a Friday night-lights shootout at Guilderland High School. As for the Ballston Spa Scotties they are heading back home for a Friday night battle with Christian Brothers Academy.

“I can’t be happier with where we are right now in the season after three weeks and we’re going to get back to work on Monday, improve and get ready for Guilderland,” said DiPiazza.-30-

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