Spartans, Streaks remain undefeated
Saratoga rides defense, blanks CBA 14-0 by mICHaeL KeLLy Gazette Sportswriter
COLONIE — Four games into its 2017 season, Saratoga Springs is on the verge of clinching the Section II Class AA Empire Division.
A year ago at this point? Saratoga Springs was winless in a campaign that numerous injuries turned into a lost season just one year removed from making a run to the state title game.
“We don’t even talk about last year,” Saratoga Springs football head coach Terry Jones said after his team’s 14-0 win Friday against CBA.
There’s a simple reason for that.
“This,” Saratoga Springs senior Cam Adams said, “is a whole different team.”
The Blue Streaks showed why they feel that way, using a dominant defensive effort Friday to shut out CBA on its home field. Saratoga Springs kept the Brothers to 170 yards of total offense and forced three turnovers.
“Offensively, after the first quarter, we didn’t help [our defense] a whole heck of a lot,” Jones said. “We put ourselves in some bad situations and the defense rose up. They’ve been doing it all year.”
CBA’s first two drives of the game ended with fumbles, while Saratoga Springs sophomore Christian Kondo stopped CBA’s best possession of the night with an interception at the Blue Streaks’ 4-yard line late in the third quarter.
“This win means a lot,” Saratoga Springs senior Kevin Toote said. “This was a serious test for us.”
Saratoga Springs (4-0, 4-0) pushed ahead of CBA (2-1, 2-2) on the game’s first possession. A 10-play, 71-yard drive ended with a screen pass from senior Wes Eglintine to senior Lewi Clarke, who said he had entered the game feeling under the weather and unsure what type of factor he could be in the contest.
“But [my] first play came right there, got some good blocks and got it in,” Clarke said of his 11-yard touchdown.
Eglintine finished the contest 9 of 14 passing for 114 yards and two touchdowns. The quarterback’s second touchdown toss came with less than a minute to go in the second quarter, a 24-yard throw that junior Carter Steingraber jumped to catch in the end zone.
Eglintine also ran for 58 yards on 20 carries, while Adams ran for 60 yards on nine carries. Junior Ashton Capone rushed for 50 yards on five carries.
While Saratoga Springs couldn’t get its offense going after halftime, the Blue Streaks defense made sure that didn’t matter.
“We never want to give up on a team and let them come back,” said Adams, a linebacker.
That approach showed on CBA’s final possession of the night, which ended after Adams and junior Mahdi Elsawi hurried CBA senior Ben Truchard on his final throw into an incompletion. Previous to that play, Toote had sacked Truchard — and Adams and Toote had teamed up for another sack two plays earlier.
“All week, we practice, we go hard,” Toote said. “We think of ourselves as dogs and when we hit, we hit like dogs. Every game, game in and game out, we hit — and that’s why we won tonight.”
Off its Week 4 win, Saratoga Springs heads to Ballston Spa next Thursday to finish a stretch of four games in four weeks against last year’s playoff teams from the Empire Division. If the Blue Streaks complete their sweep of those games, Saratoga Springs will clinch a division title — a goal Clarke said the Blue Streaks want to achieve as soon as possible.
“It’s always in the back of our head,” Clarke said. “A home playoff game is going to be crazy. That’s what you want to get.”
Saratoga 7 7 0 0 — 14 CBA 0 0 0 0 — 0
S — Clarke 11 pass from Eglintine (Williams kick)
S — Steingraber 24 pass from Eglintine (Williams kick)
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ERICA MILLER/ PETER R. BARBER/ GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHERS
TOP: Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake’s Jake Stanko rushes against Averill Park Friday.
LEFT: Saratoga Springs quarterback Wes Eglintine charges up the middle past Christian Brothers Academy’s Isaiah Scarlet, left, with Chase Irish wrapped around his leg.
PETER R. BARBER/GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHER
Saratoga’s Cam Adams is brought down by Christian Brothers Academy’s Kevin Renaud Friday in the Blue Streaks’ 14-0 win.