Rodriguez’s late TD spearheads Patriots
BALLSTON SPA Felix Rodriguez reached for the corner of the end zone and scored from three yards away with 17.4 seconds left to give Schenectady a thrilling 34-27 Section II Class AA victory over Ballston Spa on Friday night.
Both teams entered the game coming off frustrating one-point losses.
“We’re a very well-conditioned team, and we refused to lose tonight,” said Schenectady head coach Jim Kramer. “I think we played with a chip on our shoulder at the end, and we weren’t coming out of here with a loss. We have great senior leadership.”
It was the Patriots’ defense that set up the game-winning touchdown. The score was tied, 27-27, when Nakia Boozer intercepted a pass and gave Schenectady possession at the Ballston Spa 41.
After an incomplete pass, quarterback Kwame Jarvis connected with Alex Phann on a 27-yard pass to place the ball at the 14. Jarvis hit Jeremy Kent on a short eight-yard aerial. The next play saw Hassan Rainey pick up one yard and the ball moved to the five.
Ballston Spa was called for a pass interference and gave Schenectady new life at the three. After a Ballston Spa timeout, Rodriguez took the handoff from Jarvis and rushed to the corner of the end zone for the winning score.
The Patriots’ sidelines went wild and could feel their first victory coming within seconds.
“It feels good. It feels real good. The winning touchdown was a
37-toss. We were getting in anyway I can. I trust my line. A great fullback block, the wide receiver did his job and we executed the play perfectly. It was an upset last week. We just came back and practiced hard. We came to win today. It’s a team game,” said Rodriguez, who caught six passes for 124 yards.
Rodriguez put the Patriots on the board hauling in a 15-yard pass from Jarvis with 3:49 left in the first quarter.
It didn’t take long for Rodriguez and Jarvis to team up again, this time on a 65-yard touchdown pass, thanks to a nice block by Phann, and the Patriots went up, 13-0.
But Ballston Spa didn’t quit.
On the ensuing kickoff, Sam Groves returned the ball 37 yards to the Ballston Spa 44. On the drive, quarterback John McDonald hit Groves for 25 yards and Derek Kolberg gained 14 yards rushing. Two plays later, Kiernan Mack scored from 11 yards out, and the Scotties cut the deficit to 13-7.
After Schenectady came up empty on its drive, Ballston Spa started from its 40. Kolberg scrambled 47 yards to the Patriots’ 13. Three plays later, McDonald reached the end zone on a five-yard run and the Scotties pulled ahead, 14-13, at halftime.
Ballston Spa went three and out to start the third quarter and Rainey went through the Scotties’ defense for a 42-yard touchdown run and a 19-14 advantage.
Then McDonald found Zach Quartararo in the back of the end zone for an eight-yard touchdown pass and the Scotties forged ahead, 20-19 with 2:29 left in the third quarter. Kolberg gave Ballston Spa some breathing room with a 28-yard touchdown run and the score read, 27-19.
The next series saw Schenectady’s Rainey rush 25 yards for a score and Jarvis hit Kent on the two-point conversion and the score was deadlocked, 27-27.
“Our team showed great competitive fire. We made opportune plays at the opportune time. Great players make great plays. Our offensive line had great pass protection. We’re a young line and they’re growing each day and we’re proud of them,” said Kramer.
Jarvis had an exceptional game with 16-for-28 passing and 284 yards plus two touchdown passes. Rainey rushed for 131 yards on seven carries.
Schenectady 7 6 6 15 — 34
Ballston Spa 0 14 6 7 — 27
S — Rodriguez, 15 pass from Jarvis (Boozer kick)
S — Rodriguez, 65 pass from Jarvis (kick failed)
BS — Mack, 11 run (Keefe kick)
BS — McDonald, 5 run (Keefe kick)
S — Rainey, 42 run (pass failed)
BS — Quartararo, 8 pass from McDonald (pass failed)
BS — Kolberg, 28 run (Keefe kick)
S — Rainey, 25 run (Kent pass from Jarvis)
S — Rodriguez, 3 run (Boozer kick)