Willis sparks Sabres past Horses, 27-24
ROTTERDAM Junior quarterback Devon Willis had a hand in three touchdowns as Schalmont got back in the win column by beating Schuylerville, 27-24, in a Class B football game Friday night.
Schalmont, 1-1, lost to a powerful Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake squad last week, 37-0.
“We came into the practice focused. We just had to execute. It was a little sloppy, but we pulled out the ‘W,’ ” said Willis, who gained 141 yards on eight carries. “That loss was tough on all of us, losing to a good Burnt Hills team. We just wanted to come out here and do our best,”
It didn’t take long for Schalmont to get on the scoreboard. After Schuylerville came up empty on its opening series, Schalmont took over on the visitors’ 47. Schalmont stayed on the ground for seven consecutive plays going to the Horses’ 23. Two illegal procedure penalties pushed the ball back to the 33. Nick Gallo picked up 23 yards before Willis went up the middle for a 10-yard touchdown run with 5:28 left in the first quarter.
Schuylerville finally got its offense going. Beginning at the 32, Schuylerville put together a 14-play scoring drive that culminated when Danny Waldron reached the end zone from three yards away and trailed, 7-6.
Schalmont answered quickly, as Willis connected with Dom Caputo for a 38-yard touchdown pass. As Willis stepped back in the pocket, he found Caputo all alone on the sidelines and Drake Sichak’s kick put the Sabres on top, 14-6.
The game went back and forth, and this time Schuylerville got closer with a 13-play, 80-yard drive as quarterback Shane Lyon dashed in the end zone from one yard out to pull his team, 14-12, with 51.2 seconds left in the first half.
Schalmont took over on its 37 following the kickoff. Willis electrified the crowd with an impressive 63-yard touchdown run. He got through the Schuylerville line and then darted toward the sidelines untouched for a 20-12 advantage at the halfway mark.
“They [Schuylerville] were a solid defense. They came hard,” said Willis. “I believed in my line that I could run the field. I had faith in my backs, my slots and my wide receivers to get the job done. We could’ve done better. We could improve on blocking, running, everything could’ve been better. We need to work hard and focus every week and execute our plays.”
Schuylerville got back on the scoreboard as Waldron muscled through the Schalmont line for a three-yard touchdown run with 11:19 left in the game to make it 20-18.
And once again, Schalmont had an answer.
Gallo returned the kickoff 16 yards to the 41. He wasn’t done yet, as he scampered 37 yards. He got the call twice for eight yards before Willis tacked on six and the Sabres were moving. The next play saw Gallo score from eight yards away as the Sabres pushed their lead to 27-18 with 9:23 remaining.
A scrappy Schuylerville team wasn’t done, and this time it scored in a more dramatic fashion. On fourth down and nine, Lyon scrambled and found Austin Cook open for a 57-yard touchdown pass as the Horses closed to within 27-24 with 2:11 left.
Schuylerville’s onside kick was unsuccessful, and Schalmont ran out the clock.
Lyon rushed 23 times for 96 yards.
Schuylerville 0 12 0 12 —24
Schalmont 7 13 0 7 —27
Schal - Willis 10 run (Sichak kick)
Schuy - Waldron 3 run (kick failed)
Schal - Caputo 38 pass from Willis (Sinchak kick)
Schuy - Lyon 1 run (run failed)
Schal - Willis 63 run (pass failed)
Schuy - Waldron 3 run (pass failed)
Schal - Gallo 8 run (Sichak kick)
Schuy - Cook 57 pass from Lyon (kick failed)