GFa - Aaron Sampson 17y run (Andrew Stamatel
GFa - Joseph Girard 79 run (Stamatel kick)
CFo - LJ Watson 12y run (Connor
Borchardt pass from Cody Bogue)
GFa - Dylan Balcom 16y pass from Girard
CFo - Watson 60y run (Bryant LaMere
GFa - Balcom 19y pass from Girard (Stamatel
CFo - Dan Crowningshield 9y pass
from Bogue (run failed)
GFa - Sampson 12y run (Stamatel kick)
CFo - McDonald 9y run (kick failed)
GFa - Girard 3y run (pass failed)
CFo - Connor Borchardt 16y pass
from Bogue (run failed)
GFa - Andrew Murphy 48y kickoff return
Glens Falls rushing
Aaron Sampson 15-166, 2 TDs
Joseph Girard 11-94, 2 TDs
Andrew Murphy 5-47
Josh Griffen 1-8
Dylan Balcom 1-3
Chenango Forks rushing
LJ Watson 21-192, 2 TDs
Tim McDonald 21-90, 2 TDs
Jeremiah Allen 5-22
Seth Bush 2-4
Cody Bogue 2-(-1)
Glens Falls passing
Joseph Girard 4-for-10, 62y, 0 int.
Cody Bogue 5-for-10, 52y, 1 int.
LJ Watson 1-for-2, 38y, 0 int.
Glens Falls receiving
Dylan Balcom 2-35, 2 TDs
Tony Green 1-14
Aaron Sampson 1-13
Dan Crowningshield 2-47, 1 TD
LJ Watson 3-27
Connor Borchardt 1-16, 1 TD
Article(s) Glens Falls tops Forks in title-game
Devils’ six TDs not enough as Glens Falls captures Class B
Kevin Stevens - Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin
How offensively sound, this Glens Falls football team
that halted Chenango Forks’ state-best football win streak
at 23 games? The Blue Devils put up six touchdowns, yet
watched the Indians celebrate the program’s first state
Stunning to those familiar with
Forks’ defense and special teams’ play present day as
well as historically Glens Falls emerged with a 47-39
victory Saturday in the Carrier Dome.
Devils will have laments when they review this one,
notably substandard kickoff coverage that repeatedly left
too little turf between Glens Falls’ potent offense and
the goal line, and too frequent inability to muster a
point or two following their TDs.
What amounted to
the final blow was Glens Falls toppling L.J. Watson short
on a two-point try after Forks drew within 40-39 on Connor
Borchardt’s brilliant 16-yard touchdown reception with 37
seconds remaining. Watson was stuffed inside by assorted
Next came a perfectly
foreseeable onside kick summarily fielded on a forward
charge and returned for six by chops-licking Indians jet
Andrew Murphy with 30 seconds remaining.
B championship went to Glens Falls in the program’s third
state-playoff appearance, thanks largely to the Indians’
superior speed coupled with and contributing to a
batch of uncustomary miscues by Forks.
opponent through 12 weeks had exceeded 20 points, and 11
went for 14 or fewer.
“It was fairly surprising,
but only initially,” said Forks coach David Hogan. “After
we saw what we were in for, we knew they could score.”
“They took advantage of the edge,” Watson said. “All
year we’ve been able to protect the edge. They got outside
and they were faster than us. They were getting off their
blocks, they were making cuts, everything they were doing,
they were a little step faster than we were.”
Watson concluded a fourth season as varsity starter with
192 rushing yards and two touchdowns to go with three
receptions, a 38-yard pass that set up a score and defense
aplenty. Call it a thorough effort from a young man
clearly not at full capacity physically.
It was a
27-27 halftime stalemate, and rightfully so given the
respective sides’ shortcomings.
Glens Falls was
assessed nine penalties to Forks’ zero, but the Blue
Devils’ kick-coverage unit permitted returns of 51, 34 and
48 yards. The latter set up the Indians at Forks’ 28-yard
line 12 seconds before halftime, but two incomplete passes
and an offensive pass interference call thwarted that
The lead was Glens Falls’ for good
when, following a nothing-happening Forks possession to
start the third quarter, the Indians went 73 yards on
seven plays for points aided by one big-time Forks
Having converted one third down on the
drive, Glens Falls’ Aaron Sampson (15 rushes, 166 yards)
gained 26 third-down yards which, coupled with a personal
foul against Forks, brought first down at the 12. Sampson
then took a rush outside where Forks had little answer
all afternoon and burst across the goal line 4:46 into
the half. Andrew Stamatel’s PAT kick made it a 34-27
Undeterred, these Week 13
veterans, the Devils responded with a 12-play possession
finished by a 9-yard TD rush by Tim McDonald who deftly
avoided a low tackle attempt by Tony Green along the way.
That came with 20 seconds remaining in the third quarter,
but was followed by the Devils’ third failure to convert
from PAT kick formation.
And so it was Glens Falls’
turn, and four plays into the possession Sampson darted
left for a 49-yard gain, shoved out of bounds by a
determined Watson at the 5-yard line. With Borchardt and
Kris Borelli key defenders, the Indians soon faced fourth
down from the 3. But in a twist, Sampson took the snap
from center and fed Joseph Girard, ordinarily the
quarterback, as Girard charged left to right. Girard
carried across, a two-point pass failed on a kick gone
awry, and Glens Falls’ lead was 40-33 with 8:54 to play.
After an exchange of punts, Forks took the football at
its 32-yard line with 5:26 to play.
game-saver came on a fourth-and-4 pass of 6 yards from
Bogue to Watson, the second when Watson rushed for 4 yards
on fourth-and-18 inches. A Bogue-to-Watson pass of 10
yards set up first down from the 16 with 43 seconds
Bogue took the snap, had a look right
and delivered in the direction of 6-foot-3 Borchardt,
whose keen awareness enabled him to position his body in
front of a 5-8 defender to make the catch for points.
Outstanding work by quarterback and receiver, in the
“I didn’t even think the pass was going to
come to me on that play, but I saw the ball, went up and
got it and tried to get into the end zone,” Borchardt
Forks was within 40-39. Thirty-seven seconds
The call was for Watson on a dive play,
but the backfield exchange went less than smoothly and
Glens Falls defenders were up to the task.
had it to do over again, we’d still go for two,” Hogan
said. “I think I knew when we were going in that if we
scored, we were probably going to go for two in that
situation. It’s on me, it’s my call. Maybe I would have
called a different play, I don’t know.”
kick was fielded by Murphy just across midfield and taken
back for a TD which, with Stamatel’s PAT, accounted for
the final points.
As for those 47 points against an
opponent unaccustomed to giving up that amount in, say,
“We try to do our thing on offense,
keep it as efficient as possible, try to mix things up,
try not to show everything right off the bat so we can
keep it going throughout the game,” said Dylan Balcom,
scorer of the Indians’ last two first-half TDs. “Our man
Aaron Sampson worked really well today. Because of him and
his toughness, we were able to get through and our
offensive efficiency was very good.”
half became quite the abnormality to the eyes of regular
Forks football viewers.
The first quarter concluded
with a 7-6 count, but then came a three-TD-apiece second
Glens Falls’ Girard on an indescribably
delicious 79-yard rush, then Forks’ Watson from 12 …
Balcom on a 16-yard reception, then Watson rushing 60 for
the answer 15 seconds later … Balcom again, this time a
19-yard reception from Girard, then the Devils’ Dan
Crowningshield caressing a bull’s-eye loft from 9 yards by
Bogue 21 seconds before halftime.
It was 27-apiece.
Twenty-four minutes remained.
yield in a game before Saturday was 20, and the 2015
high-water mark by an opponent was 28. In 2014, it was 21.
The year before, it was 27.
“Not only are they fast
but they’re elusive, including the quarterback,” Hogan
said. “The quarterback can run around back there, buy
time, and he runs the ball, obviously. He runs and throws
and he’s got 3-4 receivers he can throw to and that No. 2
(Sampson) was just an outstanding runner in the backfield.
“Pretty tough to guess what they’re going to do
because they have a lot of different options.”
McDonald closed with 90 rushing yards for Forks. Indians
quarterback Girard rushed for 94, passed for 62 and
generally saw to it Forks defenders did not get
comfortable for a single snap.
Glens Falls football wins state championship
Glens Falls tougher at end
James Allen, Albany Times-Union
Not only can the Glens
Falls football team stretch an opponent's defense all over the
length and width of the field, but its special teams also can
do the same in the return game. Chenango Forks found out both
those painful realities Saturday afternoon.
But in a
contest filled with superlative offensive exploits from both
teams, the game's most critical moment came down to making a
stop on a two-point conversion attempt with 37 seconds left in
the New York State Public High School Athletic Association's
Class B final.
Glens Falls did stop star senior running
back LJ Watson and edged Chenango Forks 47-39 to win the
program's first state championship.
After the stop,
Chenango Forks attempted an onside kick, and Andrew Murphy
returned it 50 yards for touchdown. That only took seven
seconds, so the Indians still needed another defensive stop.
Sophomore standout Joseph Girard III sealed the victory
with an interception with three seconds left.
Devils were stopped in their attempt to win four consecutive
titles after Class C championships in 2015, 2014 and 2013.
"My first thoughts are this is humbling and I am grateful.
That is the definite feeling I get," Glens Falls coach Pat
"It sort of feels like it hasn't happened.
It hasn't really hit me yet," Murphy said. "It is my last
game. We did it the best way possible."
"All I can say
is this is the greatest feeling in my life, so far," Glens
Falls senior two-way lineman Lucas Sanders said. "We finished
what we set out to finish: winning a state title."
have dreamed about this for years. It finally came true,"
Glens Falls junior receiver/defensive back Quinn Girard said.
Sanders and junior end Tony Green stuffed Watson, who
led the Blue Devils with 189 yards rushing, on a run up the
middle to thwart the two-point try. Watson's progress also was
impeded when he ran into quarterback Cody Bogue.
were physical and just never gave up," Sanders said of the
Blue Devils. "They just wouldn't go away, but that is what you
would expect in a state championship. We wanted a hard-fought
game. We got that."
Glens Falls (13-0) managed to
overcome committing 12 penalties for 116 yards, including two
calls that took away touchdowns.
The Indians produced
384 yards on offense in the hard-hitting tussle, and produced
206 yards on six kick returns to set up short-field
opportunities. Junior running back Aaron Sampson ran for 165
yards and two touchdowns. Joseph Girard added 97 yards and two
touchdowns, including an electrifying 79-yard score during
which he reversed field twice and diced his way through the
defense on a touchdown scamper that consumed 21 seconds.
"We didn't just want to get to the Dome. We wanted to win
it," Girard said. "We knew it would be a hard-fought game with
Chenango Forks. It feels surreal to be able to bring a title
"To beat a team like them in such a close
game makes it that much more special," Lilac said.
Chenango Forks rolled up 397 yards (307 coming on the ground
on 52 attempts) and chewed up 30 minutes of possession time.
"We had to keep punching our stuff in on offense. We knew
they were going to keep doing their thing on offense," said
Glens Falls senior captain Dylan Balcom, who scored on two
touchdown passes from Girard. "They are a very good team. Much
respect to them, but we got a huge stop on that last
In a contest featuring 86 points, it was
the defense from Glens Falls that made two monster stops to
seal the victory.
"A very satisfying feeling," Sampson
said. "We've accomplished our goal. It really feels amazing." History for Glens Falls
Pete Tobey - Glens Falls Post-Star
SYRACUSE Facing a make-or-break play Saturday, the Glens
Falls Indians stepped up and delivered one last
Noah Dixon, Lucas Sanders and a host of defenders
collapsed on Chenango Forks' L.J. Watson inside the 1-yard
line, denying the Blue Devils a go-ahead two-point
conversion with 37 seconds left.
Andrew Murphy then returned the ensuing onside kickoff
for a touchdown to seal a Class B state football
championship for Glens Falls with a 47-39 victory.
Joseph Girard III's interception in the final seconds
wrapped up a perfect 13-0 season and the Indians' first
state football championship.
"This is the most surreal feeling to put in all the
work we put in all year, it just came together for this
one game," senior safety Brandon Vachon said. "It took a
lot of hard work, preparation and Glens Falls toughness."
"It's a great feeling, it's great to bring it back to
our small community that's put so much time and effort
into helping us get there," said Sanders, the senior nose
guard who was named the game's top defensive lineman.
"For such a big sports town as Glens Falls is, and
these kids being so proud that they're from Glens Falls, I
just think it's huge," said head coach Pat Lilac, whose
2012 team had lost in the Dome. "It's something that can
never be taken away from them and something they should
cherish and be proud of for the rest of their lives."
In a wild back-and-forth game at the Carrier Dome,
Glens Falls survived every last haymaker thrown by a
Chenango Forks team that was trying to win its fourth
straight state title. The Blue Devils (12-1), winners of
23 straight games heading into Saturday, had won the last
three Class C titles and moved up to Class B this season.
"We didn't make it easy on ourselves again," said
Lilac, whose team overcame 12 penalties for 116 yards in
losses. "But to beat a team like that in such a close game
makes it that much more special, against a team that's won
three state titles in a row."
In a second quarter that saw the teams combine for 41
points, each time the Indians took the lead, Chenango
Forks had an answer. The Indians scored on six of their
first eight possessions, but the Blue Devils scored on
five of their first seven, including a touchdown just
before halftime to tie the score 27-27.
"They wouldn't go away," said senior Aaron Sampson,
the game's outstanding offensive back, who led Glens Falls
with 165 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries. "When we
first got to 27 and they were down (six), I was like,
'This could be it.' But they stopped us, they got the ball
back and scored."
"They scored a few points, but each time, I knew we
would come back with a big score and that's what happened
today," said Girard, the game's most outstanding player,
who passed to Dylan Balcom for two touchdowns and ran for
two more, including a 79-yarder in the second quarter.
Girard gave Glens Falls the lead for good, 40-33, on a
3-yard touchdown run on fourth and goal with 8:54 left in
After the teams exchanged punts, Chenango Forks
marched 68 yards in 12 plays converting two fourth downs
on a drive capped by Cody Bogue's 16-yard touchdown pass
to Connor Borchardt with 37 seconds left.
Opting to go for two, the Blue Devils turned to
Watson, who rushed for a game-high 191 yards and two
"They had scored two touchdowns on the boot
play-action pass I thought for sure it was going to be a
play-action pass to the tight end," Lilac said. "But you
can't fault them for (running), they were averaging more
than 3 yards a carry."
Tripped up by Isaiah Prunty at the line, Watson was
hammered from the side by Dixon, and brought down short of
the goal line by a host of tacklers, including Sanders,
Dakota Trombley and Tony Green. That preserved Glens
Falls' 40-39 lead.
"Izzy (Prunty) hit him in the hip that slowed him
down a bit," said Dixon, a senior lineman who finished
with 11 tackles. "And we came through and finished him."
"I thought they were going to try to pass it, and then
I saw (the linemen) both deuce (double-team) on me, so I
tried to squeeze through," Sanders said. "I saw (Watson)
coming, he bounced this way, Tony got his legs, and then
we all just ganged up on him, team effort."
"It was either do or die, we were going to win or
going to lose and we really love winning," Girard said.
"Our winning instinct showed up on that tackle."
The sense of relief was palpable on the Glens Falls
"It felt great emotionally when we got that stop we
knew we needed that stop," Green said.
"I was just so grateful I couldn't feel my body,"
Dixon said. "It's such a humbling experience, so great to
bring one back to Glens Falls."
There was still the matter of finishing the final 37
seconds and the Indians did so in stunning fashion.
Murphy the senior speedster who had been kept quiet,
other than a few jet sweeps scooped up the onside
kickoff at the Chenango Forks 48 and raced in for the
"Since I was getting doubled (double-teamed), I was
like, 'Here's my chance to actually score in this game,'"
The Indians could not truly relax until 10 seconds
left, when Girard intercepted Bogue's long pass down the
middle. After a minor dustup between players, Glens Falls
kneeled out the win, then mobbed each other in
"It feels crazy, the place was boomin', the
environment's crazy, there's nothing like it," Sampson
"It's really humbling and I'm just grateful," said
Lilac, who picked up his 105th coaching victory. "In Glens
Falls there's been three football coaches (in the last 64
years) of the program Putt LaMay, Paul Bricoccoli and
myself. I just feel so fortunate to continue what those
two built. This is kind of the fruition of everything that
started with Putt all they way up to 2016."
Special teams do the job for Indians
Will Springstead , Glens Falls Post-Star
SYRACUSE If anyone says that special teams aren’t exciting,
the Glens Falls Indians will respond with a big “oh, yeah?”
The Indians had six kickoff returns for 206 yards and one
touchdown in the Indians’ 47-39 win over Chenango Forks in the
Class B final of the State Football Tournament at the Carrier
Dome on Saturday.
Twice, the Blue Devils kicked it in a
way that the Indians chose not to return it. But if the
Indians had running room, run they did.
48-yard return gave Glens Falls the ball on Forks’ 39. Three
plays later, Aaron Sampson scored the Indians’ first
After a Forks score tied the game at 14,
another kickoff went to Balcom at the Glens Falls 21. He
brought it back to Forks’ 45. Again, the good field position
led to a score: Balcom’s 16-yard touchdown reception.
“That’s a shoutout to all our blockers in front of us,” Balcom
said. “They hit the guys in front of us, and we work around it
and try to find our holes.”
Forks’ next kickoff found
Aaron Sampson at the Glens Falls 22. He brought it out to the
46. Seven plays later, Balcom gathered in a tipped pass in the
Even when it didn’t result in a score, it
put a scare into Forks. The Indians’ final kickoff return of
the first half, a 48-yarder by Sampson, brought the ball to
the Blue Devils’ 28 with 12 seconds left.
was good blocks and our backs returning the kicks, read them,
do what we do,” Sampson said. “We know we have the speed, so
as soon as you get out in the open field, we knew it wasn’t a
problem. It was just breaking them, and we broke a couple.”
As Glens Falls coach Pat Lilac said, neither team was
trying to kick it to each other’s deep guys, but Glens Falls’
returners found a way to get to the ball and make things
“They were huge,” Lilac said of the returns.
“They were trying to play keepaway from Aaron and Andrew
(Murphy), and Dylan Balcom came up huge with two long returns
that put us right there on the doorstep. Contributions from
Of course, Glens Falls saved its biggest
return for last. With Glens Falls clinging to a 40-39 lead and
37 seconds left, everyone in attendance knew an onsides kick
was coming. Murphy took one step over midfield, snagged the
ball at the Forks 48, eluded one defender and sprinted into
the end zone for the insurance score.
“When we started
to spring a couple, we started to get more confidence,” Balcom
said. “We thought we could bust one out quick, and we did on
the onsides, we were able to get loose.”
State notebook: Speed gave Glens Falls edge in state
Pete Tobey & Will Springstead - Glens Falls Post-Star
SYRACUSE In a game that was a dogfight of back-and-forth
scoring on the football field, Glens Falls had one big edge:
The Indians, who proved far faster than any of
their competition leading up to Saturday’s Class B state
championship game, consistently beat Chenango Forks to the
corner on offense. Their quickness also helped tremendously on
defense, as Glens Falls closed gaps quickly in its 47-39
“Coming into this game we knew we had more
speed than they did on defense and on offense, so getting to
the perimeter wasn’t going to be the problem,” Indians junior
running back Aaron Sampson said. “It was our defense that came
up big at the end. I’m so grateful for them and all the work
that they put in.”
Four of Glens Falls’ speedsters
Sampson, seniors Andrew Murphy and Dylan Balcom, and sophomore
quarterback Joseph Girard III made big impacts on both sides
of the ball with their quickness. Sampson (165 yards) and
Girard (98 yards) both scored twice, as did Balcom on scoring
passes of 16 and 19 yards from Girard.
“A lot of times
when you play against a team that has one player with speed,
it’s almost like the team can slow him down if everybody does
their own job,” Chenango Forks head coach Dave Hogan said.
“But they had multiple kids who can run. … They had a lot of
kids who were very, very fast.”
The Indians also did plenty of damage on kick returns,
collecting 206 yards on six returns.
“We could say all
we want that they’re fast and elusive, but some of that’s got
to fall on us,” Hogan said. “The kids would be the first to
tell you that we could have done a better job tackling. It’s
more challenging when they’re that fast and that elusive, but
we certainly could have done better that way.”
Murphy had a relative quiet day the result of being
double-teamed all afternoon by the Chenango Forks defense.
A week after catching seven passes for 188 yards and two
touchdowns, Murphy was held without a catch. He did pick up 47
yards on five jet sweep plays, his specialty as the team’s
But there was a side effect to
committing too much to cover Murphy.
“That opened Dylan
up, it opened Tony (Green) up, Aaron (Sampson) had a big catch
out of the backfield,” Glens Falls head coach Pat Lilac said.
Girard was only 4 for 10 passing, but Balcom had two
touchdown catches in the second quarter, and another that was
negated by a penalty. Green snagged a catch one-handed on a
fourth-down pass to keep a second-quarter scoring drive alive.
G.F. captures awards
Beside Joseph Girard III’s overall MVP award, Glens
Falls won the bigger share of postgame awards.
Sampson was named the game’s most valuable offensive back. He
rushed for 165 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries. Quinn
Girard was named most valuable defensive back. He had 14
tackles, including 11 solo. Lucas Sanders (seven tackles) was
the most valuable defensive lineman and Chris George won Glens
Falls’ sportsmanship award.
Cambridge senior tackle/linebacker Lucas Winchester
suffered a neck injury during Friday’s Class D state
championship game, but was doing all right Friday night.
According to a family friend’s Facebook post that was
relayed on Twitter, Winchester suffered a transverse
non-displaced fracture of his C6 vertebra on a scary collision
with Maple Grove quarterback Dalton Dubois late in the third
Head coach Doug Luke said Winchester was
resting at home, he’s in a neck brace, but he should be OK.
“They said it’ll probably be a month or a little more
before he’s able to do anything,” Luke said. “There’s no
long-term (nerve) damage, it’ll just take time to heal.”
Despite the injury, Winchester received the game’s most
outstanding offensive lineman award, which senior Max Hoffer
accepted in his absence after Friday’s game.
Don’t see that often
One of Glens Falls’ 12 penalties in the game was an
unusual one: sideline interference.
The call came after
a 17-yard Chenango Forks run down the Glens Falls sideline in
the first quarter. The referees must have room to move up and
down the sideline, and they apparently didn’t on that play. It
resulted in another 15 yards down to Glens Falls’ 30.
Six plays later, the Blue Devils scored to take a 6-0 lead.
Great second effort
Glens Falls’ first touchdown was made possible by Aaron
Sampson’s second effort.
Sampson scored on a 17-yard
run going to his left. He got hit by a would-be tackler at the
8 and nearly went down, but stayed on his feet and got into
the end zone.
Forks’ big guns
The Blue Devils’ best player senior running back L.J.
Watson gave the Indians fits on some big runs that were
well-blocked, including a 60-yard touchdown just after Glens
Falls had taken a 20-14 second-quarter lead.
Glens Falls got just enough stops on him and backfield mate
Tim McDonald when it counted, especially in the second half.
“He’s a fast, strong athlete, but we put it to him just
swarm in and get it done,” Indians junior linebacker Dakota
Still, Watson finished with a game-high
191 yards and McDonald added 94 more, with each scoring twice.
Chenango Forks outgained Glens Falls in total yards, 400-384.
Senior Josh Griffen, Glens Falls’ two-year starting
quarterback who lost his job to his cousin Joseph Girard III
this season, got into the game on the first play of the fourth
Griffen lined up at quarterback and dropped
back to pass, got flushed out of the pocket and scrambled for
an 8-yard gain. It was part of the Indians’ touchdown drive
that gave them a 40-33 lead with 8:54 left in the game.
“This is amazing six of us came up as sophomores and
freshmen, and we had to grind and grind for two years, and now
we finish it the right way,” Griffen said. Glens Falls Indians win Class B state football
Pete Tobey - Glens Falls Post-Star
SYRACUSE Glens Falls gave its followers a Thanksgiving
to remember, winning the school's first state football
title Saturday at the Carrier Dome.
The Indians scored a 47-39 victory over Chenango Forks
in the Class B final, finishing the season a perfect 13-0.
It wrapped up a big weekend for local football teams,
coming on the heels of Cambridge's Class D title on
Glens Falls and Chenango Forks engaged in an offensive
shootout in the first half, playing to a 27-all tie. But
it was a big defensive stop that won the game for Glens
Falls late in the fourth quarter.
Chenango Forks' Connor Borchardt caught a 16-yard
touchdown pass with 37 seconds left to cut Glens Falls'
lead to 40-39. The Blue Devils opted to go for two points,
but running back L.J. Watson was stopped short of the goal
line by about a half-yard by Noah Dixon, Isaiah
Prunty, Dakota Trombley and Lucas Sanders.
The Indians then added an insurance score on the next
play, as Andrew Murphy snagged the onside kick at Forks'
48, dodged one tackle and out-sprinted everyone else to
the end zone. Andrew Stamatel's extra point made it 47-39.
Forks had one more shot at heroics, but Cody Bogue's
long pass down the sideline was overthrown and intercepted
by the game's most valuable player, Joseph Girard III. He
danced around for several seconds to kill time and the
Indians' fans filled the Dome with their exultant screams.
Many players contributed to Glens Falls' win. From
Girard scoring on a crazy 79-yard run on the first play of
the second quarter, to defensive back Quinn Girard's 14
tackles, to Aaron Sampson's 165 yards rushing, to Dylan
Balcom's catching a tipped pass in the end zone for a
touchdown if they wore the white, red and black of the
Indians, they had a hand in the historic moment.
"We know what we're going to get from Aaron, we know
what we're going to get from Joe, but Tony Green makes a
great one-handed catch, the offensive line dominated that
early part of the second half and Aaron did his thing,"
Glens Falls coach Pat Lilac said. "To have so many
contribute to the win like that, I don't know what else to
In earning the game's MVP award, Joseph Girard rushed
for 97 yards, threw for 62 (on 5 of 11 passing) and had
the game-sealing interception. On his 79-yard scoring run,
he started left, turned back to his right, stutter-stepped
some defenders, cut down the right sideline and weaved
past another defender on his way to the end zone.
"It was Q-stretch 7," Joseph Girard said, "which means
the quarterback is keeping it and going to the left. I
didn't see any holes there, but the line was holding up,
so I knew I could go the other way and reverse field.
That's what I had to do, but I knew I had to make a few
guys miss. The backs and receivers did a great job
"We've been dreaming about this since third, fourth
grade," Quinn Girard said. "When my brother's team went in
2012, that's been our goal for these years coming up."
Unbeaten foe awaits
unbeaten Forks in title game Kevin Stevens - Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin
Not since a sweat-sopped September
night in Endicott has an opponent closed within three
touchdowns of Chenango Forks’ football juggernaut.
noon Saturday, the top-ranked Blue Devils will encounter an
opponent with credentials to suggest that pattern could just
maybe be in for a twist.
Fellow unbeaten Glens Falls
will align opposite Forks for the Class B state title game in
the Carrier Dome with hopes of halting the Devils’ streak of
Section 2’s champions similarly
have not been tested since Week 2. The Indians have won their
last 10 by a 37.5-point average, scoring 42 or more in all but
one and allowing 14 or fewer in all but two.
tell they have very good team speed, they’re physical and
they’re unbeaten,” said Forks coach David Hogan, sizing up the
final obstacle between the Blue Devils and a state
record-matching fourth consecutive state title. That standard
was established by Maine-Endwell (2011-14).
one of eight Section 4 programs that have won state
championships since the football tournament originated in
1993, and one of three to win multiple titles (five).
Maine-Endwell has won five and Walton two. Forks is looking to
head off the program’s fifth season as a 12-1 state runner-up.
That’s how the Devils concluded the 2001, '02, '05 and '07
Glens Falls, in state playoffs for a third
time, advanced to the 2012 ‘B’ final before being slammed by
The Indians are fresh off a 49-14
semifinal win over Pleasantville (Section 1 champion from
Westchester County) in which sophomore quarterback Joseph
Girard III passed 17-for-22 for 304 yards and five touchdowns,
with speedy Andrew Murphy taking his seven receptions for 188
yards. Aaron Sampson rushed for 128 yards and three TDs on a
day the Warren County squad outgained Pleasantville, 489-268.
“They have a very athletic quarterback. From what I’m
hearing he’s already got looks from some major D-I basketball
schools,” Hogan said of Girard. “He’s young, but he can
already play the game.”
Murphy and Sampson were
likewise conspicuous to Forks coaches during film study, as
was 265-pound senior Lucas Sanders, a two-way lineman. “Seems
like he’s going to make an athletic move and be noticed,
because of his stature as well as his athleticism,” Hogan said
of the latter.
Glens Falls will run into offensive and
defensive lines that have proven to be Section 4’s finest,
surrounded by impactful athletes at most every turn.
Running back L.J. Watson presents the greatest offensive
threat, and shares backfield space with fellow senior Tim
McDonald each of whom exceeded 100-yard rushing games in a
41-8 semifinal whacking of Dunkirk. Watson and two-way line
ace Ryan Ehrets are fourth-season varsity starters who were
first-team all-state as juniors, and McDonald’s a three-year
A largely concealed aspect of the Blue Devils’
offense has been a passing game headed by senior Cody Bogue.
Hogan will not hesitate to instruct Bogue to throw the
football when the situation warrants with Watson, Connor
Borchardt and Dan Crowningshield among those receiving and
Forks’ lone tight ballgame, 21-7
against Union-Endicott, was played in Week 2 and brought the
Blue Devils’ lone deficit of 2016.
What’ll it take to
close a Forks football season undefeated for the first time
“I’d say the same thing every week: We have
to have a good start,” said Hogan, 93-11 since succeeding
Kelsey Green as head coach in 2008. “We’re always, always
talking about not trying to do too much. You just want to do
your job. It’s a big deal, but at the same time you’re still
just focusing on what you have to do.
“ ‘It’s just
another game,’ you hear the seniors saying that. ‘It’s just
another game and we’re trying to get better.’
want to play our game, try to keep the same focus each week.
That’s pretty simple, we’re trying to get better and we’re
trying to stay mentally sharp.” Glens Falls faces tough challenge in state final
Pete Tobey - Glens Falls Post-Star
QUEENSBURY A nickname has sprung up around this Glens
Falls Indians football team: The Fastest Show on Turf.
It's a play on the Kurt Warner-era St. Louis Rams'
"Greatest Show on Turf" teams at the turn of the 21st
century, but what better way to describe a Glens Falls
spread offense that is loaded with speed, exceptional
playmakers, competitive spirits and more speed.
Glens Falls fans come to see the show sophomore
quarterback Joseph Girard III artfully dodging the rush
and delivering precision passes to an array of speedy
receivers, Aaron Sampson slicing through a defense, or
Andrew Murphy doing something special every game.
It's not just offense, but players shine on defense
and special teams, too, and not just the aforementioned
stars. It's the Fastest Show on Turf whether the Indians
have the ball or not.
"It's fitting to our identity," Sampson said of the
team's moniker. "We've had a lot of games where we made
big plays on special teams or defense it's not just
offense. We try to go out every down it doesn't matter
what it is, offense, defense or special teams and put on
a show for everybody."
Glens Falls will face its biggest test on Saturday at
high noon at the Carrier Dome in the Class B state
championship game. The third-ranked Indians will see if
they can topple the king of the mountain No. 1-ranked
Chenango Forks in a showdown of 12-0 teams.
The Section IV champion Blue Devils have won three
straight state titles in Class C, and moved up to Class B
this season to chase their fourth in a row. Chenango Forks
features a massive offensive line that has paved the way
for one of the state's best rushing attacks, spearheaded
by the outstanding L.J. Watson, a 2,000-yard rusher.
"It's two contrasting styles," said Glens Falls head
coach Pat Lilac, in his 17th season at the Indians' helm.
"The thing I'm worried about is their physicality wearing
us down, and also playing keepaway from us.
"We're hoping to get our athletes some space and make
them tackle us we do have the ability to break a tackle
and go," Lilac added. "We have to have our share of big
plays to be in this thing."
Glens Falls' explosive offense (546 points) is not
lost on the Blue Devils, who defeated Rye Neck, Hoosick
Falls and Greenwich in the last three Class C state title
"Glens Falls is definitely scary," said Chenango Forks
head coach Dave Hogan, whose team is coming off a 41-8
state semifinal win over Dunkirk, its 23rd straight win.
"They've got our attention.
"They have a very talented quarterback who can run,
scramble and throw the ball, and he's got some receivers
to throw to," Hogan added. "They're pretty solid up front
and their defense is tough, too. They play with a lot of
enthusiasm and confidence, and you can see why."
Glens Falls returns to the Carrier Dome for the first
time since 2012, when it dropped a 42-12 loss to powerful
Girard has excelled in his first season as the
Indians' starting quarterback, completing 67 percent of
his passes for 1,575 yards and 22 touchdowns. Murphy has
caught 40 passes for 888 yards and 12 scores, and has 22
touchdowns overall. Sampson has rushed for 1,164 yards and
In last week's 49-14 state semifinal win over
Pleasantville, Girard passed for 304 yards and five
"We'll mix and match and try to find matchups we like,
just like we do every game," Lilac said. "We try to make
teams defend the whole field, and Joe does a great job
making decisions on who to throw to."
"This team is quicker off the ball (than
Pleasantville), but this team's D-line will chase the ball
down, so we have to make sure we stay on our blocks," said
senior Lucas Sanders, who anchors both lines.
Glens Falls' defense will face a very tough challenge
slowing down the 1-2 punch of Watson and Tim McDonald,
who have combined for nearly 3,000 yards and 48
touchdowns. The 6-foot, 190-pound Watson, a four-year
starter, is a blend of power and elusiveness that is
drawing attention from the FCS and Division II levels. He
runs behind an experienced line anchored by center Ryan
Ehrets, another four-year starter.
"I think they'll try to keep it away from our offense,
keep trying to pound it and use the clock to their
advantage and keep our offense off the field," Sampson
said. "We have to come up big on defense."
Chenango Forks has quite a legacy in New York state
football. The Binghamton-area power has won five state
titles and is playing in its 10th state final since 2001.
The Blue Devils thumped Greenwich 42-7 in last year's
final, producing three 100-yard rushers.
Glens Falls has not faced this kind of power-running
team in weeks the Indians have played mostly spread
teams since facing Schuylerville's flexbone attack in Week
"They're big and strong up front, and they'll be tough
to stop," Indians assistant coach Dave Casey said. "But
they have to stop us, too."