POTSDAM - While Mitch Gallagher rushed for 144 yards and three touchdowns in leading Malone past Potsdam 25-14 in the Northern Athletic Conference championship game on Friday night, it was the Huskie defense which the senior quarterback/defensive back was most impressed with.
Im so proud of our defense. We played a heluva game. We held them in the first half and kept it up in the second half, said Gallagher whose team held the vaunted Potsdam running game to 121 yards rushing. We showed them different formations from the first time we played them. We sent a couple of blitz packages which worked really well.
The hard-running Gallagher, named by Section 10 officials after the game as the recipient of the Don Petty Award as the top overall player in Section 10, scored on runs of five and three yards in the first and second quarters, respectively, and then added what proved to be the gamewinner with a two-yard burst on the first play of the fourth quarter.
Mitch is tough. Hes not afraid to run over a guy if hes in his way, said Malone coach Greg Marshall whose team won for the first time ever on the Potsdam turf field. We changed a few things and really challenged them on defense. Our guys have been wanting to play them again ever since they beat us in the regular season. Theres nothing better than this.
Malone (8-1) trailed by 8-7 in the second quarter after Potsdam quarterback Will Coleman scored on a 1-yard dive. But the Huskies took a 13-8 lead into the halftime locker room after Gallaghers 2-yard touchdown run late in the second quarter, set up on the previous play by a 29-yard Gallagher scamper.
Potsdam (8-1) again took the lead as Oden Robertson converted from one-yard out, on a drive aided by a pair of Huskie pass interference penalties, with 40 seconds left in the third quarter.
But it was all Huskies from there as a 46-yard run by Tyrek Sneed set up a 2-yard Gallagher score on the first play of the fourth quarter. That was followed by a Harvey Smith interception at the Malone 20 yardline which the Huskies converted into an 80-yard touchdown drive, culminating in a Sneed 26-yard run with five minutes to play.
Malone moves on to compete in the Class B state tournament while Potsdam will host Massena this coming weekend for the right to compete in the Class A state tournament.
Malone played a great game. Mitch did a good job, said Potsdam coach Jim Kirka. We were injured with a lot of key guys out on defense, but no excuses. Our running game was not there tonight.
Said Gallagher: Not making any turnovers, keeping the ball in our hands, was definitely big. Added Marshall: We always make one or two turnovers, so tonight was big for us. We concentrated on that all week.
Sneed finished with 119 yards rushing on nine carries for the Huskies. For the Sandstoners, Coleman completed 9-of-15 passes for 105 yards while Shawn Clark made eight receptions for 104 yards.
MASSENA 18, TUPPER LAKE 9
Taking advantage of two fumbles and a missed field goal by Tupper Lake, the Red Raiders improved to 5-4 with a win against the Lumberjacks at Mike Nicholas Field in the Tier II Championship game.
Tupper Lake gave Massena a short field for the first touchdown after a fumble in the second quarter and Zach Regan scored on a two yard plunge. Ian Gillis made it 6-3 before halftime on a 18 yard field goal.
Massena received the ball at the 38 yard line after a fumble on a kickoff to start the third. Massena went seven plays capped by a 34 yard pass and catch from Justin Bestor to Regan.
Tupper Lake couldnt score late in the third and missed a field goal. Massena capitalized when Regan scampered 68 yards to paydirt.
Mitch Keniston found Brock Tarbox for a nine yard touchdown pass in the fourth.
Regan finished with 179 yards on 18 carries scoring two touchdowns. Bestor was seven of 12 for 102 yards - three of his passes to Regan for 37 yards. Viskovitch had a 32 yard catch.
Keniston passed for 135 yards on eight for 17 passing and produced a touchdown for Tupper Lake.
Keniston also had 148 yards on 16 carries. Jeremy Roussel had 44 yards rushing.
Tarbox had four catches for 80 yards.