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Saturday, Sept. 4, 2016: Albany stuns 2015 state football finalist

   Leading off today: Though it doesn't exactly reach the level of (Warning: Old guy reference ahead) Chaminade over Virginia, what happened Saturday in Section 2 football nevertheless was stunning.

   Albany snapped a streak of 70 regular-season losses with a 16-14 victory over Saratoga, a team depleted by graduation but just nine months removed from a trip to the NYSPHSAA Class AA championship game.

   Though the Falcons did end the 2015 season with three straight wins in consolation pool matchups, their last victory during th first seven weeks of a season came Oct. 15, 2005 against LaSalle.

   "Special ... a special day," second-year coach Joey DiPiazza told The Times Union. "We knew it was going to be a fight today. I am proud of the coaches and our team."

   Senior wide receiver Jahi Goodbee caught a slant pass from Noah John and raced untouched for a 78-yard touchdown to tie the game with 1:36 left. Senior running back Ky'ere Tillery (98 yards rushing) then ran for his second two-point conversion of the day to put the Falcons ahead.

   Saratoga QB Wes Eglintine hurt a knee on first drive of the game and backup Lewi Clark was also injured during the first drive. The injuries forced starting running back Darius Wicks to take snaps for a time while Eglintine was worked on.

   "In the end, they were better than we were," Saratoga coach Terry Jones told The Saratogian. "We got beat up physically. We had a lot of the kids get knocked out of the game, our offense was limited early. We lost our No. 1 and No. 2 quarterback on successive plays early in the first half. Wes gutted it out and came back, but he wasn't himself and the quarterback running the football is a big part of our offense, and he couldn't do that."

   Clash of defending champs: Chenango Forks made it 19 straight opening-day victories by rolling past Tioga 55-12 on the strength of six scoring plays of 40 or more yards.

   Chenango Forks, which moves up a class this season and Tioga were the 2015 New York State Public High School Athletic Association champions in Classes C and D, respectively.

   L.J. Watson carried nine times for 195 yards and a pair of touchdowns, and three other Forks backs accumulated 70 or more yards.

   Tough weekend: Week 1 was not kind to state finalists of a year ago. NYSPHSAA champions Aquinas (Class AA), South Park (A) and Tioga all lost their 2016 debuts, as did runners-up Saratoga and Our Lady of Lourdes (A). In addition, CHSFL finalist St. Francis dropped its opener.

   Off to the races: New Rochelle junior Romeo Holden returned the opening kickoff 91 yards for a score to jump-start a 34-13 victory over North Rockland.

   "That was a great way to start the season," junior quarterback Keion Hiland-Jones tole The Journal News. "It gave Section 1 a rude awakening to how we're going to play all year."

   The touchdown was one of two for Holden, who had two more called back by penalties. He rushed for a game-high 72 yards on seven carries and caught two passes for 27 yards and a score.

   Wild game of the day: Alex Sorochinsky ran for 192 yards and five TDs as Walton rallied for a 52-50 win vs. Oneonta by putting up 30 points in the fourth quarter. football site

   Sorochinsky's fifth TD tied the score with under a minute to play. He then scored the go-ahead points on a conversion run for the final margin.

   Mariano Hernandez (173 rushing yards and 126 receiving) scored four touchdowns for Oneonta, which led 36-22 lead after three quarters.

   Also noteworthy: Defending Section 1 Class B champ Westlake scored on its first three offensive snaps of the day and beat visiting Putnam Valley 41-8.

   Junior QB Rob DiNota had nine carries for 257 yards, including a 90-yard touchdown.

   Left over from Friday: A quarterback and his top receiver each tied state records for TDs in a game in their season opener.

   Dan Crowley threw for eight touchdowns and 387 yards to lead Binghamton Seton Catholic over Unadilla Valley 54-30.

   John Giangreico caught 13 passes from Crowley for 182 yards and five TDs. Jaylin Ragsdale had the three other touchdowns.

   Crowley became the third quarterback in New York history to rack up eight TD passes in a game. Giangreico became the 10th receiver to pull down five scoring catches in a game -- and the sixth in the past four seasons.

   Scores: All of the available Week 1 football scores have been posted to the schedules/results section.

   Basketball note: Othello Smith, a 6-foot-10 senior, who was a role player last winter at Christ the King, has transferred to PSAL Brooklyn powerhouse Abraham Lincoln.

   Smith had been playing AAU ball recently for the Juice All-Stars, coached by Railsplitters coach Dwayne "Tiny" Morton.

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