EAST GREENBUSH, NY – In the preseason, Columbia Head Coach Bob Treacy was enthusiastic about his horses in the backfield, defending senior Michael Benets calves.
Bennet and the horses did not disappoint Friday night.
That’s our game plan, Treacy said, pointing to Bennet. Three, three is our game plan.
The Class-A Columbia was able to perform and beat the Class AA Blue Streaks 14-7 Friday night after a two touchdown, 89 yard performance from Bennet.
You can’t expect that, Bennet said as he scored both touchdowns for Columbia. You have to adapt. I couldn’t have done it without my line. My line and I became so close this off season and we became a family.
“I can’t remember the last time we played Saratoga,” Treacy said. It was for me when we were an AA school. Our goal is to always win first. That’s what we work for out of season. No matter how you win it, win it.
Although Bennet was the one to score both touchdowns and the two-point conversion for the Blue Devils in the win, running backs David Romer and Tanner Malone stepped up to give the Columbia offense some diversity from the backfield.
It does affect the offense, Treacy said when he had more than one weapon from the backfield. We need to focus on getting those other guys involved faster. Run with Mike, run a counter with the other guys, run a jet, we gotta make sure our blocks on the jet because those kids are fast. We just missed one or two blocks on those jets and we slipped through on one.
All three running backs combined for 133 yards on the ground. Columbia got a total of 122 yards while Saratoga amassed only 89 in the loss.
Bennet attributed his line to enabling the running game in the win.
They got those holes open and they had my back, so I had their back the whole game, Bennet said. They work so hard that I cannot disappoint them. They give everything on the pitch and that makes me have to give everything.
For the Blue Streaks, Jared Arpey and Rodell Evans III were the main drivers in the run game, while Nate Siewert used the passing game and even passed for a touchdown in the loss.
— Joe Boyle (@boyleralertTroy) September 10, 2021
Siewert passed for 46 yards in the loss. Arpey was key to the jet sweep for Saratoga, allowing Evans III to hold it in the middle or reach out to Arpey, who would try to beat the Columbia defenders on the outside.
There were only two scores in the first half, both of which were in the second quarter on Friday night.
Columbias Bennet hit just three seconds in the quarter in a 1-yard run to give the Blue Devils a 6-0 lead. Saratoga reacted to their next possession, but almost five minutes later, Siewerts passed the touchdown to Arpey. The game from nine meters through the air was followed by a nice extra point from Toga tipper Aiden Slavett. Thanks to the extra point, Saratoga had the advantage of one point.
— Joe Boyle (@boyleralertTroy) September 10, 2021
Both defenses made some big plays to keep the attacks tired in the first half. Columbias second possession of the game was from within the Saratoga 20 yard line. Saratoga was able to suppress Bennet and the Devils not to allow a score on the drive.
Columbia responded to the defensive stop by intercepting a Siewert pass on the next drive. Drake Kohler took the deep ball. Saratoga’s defenses were able to recover both an own interception and a fumble.
The game was not without its imperfections. Both teams showed their rust with basic mistakes and flags that dug the fouls into holes.
An ugly win is still a win, right? said Treacy. Our execution for violation needs to get better. We need to have more control over what we do, we need to get out of the tangle faster. We have to get to the line faster, we can’t wave the referee and we have to call a time-out. Our offensive execution isn’t great.
The second half continued with those simple errors, and it wasn’t until Bennet’s 29-yard run at 9:40 a.m. of the fourth quarter that the third and final score of the game would occur.
Bennet batted in the 2-point conversion to give Columbia a touchdown and an extra point in the fourth quarter. Saratoga fiddled with the ball on the next drive to give Columbia the ball back after just three plays.
Columbia was forced to kick out and on Saratogas’ next drive they threw an interception. Saratogas had led to sales for the first two assets of the fourth quarter.
Saratogas last ride of the game was a three and out. Evans III made a six-yard run that came just three yards from the first game.
Both teams will have to clean up a few things before their week two matchups. Columbia plays the Visitor in Niskayuna, while Saratoga travels to Colonie to face the Garnet Raiders.
COLUMBIA 14, SARATOGA 7
Columbia High School
East Greenbush, New York
September 10, 2021
COLUMBIA 0-6-0-8 — 14
SARATOGA 0-7-0-0 — 7
11:57 – Columbia Touchdown – Michael Bennet 1 yard run; Extra point not good by Drake Kohler
6:31 – Saratoga Touchdown – Nate Siewert 9 yard touchdown pass to Jared Arpey; Extra point is good by Aidan Slavett
09:40 – Columbia Touchdown – Michael Bennet 27 yard run; Bennet run is good for 2 point conversion
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