SAUQUOIT, NY– For everybody, it was a quick turnaround. But, the chance to be on TV can make the week go by fast.
Such was the case in Sauquoit Valley on Thursday night, as their Indians met the West Canada Valley Indians in front of thousands of people watching on TVs all over New York State.
When everything started, however, it was West Canada Valley quarterback Matt Tobin who stole the spotlight. Tobin ran for an eye-popping six touchdowns as his Indians topped Sauquoit, 55-30.
As a veteran field general, Tobin was quick to give credit where it was due.
“I give it all to my line,” he said after the game. “I couldn’t have done it without them.
For Indians head coach Todd Hobin, it seemed a light switched on for his junior quarterback.
“I don’t think he experienced what he did last Friday [a 24-20 loss to Frankfort-Schuyler],” Hobin said. “He was just himself tonight.”
However, it was their hosts who would start off hot. Andrew Castelletti would find Luke Price for a 26 yard touchdown pass to start the game. However, the Indians wearing purple would knock the extra point down to keep the score at 6-0.
That was when the light turned on for Tobin. Leaning on the powerful running game of senior Shawn Pierson, Tobin would lead the Indians down the field in only eight plays. Tobin would take the ball in himself from nine yards out to put West Canada Valley in the lead and start a run of 34 straight points by the visitors.
Tobin also showed some flashes of brilliance on special teams as well. After a three-and-out by Sauquoit Valley, the junior would block a punt and after a mad scramble for the ball, return it 35 yards to put West Canada up 14-6 quickly.
In the second quarter, the spotlight would again shine bright on Tobin. He and senior Bailey Chapin (West Canada Valley’s extra point kicker) would be the only one to score points. Tobin would score on runs of one, 14, and 28 yards, the last two coming within 27 seconds of each other to give the visiting Indians a commanding lead.
However, Sauquoit Valley head coach Pat Passalacqua was not about to let his Indians roll over and die.
“We told them to put the first half behind us,” Passalacqua said.
Then to start the second half, Passalacqua said something straight out of the mind of New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton.
“I said, ‘Why not, let’s try the onside kick.’”
Try they did, and just like the Saints, the home team came up with the ball. The Indians wearing red would march down the field with it and give the Sauquoit Valley faithful some hope, as Castelletti would find Tyler Scott for a 10-yard touchdown and brong them back to within twenty.
The Indians wearing purple bounced right back, however, using most of the third quarter on a 12-play drive that would end—how else?– with Tobin taking it in from one yard out.
Late in the quarter, someone else would get some attention—Tobin’s running back, Pierson. After Tobin broke off runs of 27, 17 and five yards, Pierson would push the pile and get a four-yard touchdown of his own.
Yet again, however, the home team would not roll over and die. Early in the fourth quarter, Castelletti would throw a pass that would bounce off at least four players. When the dust settled, however, it was Kraig Livingston who would end up with the ball in the back of the end zone on an acrobatic catch to keep the score close.
However, on the ensuing drive, the visitors would finally put their hosts away. Led by big gains from Pierson, Brandon Barnes would score West Canada Valley’s (3-1, 3-1 D East) final touchdown of the night, on a 13-yard run.
Sauquoit Valley (1-3, 1-3 D East) would mount one more drive late, this time on the back of their leading rusher, Garrett Evans. Evans would break off big gains against the West Canada Valley second string before Castelletti would find Tyler Scott in the corner of the end zone to make the score 55-30 when the final whistle blew.
For Passalacqua, the TV schedule (playing a Thursday night game instead of their usual Friday) might have hindered his Indians just a little.
“It would have been nice to have another day,” Passalacqua said. “It was hard to get a good look at their offense and defense.”
Despite that, the Sauquoit head coach was proud of his team’s tenacity.
“We didn’t give up,” Passalacqua said. “We knew what they were all about…big and physical.”
For Hobin, the win was a big return to form after a devastating loss last week.
“I was glad to see we can bounce back,” Hobin said. “In a game like this, there’s a lot to learn from…overall, I’m proud of my boys.”
For Tobin, the man of the hour, there was just one word to describe the bounce-back.
“It was huge…huge.”
From his expression after the game, however, it was hard to see which was more huge: Tobin’s performance, or the smile on his face afterward.
West Canada Valley Indians 55, Sauquoit Valley Indians 30
WCV 14 20 14 7 55
SV 6 0 8 16 30
SV- Luke Price 26 yard pass from Andrew Castelletti (kick blocked), 8:19
WCV- Matt Tobin 9 yard run (Bailey Chapin kick), 5:02
WCV- Tobin 35 yard blocked punt return (Chapin kick), 3:50
WCV- Tobin 1 yard run (Chapin kick), 11:36
WCV- Tobin 14 yard run (kick failed), 6:38
WCV- Tobin 28 yard run (Chapin kick), 6:11
SV- Tyler Scott 10 yard pass from Castelletti (Kraig Livingston pass from Castelletti), 9:58
WCV- Tobin 1 yard run (Chapin kick), 4:32
WCV- Shawn Pierson 4 yard run (Chapin kick), 1:21
SV- Livingston 19 yard pass from Castelletti (Garrett Evans pass from Castelletti), 10:48
WCV- Brandon Barnes 13 yard run (Chapin kick), 7:15
SV- Scott 10 yard pass from Castelletti (Ben Vanderpool pass from Castelletti), 1:15