LITTLE FALLS, NY– It was wet and bitterly cold at Little Falls High School on Saturday.
Some would say that’s prefect football weather, but for the Little Falls Mounties, it seemed to set the mood to say goodbye to their departing seniors. For the Altmar-Parish-Williamstown Rebels, however, it was perfect weather to pull off a cold-blooded upset.
Jordan Mull scored two touchdowns, while the defense held off a furious rally by Little Falls in the final minutes to make the two-hour drive back home a happy one in a 24-18 victory. For Mull, who sat out much of the second half due to injury, it was all about quite another thing.
“I was just trying to keep warm,” the senior said about his second-half duties. “I just tried to keep my team motivated from the sidelines.”
“He just took a pretty big whack near the end of the first half,” Rebels head coach Scott Stanard said of his senior running back. “We figured we’d let him rest the second half, we were so far ahead.”
From the outset, it looked like the Rebels would not need much motivation. After a bad snap on a Little Falls punt, A-P-W started out with fantastic field position. Using their running attack, headed by Mull, fellow senior Nate Cronk and junior Tim Palmer, the Rebels were able to get on the board first, when Mull punched it in from two yards out to give A-P-W an 8-0 lead.
It would take most of the first half for the Rebels to get back on the board, as the two teams traded three-and-outs and fumbles for the rest of the first quarter and much of the second. However, about halfway through the second quarter, the Rebels got another big chance. Taking advantage of a long pass from sophomore quarterback Jon Comstock to Palmer, the Rebels scored again. Palmer would punch it in from five yards out to double the A-P-W lead, 16-0.
It wouldn’t take as long for the Rebels to score again, however. A-P-W would take advantage of a Mounties fumble to take possession at their own 41-yard line. Mull would make sure the Rebels didn’t make another long slog through the mud toward a score, as he would take the ball on the ensuing play and scamper 59 yards for the Rebels’ second touchdown in just 50 seconds. That would be the way the half would end, as the Rebels took a 24-0 lead into the locker room.
However, the Mounties came out firing in the second half. Aided by an onside kick to start the second half, the Little Falls defense allowed the Rebels to eat up over seven minutes on a drive that took them into the Mounties’ red zone. However, A-P-W would walk away empty-handed, as the running game bogged down near the goal line.
That was when the Mounties’ senior quarterback, Kobe Jackson, seemingly took control of the game. He would lead Little Falls with his arm and his legs, taking the Mounties all the way down the field before scoring on a 16-yard pass to Todd Hubbell to cut into the A-P-W lead. However, the two-point conversion fell short, and the Rebels held on to a 24-6 lead.
For Jackson, it was all about his role as a leader for his Mounties.
“I didn’t want to let my brothers down,” Jackson said. “But all credit goes to my wide receivers and my offensive line.”
“They’re physical, and gave right up to the last second,” Little Falls head coach Bryan Shepardson said of his senior leaders. “We did a good job spreading the ball around and making some points in the second half.”
The fourth quarter certainly starred the lines, both offensive and defensive as the first half of it was a tough slog for both teams, with neither gaining an advantage. However, utilizing the legs and arm of Jackson and the hands of Hubbell helped the Mounties score again halfway through the quarter, as the two connected again on a six-yard pass into the back of the end zone. Suddenly, it was 24-12, and the Little Falls faithful who had stuck it out through the rain and bitter cold had renewed hope.
That hope would grow even larger, as Jackson ran the Mounties all the way down into scoring range. Aided by a long pass from Jackson to senior Jason Gallt and a late hit penalty on A-P-W, the Mounties were able to cut the A-P-W lead to six, on another six-yard pass from Jackson to Hubbell.
They very nearly got another gift, as a fumble by the Rebels in victory formation with 32 seconds left gave the Mounties one last chance to tie it up. However, the A-P-W defense held firm, and were able to leave Jackson despondent on the field as the final seconds ran off the clock.
For Shepardson, a season that started with such promise ended with a sickening thud, but the Mounties’ performance on the field was nothing to be ashamed of.
“You have eight great teams [in the Class C playoffs],” Shepardson said. “We gave them everything today.”
For Jackson, a long career at Little Falls comes to an end, but not without a message for next year’s team.
“I told them, we have to work, work, work, so you guys can win it all next year,” Jackson said.
For the Mounties, that work begins in the weight room on Monday morning.
APW Rebels 24, Little Falls Mounties 18
Rebels 8 16 0 0 24
Mounties 0 0 6 12 18
APW- Jordan Mull 2 yard run (Tim Palmer run), 6:45
APW- Tim Palmer 5 yard run (Mull run), 5:12
APW- Mull 59 yard run (Mull run) 4:22
LF- Todd Hubbell 16 yard pass from Kobe Jackson (pass failed), 1:28