UTICA — Two local undefeated teams collided for the Class C East league championship. The winner of this game would win the division and have a top seed heading into sectionals.
First there are the Holland Patent Golden Knights who crushed Mount Markham 43-12 last week to improve to 5-0. Holland Patent quarterback Nick Herringshaw and running back Jason Haas are the keys to the team’s success. Entering the game, Herringshaw has thrown eight touchdown passes this season, and Haas rushed for 534 yards. He also recorded eight rushing touchdowns.
Holland Patent head coach Brian Briggs said that the team’s performance this year, is the best they have had when compared to previous years.
“This is the best that we had in previous years,” Briggs said. “Our kids have been working hard since day one and you have 20 seniors who have a lot of depth and leadership, and now I know we can beat anybody, so my team is ready.”
Then there are the Notre Dame Jugglers, another 5-0 team has the home field advantage. Jugglers’ quarterback Treijen Garrett is one of the top players in Section 3. He threw eight touchdown passes and 787 yards passing this season, and also has 11 rushing TDs through five games. Notre Dame beat Holland Patent on the road last year, and the Jugglers’ head coach Genaro Scampone said that this team had a good chance of beating the Knights at their homecoming game this year.
“We were playing well defensively coming into this game,” Scampone said. “There were still a few things that we needed to make adjustments on, but I never doubted this team for a second.”
But this year’s game was the exact opposite, as the Golden Knights beat the Notre Dame Jugglers 42-14. It has been 21 years since Holland Patent last won their division, but after the stellar performances by Herringshaw and Haas, the conference drought is finally over.
Herringshaw was 3-7 in passing with 87 yards, three total touchdowns, and one interception. Haas rushed for 191 yards and three touchdowns.
“We were all in it today,” Haas said. “We weren’t slacking or nothing like that. Every play was 100 percent from everybody. We worked hard in the offseason and it’s proving it right here.”
Early in the first, Holland Patent senior Jeff Sobel recorded a 27-yard rush to the Jugglers’ five-yard line. Herringshaw recorded the QB sneak moments later for the Knights first touchdown of the day. Holland Patent took a 7-0 lead following the kick.
Holland Patent drove down the field and scored again in the second quarter off of another QB sneak from Herringshaw. Golden Knights were now up 14-0 following the extra point.
The Knights continued to dismantle the Jugglers’ defense midway through the second. Haas rushed 49-yards all the way down to the Jugglers’ 20. Haas then scored the Knights third touchdown of the game off of a three-yard rush (HP 21-0). Things got worse for the Jugglers when Herringshaw threw a 70-yard touchdown pass to Josh Ernst to give the Knights a commanding 28-0 lead.
But the Jugglers finally got on the board just seconds before the end of the second quarter. Garrett completed a 33-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Patrick Espinosa to give Notre Dame its first touchdown of the game. The Knights however still had a 21-point lead heading into halftime.
“We had to get something quick on the scoreboard,” Garrett said. “I threw it up to Pat, and he went up there with the size and just snagged it. We had a little bit of confidence after that play, and we knew we were getting the ball back after halftime.”
The Juggler players started off strong in the second half. Garrett threw a nine-yard touchdown pass to Isiah Czarnecki to decrease Holland Patents’ lead to 28-14.
But the Jugglers‘ defense continued to struggle, as the Golden Knights put up 14 points in the third quarter. Herringshaw reached Jugglers’ territory off of a 28-yard rush, and Haas recorded a 5-yard rushing TD. The Knights were back up by three touchdowns (35-14) after the extra point. The Knights’ second touchdown came when Haas ran 32-yards to the end zone. The Knights milked the clock and held onto their lead for the win.
The Jugglers head coach said that his team struggled stopping the run and getting more drives going.
“We couldn’t stop the run,” Scampone said. “We’re (usually) pretty solid against the run. We didn’t play good field position all game. We were outmatched physically today. We need to stop the run, move the ball, and sustain drives come next week.”
Garrett completed 15 of his 26 passes for 193 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions today.
“Some of the reads I’ve been making weren’t that good,” Garrett said. “Some of the balls that I threw were inaccurate. I was dancing too much and not going north or south. It’s something to learn from. I’m kind of glad it happened last game before sectionals. But we still had a great season. We’ve been clicking on all cylinders.”
Notre Dame looks to rebound on the road next Saturday against Adirondack (Game starts at 2 p.m.).
Holland Patent, on the other hand, will return home to close out the regular season next Saturday against Canastota (Game starts at 6:30 p.m. at Whitesboro High School).
“I couldn’t be happier with my team,” Herringshaw said. “We come in every game like it’s our first game of the season and don’t worry about the rest of the games. So we’re just playing hard and taking it one game at a time.”