The pressure to continue to win titles can get to even the most seasoned athletes. However, Schalmont, the 3 time reigning section II Class B champs, showed no signs of cracking as they prepared for their opening round playoff game against Ichabod Crane.
Head Coach Joe Whipple attributes it to a non-conference 37-0 loss to reigning Class A champion Burnt Hills in week 2.
“From that point we refocused on our fundamentals and didn't take things for granted,” said Whipple.
Aside from that wake up call, Whipple made a major change in week 4 in their game against Broadalbin-Perth. He moved junior quarterback Devon Willis, who earned first team state class B honors last season as a running back, back to that position.
“It's a better switch for us, it opens up a lot of things on offense,” said Willis. “There are more options when I'm at running back, there's more time for plays to develop and things just come natural.”
Sophomore Nick Gallo took over at quarterback and led the team to a 51-7 win over Broadalbin-Perth.
“I always like being quarterback, I always like having the ball in my hands,” said Gallo. “I have Devon at running back, I know if I ever need to give him the ball he's going to do what he has to do.”
Since the switch, the Sabres have scored no less than 50 points in a game. However, they will face a team that will be playing with house money after defying the odds to make the playoffs.
“They are a great team, well coached, and they'll be hungry,” said Willis.
“We look at their techniques, and what they do well offensively and defensively,” stated Whipple. “We give them a lot of credit, in a very short period of time. In 4 years as a program they already made the playoffs.”
The game will be played Friday, October 19th at 7pm at Schalmont.