SAUGERTIES, NY – Saugerties High seemed to be firing on all cylinders in their first practice against Highland in their non-league opener on Saturday
Running back Daryl Mayr was gaining ground and the visiting Huskies committed three penalties to allow the Sawyers to move within 10 yards of the dirt. But after the Sawyers lost 15 yards due to some costly penalties, that all changed when Highlands junior linebacker Landon Zehr intercepted a pass intended for tight end Andrew Mulford and returned it 70 yards for a lead. of 6-0. Joshua Bishop’s extra point made it 7-0 and the Huskies were on their way to a 34-7 victory.
Saugerties coach Nick Bernard said quarterback Mason Hartrum’s misguided pass was a game-changer. He wasn’t happy with the Sawyers’ response to the pick six.
“I think we kind of gave up on the game and kind of put our heads down a bit,” he said. “It snowballed for a second. And in football, you just can’t do that. Their defense did a great job of reading and our quarterback can’t throw that ball.
Zehr said he was able to see the play headed for the tight end and got into position to catch the pass.
“I saw the quarterback’s eyes and read that he was going towards this guy and came forward and I was right next to it,” Zehr said. “I think it changed the momentum and set the tone that we were ready to play.”
After forcing the Sawyers to a three-and-out, Highland rushed for 92 yards in nine plays to take a 14-0 lead on junior running back James Gescheidle’s 6-yard touchdown with 10:49 left in the second quarter. Late in the second quarter, Gescheidle took a short flat pass from quarterback Alex Silverio, broke a tackle and sprinted 65 yards down the right sideline for a touchdown that gave Highland a 21- 0 at halftime. The Sawyers have
burned on the play when they blitzed and failed to reach Silverio before he offloaded the ball to Gescheidle.
It’s been a rewarding return to the grid for the junior running back, who suffered a season-ending leg injury early in the Huskies’ fourth game of the 2021 campaign. He believes Highland has a great chance to do much better than last season’s 4-6 record.
“We have a lot of newcomers and they are doing very well,” Gescheidle said. “I think we will continue to win. We look really good in training and we looked good today. We want to maintain it. »
The Huskies showed no signs of letting up in the second half, rushing for 81 yards on 11 plays to take a 27-0 lead over Silverio’s 1-yard goaltender with eight seconds left in the third quarter. A 58-yard punt return by Conner Gemmell put the Huskies on top 34-0 with 9:55 to go.
After Mulford’s fumble on a sloppy Highland run inside the Huskies’ 15-yard line in the final two minutes, sophomore running back Ezra Cafaldo scored on a 3-yard run to avoid white game.
Silverio went 10-for-15 for 150 passing yards for the Huskies. Mayr had 83 yards on 19 carries for the Sawyers, who host Red Hook at 1:30 p.m. Sept. 10.
Bernard hopes for a better outcome next week.
“We made too many mistakes today,” he said. “We had way too many penalties in attack and defense, we gave up too many big plays. We just have to learn from this.