The Albany Hornets scored 68 points and rolled up 500 yards of total offense in their season-opening win last week. That got the attention of St. Michael, who hosted the Hornets Friday night at Olympia Stadium.
Coach Joey Sanchez, defensive coordinator Calob Leindecker, and the entire Warrior defense were up to the challenge of slowing down the Hornets, and then some.
St. Michael scored an early touchdown and the defense held the powerful Hornet offense out of the endzone until the final seconds as the Warriors claimed a 21-6 victory.
The Hornets were held to 264 yards and quarterback Jeremiah Doherty completed only 12 of 29 passes for 127 yards. He rushed for 88 yards.
Daniel Robin led the Warriors with 125 yards on just six carries
“We challenged our defense to step up all week,” Sanchez said. “Coach Leindecker came up with a great game plan and our defense stepped up and made some big plays. They moved the ball on us a little, but we held them out of the end zone until the end. It was a great effort.”
The Warriors gained the lead on their first possession when quarterback Nick Brister lofted a pass down the left hashmark to Connor Badeaux, who caught the ball in stride over his shoulder and outraced the defense for the 49-yard score. Ethan Hames added the conversion and the Warriors led 7-0 six minutes into the game.
The score stayed at 7-0 until the fourth quarter, but the Warrior lead was often threatened.
Albany had some early success moving the ball, but the Warriors continuously held the Hornet offense at bay when it counted.
The Warriors stopped Albany on fourth-down four times, including a first-half goal-line stand when the Hornets had first-down at the 1-yard line, but lost 5 yards in the next four plays.
“We gave up a few broken plays, but number 1 for Albany (quarterback Jeremiah Doherty) got free a couple times,” Sanchez said. “He is a great athlete and is hard to contain. But hats off to our defense for holding them off when they got close to the end zone”
Badeaux also foiled an Albany drive when he intercepted a Jeremiah Doherty pass near the end zone late in the first half.
“I tip my hat to St. Michael,” Albany coach Mike Janis said. “When it came time for our guys to make plays, their guys seemed to want it more.”
The Warriors put the game away with two fourth-quarter scores.
Codi Williams capped a seven-play drive with a 20-yard touchdown run to give the Warriors a 14-0 lead halfway through the final period and Brister scored on a 2-yard keeper with just over three minutes remaining to put St. Michael up 21-0. Both drives were set up by 40-plus yard runs by Robin.
“That’s what we do,” Sanchez said. “We ground and pound and hope to wear you out in the fourth quarter and have the advantage, and that’s what happened and we broke a couple runs at the end.
The Warriors earned 153 of their 216 total rushing yards in the second half.