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Diary of a Mad Sportswriter: Saints stay focused in rout

Diary of a Mad Sportswriter

Stan Hudy is a sportswriter for The Saratogian and Community News. He covers high school and youth sports in the Saratoga County area as well as writing a weekly book review on sports books. He's not just a "stick and ball" sportswriter, he's willing to take on any sport as well as any subject.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Saints stay focused in rout

You always try to keep things in persepective while on the sidelines of any sporting event. There is the obvious rule of "No cheering in the press box."

Even though I don't spend too much time in the local press boxes, I do avoid any cheering, but sometimes opinions do creep into your head for a story.

On Saturday, Saratoga Central Catholic almost had it, an awesome story, something easy to write, something enjoyable to read...a varsity football victory for the first time in 20 years.

The program finally returned to the varsity level this year and The Saratogian has done a quality job covering their progress this season. But to date, still no wins.

But, early on Saturday afternoon, I thought the Saints were on the verge.

Even after giving up an opening kickoff return for a touchdown the Saints responded with their own score.

Then Saratoga Central Catholic tacked on another for the lead, 13-7.

Bishop Gibbons went ahead, 14-13, but who cares, the Saints ran back their own kickoff return with a nifty lateral on the next play.

Then it was all Bishop Gibbons the rest of the way in a 60-19 rout.

It's a tough story to write, the locals getting blown out and it appeared to be all about Knights junior quarterback Derrick Pitts who ran, threw and was all-everything for Bishop Gibbons.

The more his numbers increased, the more tackles he broke, the more I thought I was really seeing something special.

Oops, I fell into the mistake of "assume" ing that it was special.

That was until Pitts was stood up, wrapped up and put down on the ground by Saints 6-foot-5 defensive end Brennan Haley. So what, one run for no gain. Not a big deal on a 218 yard, 31 carry day.

Pitts didn't see it that way and began jawing with Haley. Hankies flew and Pitts was called for the unsportsmanlike penalty.

He was shocked by the call. Not only because he lost 15-yards for his team, but that the Saints player wasn't also flagged. He spent the next two plays talking to the referee about the infraction and his opinion of the call.

Bishop Gibbons didn't convert on third down and Pitts couldn't get a handle on the 41-yard field goal attempt. Saratoga fumbled on the next play, turning the ball back over to the Knights.

Three plays later, Pitts scores his fifth score of the day and Bishop Gibbons goes ahead, 45-19.

He was pretty happy with his efforts and told the Saints so, without a flag this time.

With a heafty lead with 4:12 left in the third quarter should Knights coach Joe Whipple have ordered an onsides kick that Bishop Gibbons recovered? Do you think it was enough or did the touchdown five plays later make a difference in the Section II tiebreaker?

The interception by Ryan Maxwell late in the game of a Saratoga Central pass and score was unavoidable. A players is going to go to the house if he can help it. But Pitts' return to hold for the extra point kick, then picking up the ball and diving to the pylon for the two point conversion did seem a bit much.

It did give him 38 points on the day, adding his name to the Section II record book again. He had 36 points against Whitehall earlier this year.

Not a lot to write about, but then the phone rings.

Saints coach Phonsey Lambert called to see what I had for the score.

It seemed odd, but the game was called into "The Source" as a 67-19 finale, not the 60-19 I had. It was also reported that Pitts had 289 yards and 8 TDs.

A few phone calls later, "The Source" used my numbers, so I'm grateful, but the story became more about how Saratoga Catholic didn't take the bait and wasn't drawn into any infractions.

It's got to be hard to be part of a long, first season back as a varsity football team going five games without a victory, but the Saints never gave up.

I've been on the sidelines for teams that have faced a little adversity, down by a score and you can feel the wheels come off. That hasn't been the case for Saratoga Central yet this season and I hope it continues.

Plus their numbers, also compared to mine, were right on. :)

Here is the story and photo gallery from the game.

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