Saratoga's Dan Rittenhouse (46) tries to get past CBA's Nick Gentile during a Sept. 30 Empire Division game in Colonie.
Christian Brothers Academy's defense and running backs were too much for Saratoga Springs to handle.
The Brothers (5-0) gained 344 yards on the ground and forced seven turnovers to pull away for a 41-14 victory over the Blue Streaks in Friday's Empire Division football game.
Saratoga (1-4) did what it could to stay with CBA, but 21 unanswered points by the Brothers in the fourth quarter doomed the Blue Streaks.
"We fought hard until the end, when we ran out of gas," said Saratoga coach Terry Jones.
"It took us a little while to get going," said CBA coach Joe Burke. "Saratoga did a nice job of taking some things away from us early on, and it took us some time to make the adjustments."
Saratoga turned the ball over four times in the first half, yet CBA had a hard time taking advantage of those mistakes as it struggled to a 14-7 halftime lead. It wasn't until the fourth quarter that the Brothers converted Saratoga turnovers into scoring drives.
"Whatever the number was, it was too many [turnovers]," said Jones. "We talked about it all week, we talked about it all last week and we talked about it all season. We have to eliminate mistakes. Until we stop making mistakes and get our defense off the field, we're not going to win many games."
There was one moment where a turnover worked in Saratoga's favor. Jordan Wilcox intercepted a Ted Cillis pass and returned it to CBA's 3-yard line midway through the third quarter. Dan Rittenhouse scored on the next play from scrimmage to cut CBA's lead to 20-14.
Cillis injured his arm on the interception, which meant junior Drew Brundige had to come in and play quarterback for CBA. Brundige made the most of his time on the field as he directed four consecutive touchdown drives. In his first series, Brundige came up big with a 15-yard run on fourth down and 11 inside Saratoga territory to keep the drive alive. A short time later, Cameron Wynn scored on a 1-yard touchdown plunge to put CBA ahead 28-14.
"We had them in a fourth-and-long situation, and unfortunately, the kid [Brundige] made a nice run to get a first down," said Jones. "If we held them there, it might have been a different game."
"Brundige had a nice scramble there," said Burke.
The CBA touchdowns only piled up from there. After Saratoga turned the ball over on downs near midfield, the Brothers mounted a series that culminated in Earl Ricketts' second touchdown of the night to make it 35-14. Backup Joe O'Hagan then scored on a 4-yard run late in the fourth quarter to provide the final margin of victory.
Ricketts led CBA's ground game with 105 yards, while Wynn contributed 83 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Cody Zappone added 62 yards and a touchdown for the Brothers.
"Any time that you have kids who are skilled running the ball is great, but we have to be able to throw the football as well," said Burke.
Rittenhouse had 54 yards on four carries to lead Saratoga.
CBA and Saratoga turn their attention to two of the top teams in the Empire Division next week. Saratoga plays Ballston Spa (4-1) Thursday, while CBA visits Shenendehowa (5-0) next Saturday on the night the Clifton Park school honors retiring coach Brent Steuerwald. Shen defeated Ballston Spa 37-20 Friday to remain tied with the Brothers on top of the Empire Division standings.
"Our kids are 5-0. We're fortunate that we are 5-0 and that we get the chance to play the team everyone is talking about," said Burke. "We certainly welcome the challenge."
Saratoga's challenge will be to put another loss behind it and prepare to face a Ballston Spa team looking for a bounce back win.
"Our goal is to win every game we play," said Jones. "It doesn't matter if you're in the playoffs or not. The goal is the same."