Chased by Warrensburg defenders, Lake George running back Willy Blunt takes off downfield during a football game held Saturday Sept. 29 in Lake George. The Warriors beat the Burghers 20-14 in a comeback vitory, and Blunt was credited with giving his team several key first downs as well as scoring two touchdowns.
In a dramatic comeback effort, the Warriors football team’s tenacious defense held off Warrensburg’s veteran squad to secure a key victory Friday Sept. 28. Lake George defeated Warrensburg 20-14 in the Section II Class D North victory.
With three minutes on the clock, Alex Labruzzo broke two tackles and ran 22 yards for the last score of the game. In the ensuing minutes, the Lake George defense, which played an aggressive second half, halted the Burgher’s last drive which took them downfield and into the red zone. With the Burghers on the 15 yard line and 20 seconds on the clock, the Warrior defense, pumped up by the ardent student fans cheering behind the end zone, forced a turnover on downs, ending the contest between traditional rivals.
In Warrensburg’s prior two games, their hard-charging double-wing offense — with their linemen mowing down opposing defenders — has been an unstoppable force.
But in the Lake George game, the Warriors defense kept the Burgher offense partially contained – enough to secure the win.
Warrensburg had jumped out to an early lead with Connor Scott scoring on a 40-yard run in the first quarter. In the next stanza, Lake George receiver Willy Blunt caught a pass from quarterback Tyler Brown, advancing 32 yards into the end zone. On the kickoff that followed, Connor Scott grabbed the ball and ran it back 74 yards for a touchdown. Warrensburg led 14-8 at halftime.
In the second half, however, the Warrior defense kept Warrensburg scoreless, while Blunt nabbed another pass for a 17-yard touchdown in the third quarter, followed by Labruzzo’s concluding touchdown.
In the effort, Labruzzo had 22 carries for 90 yards, Blunt had one carry for 25 yards, and Jordan Clark tallied five for 14 yards.
The deciding element in the Warriors’ win was likely their rigorous practice sessions.
For a week prior to the game, Lake George coach Jeff Bennett taught his defensive players – linebackers, ends and tackles — specific skills and strategies to combat the Burghers’ forceful double-wing charge, he said.
“Our players practiced the skills all week long, then in the game they executed them to perfection,” he said. “All the yardage Warrensburg gained, they had to earn.”
Among the players key to the defense, Bennett said, were Nate Fidd and Jordan Clark who foiled a good number of the Burger plays.
“Fidd blew up several of their plays with his blitz, and Clark had tons of big-time tackles,” Bennett said.
The coach also praised Blunt for garnering several key first downs and setting up scoring opportunities.
Warrensburg Coach Mike Leonbruno said his team’s loss was due to players’ attitude.
“Lake George came out with a lot of enthusiasm — they were ready to play and we weren’t,” he said. “They were energetic; we we flat — we didn’t play our game anywhere near our capabilities.”
With the win, Lake George boosted their season record to 2-1 in the division, 2-3 overall. Warrensburg’s record is 1-1 in the division, 2-3 overall.
Next up for Lake George is Whitehall, which is now unbeaten in the division behind the potent offense of record-breaking runningback Josh Hoaglund and his brother, quarterback Justin Hoaglund. Josh scored no less than seven touchdowns Saturday against Hoosic Valley, raising his season tally to 24 touchdowns. He totaled 44 points in the game, the third most in Section II history.
With Hoaglund-driven offense, the Warriors will have a formidable challenge. Against Hoosic Valley, every time Josh Hoaglund got the ball, he either achieved a first down or scored a touchdown.
The Whitehall-Lake George game is to be played at 7 p.m. Friday Oct. 5 on the Warriors’ field.
Next up for the Burghers is a home game versus Fort Edward at 1 p.m. Saturday Oct. 6. Leonbruno said he hopes that his team recaptures the enthusiasm they had in their two recent victories.
“Our playoff plans are in danger,” he said. “We’ve got to get our energy level up — We’re facing a ‘must win’ situation.”