POTSDAM — As the final seconds of the game ticked down Friday night and Mitchell Gallagher was taking a knee on the final play, both the Franklin Academy fans and players were celebrating.
The Huskies had avenged their lone loss of the season by handing the Potsdam Sandstoners their first loss 25-14 in the Section X Tier I title game.
“It was a total team effort,” Franklin Academy coach Greg Marshall said. “The defense played great. Mitch ran great. The kids have been talking about this since the loss. We changed a few things, and we had no turnovers.”
Franklin Academy had already claimed Section X Class B title by finishing first in the regular season and will now play Peru Saturday night in Massena.
Franklin Academy helped its cause by getting on the scoreboard first. Senior Tyrek Sneed continued his fine running of the second half the season with a 22-yard run, followed by a 15-yard gain by Gallagher that brought the ball to the Potsdam 22-yard line. Four plays later, Gallagher went in from the 4.
The Sandstoners then went on a nine-play, 75-yard drive with two key passes from Will Coleman to Shawn Clark, a 10-yarder and a 46-yarder. Coleman capped the drive with a 1-yard run.The first attempt for the 2-point conversion failed, but a penalty gave Potsdam another chance and Adam Lewis ran in for an 8-7 lead.
Late in the second quarter, the Huskies scored on a six-play drive. Among those plays were a 13-yard pass to Harvey Smith, a 19-yard run by John Picaro off a pitch, a 9-yard catch by Picaro and a 31-yard run by Gallagher down to the three. The senior quarterback went the rest of the distance on the next play as the offensive line continued to give him room to run. Malone led 13-8 at halftime.
Potsdam recorded its final score late in the third quarter thanks in part to a pair of pass-interference calls against Franklin Academy. Coleman was stopped twice from the 1-yard line before Robertson finally scored for a 14-13 edge.
As they have done all season, the Huskies struck back quickly. Sneed used his speed to get into the Potsdam secondary and galloped for 46 yards on the last play of the third quarter. That enabled Gallagher to score on the first play of the fourth from two yards out.
The final score of the game was set up by an interception by Harvey Smith. Starting from their 20, the Huskies moved methodically down the field, taking time off the clock. The nine-play drive was capped by another fine run by Sneed, this time for 26 yards.
Gallagher wound up with 146 yards rushing and now has 1,152 for the season, tops in Section X. He also leads the Northern Athletic Conference in passing yardage with 1,199. Sneed added 131 yards rushing to move his season total to 576.
Robertson, the third-leading rusher in the NAC coming into the game, was held to 61 hard-fought yards on 22 carries.
“It was a great game” Franklin Academy assistant coach Cory West said. “Two good teams playing hard, clean football.”
Massena won the Tier II title with an 18-9 victory over Tupper Lake Friday night.
Franklin Academy 25, Potsdam 14
Franklin Academy 7 6 0 12 — 25
Potsdam 0 8 6 0 — 14
FA- Gallagher 4 run (H. Smith kick), 8:57.
Pots- Coleman 1 run (A. Lewis run), 1:15.
FA- Gallagher 3 run (run failed), 10:32.
Pots- Robertson 1 run (run failed), 11:20.
FA- Gallagher 1 run (run failed), 0:06.
FA- Sneed 26 run (pass failed), 7:00.
FA- Gallagher 18-146, 3 TD; Sneed 9-131, TD; Picaro 1-9; H. Smith 1-6; Perry 3-5; team 1-(-22). Totals 33-285, 4 TD.
Pots- Robertson 22-61, TD; A. Lewis 6-20; McFadden 7-16; Coleman 9-6, TD. Totals 44-103, 2 TD.
FA- Gallagher 4-8-0-33.
Pots- Coleman 8-15-1-94; Adams 1-2-0-6. Totals 9-17-1-100.
FA- H. Smith 3-24; Picaro 1-9.
Pots- Clark 9-96; Kilgore 1-4.
FA- H. Smith.