By Keith Harrington
The Granville-Whitehall football team made history Friday night with a 26-0 win over Mechanicville-Hoosic Valley. It was the historic first win for the first-year merged program of former rivals. The fact that it came on Senior Night and Homecoming for the Granville players put even more icing on the cake.
"When I was talking to the boys out there I felt like I was holding back tears. I'm just so proud," head coach Darin Eggleston said. "These kids come in here. They're 0-4. These kids fired me up. There was so much energy. I felt like these kids are going to get this."
Get this they did. Matthew Barlow ran for two touchdowns and Troy Austin another to lead G-W to the victory.
Eggleston gave his players all of the credit after what was a difficult week for him and the coaching staff.
"I had a week from hell. It was a stressful week. Every time I came here I would think this is the best part of my day," Eggleston explained. "I thought we had a shot against Mechanicville. When we came in I felt like this is going to go our way."
Eggleston proved to be spot on. Everything went his team's way. Granville-Whitehall opened the scoring in the first quarter on a nine yard touchdown run by Austin. The conversion attempt was no good.
Barlow extended the Granville-Whitehall lead on a 36 yard scamper in the second quarter. RJ Monger threw to Nick Crum for the conversion to make it 14-0.
Granville-Whitehall wasn't done yet. CJ Monty picked off a Mechanicville-Hoosic Valley pass attempt and ran it back 34 yards to the 12 yard line with 18 seconds remaining. Barlow punched it in from two yards out to make it 20-0 at the half.
In the fourth Granville-Whitehall closed out the scoring when Brent Perry, an offensive lineman, scored a touchdown after recovering a fumble by Austin, his friend and wrestling rival in the end zone.
"I didn't even know what happened. I saw the ball and fell on it," Perry explained. "The ref and I met eyes. I looked him in the eyes. He looked me in the eyes. Touchdown. I started celebrating. I've dreamed of this."
Alex Torres picked off a fourth quarter pass with a diving effort for Granville-Whitehall.
Austin and Crum recorded fumble recoveries.
Barlow finished with 125 yards on 19 carries. Austin added 49 on eight carries. Granvlle rushed for 221 yards in the night.
"I feel like we can pass the ball. We didn't even have to go to that. I said let's just ground and pound tonight so that's what we did."
Now it is back to work for Eggleston's squad who has four games on the schedule that they should be competitive in.
"I just gave them I feel like a great pep talk. I said listen, I'm so proud of you but we need to get back to work this week," Eggleston added. "I've been telling them from the beginning we're getting better every week.We're a new program. A new coaching staff. I'm just so excited right now."
Granville-Whitehall is 1-4. Mechanicville-Hoosic Valley is 2-3.
Photo Credit-Stacie Arnhold