Averill Park’s rushing attack too much for Niskayuna football squad in 35-28 loss

Members of the Niskayuna football team prepare to kickoff to Averill Park during a Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015 game in Averill Park. (Michael Kelly/Gazette Reporter)Members of the Niskayuna football team prepare to kickoff to Averill Park during a Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015 game in Averill Park. (Michael Kelly/Gazette Reporter)

BY MICHAEL KELLY
Gazette Sportswriter

AVERILL PARK — After their favorable Week 2 result, the Niskayuna Silver Warriors wanted to start piling up wins. Instead, the high school football team has followed up that week’s victory with a pair of too-close-for-comfort losses, tough ones to stomach for the squad.

The latest came in the form of today’s loss to Averill Park, which topped the Silver Warriors 35-28 using an on-point rushing attack. Against Niskayuna (1-3), Averill Park (2-2) rushed 49 times for 477 yards, with quarterback Tim Vermilya leading the way with 204 yards on 23 carries.

Niskayuna head coach John Furey said his team was prepared for Averill Park’s triple-option attack, but just could not get enough done at the line of scrimmage against a bigger squad with quality runners.

Niskayuna football's Jake Shephard (4) tries to go over Averill Park's Isaiah Moak (44) to score a touchdown during a Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015 game in Averill Park. Shephard came up short on the play. (Michael Kelly/Gazette Reporter)

Niskayuna football’s Jake Shephard (4) tries to go over Averill Park’s Isaiah Moak (44) to score a touchdown during a Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015 game in Averill Park. Shephard came up short on the play. (Michael Kelly/Gazette Reporter)

“They test your discipline,” Furey said. “They put bodies on bodies and they run the ball hard. That’s tough to defend.

“We worked it the best we could, but they just pounded and pounded and pounded,” Furey added.

Niskayuna had leads of 8-0 and 14-8 in the contest, but could not do enough against a Averill Park rushing arsenal which also saw running back Isaiah Moak turn 18 carries into 122 yards and two scores. After Niskayuna went ahead 14-8 in the second quarter, Averill Park scored the game’s next 20 points to take control.

“They definitely gave us a run for our money,” said Vermilya, who scored twice and also threw for a touchdown. “We came out hoping for a great game, and we got that from them.”

Niskayuna used a variety of big plays on offense to keep itself in the contest. For the Silver Warriors, quarterback Jake Shephard completed 11 of 16 passes and threw for a touchdown, while also rushing for a pair of scores and intercepting a Vermilya pass.

Will Malerk also rushed for a Niskayuna score, while senior wide receiver Jared Houghtaling caught Shephard’s touchdown pass. Houghtaling — along with DJ Endres, Malerk, and Brandon Munger — had multiple receptions for Niskayuna, with Houghtaling gathering four receptions for 65 yards and his score.

“Our offense was great,” Furey said. “They played some awesome football.”

Following Niskayuna’s 19-15 win in Week 2 against South Glens Falls, the Silver Warriors have dropped 20-16 and 35-28 decisions in Weeks 3 and 4, respectively. With three more games remaining in the regular season, Houghtaling said his team has its sights set on gaining more than moral victories.

“We can do a lot better,” Houghtaling said.


Averill Park 35, Niskayuna 28

Averill Park 8 14 6 7 35

Niskayuna 8 6 7 7 28

FIRST QUARTER

Niskayuna — Jake Shephard 1-yard touchdown run (Shephard conversion)

Averill Park — Tim Vermilya 65-yard touchdown run (Isaiah Moak conversion)

SECOND QUARTER

Niskayuna — Shephard 5-yard touchdown pass to Jared Houghtaling (Conversion failed)

Averill Park — Vermilya 36-yard touchdown pass to Antoneo Serrano-Cicero (Amanda Young kick)

Averill Park — Moak 2-yard touchdown run (Young kick)

THIRD QUARTER

Averill Park — Tim Vermilya 4-yard touchdown run (Kick failed

Niskayuna — Shephard 1-yard touchdown run (DJ Endres kick)

FOURTH QUARTER

Averill Park — Moak 4-yard touchdown run (Young kick)

Niskayuna — Will Malerk 8-yard touchdown run (Endres kick)

PASSING

Averill Park: Vermilya 2 of 4, 54 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT.

Niskayuna: Shephard 11 of 16, 173 yards, 1 TD

RECEIVING

Averill Park: Serrano-Cicero 1-37, 1 TD; Ryan Wood 1-17.

Niskayuna: Houghtaling 4-65, 1 TD; DJ Endres 3-52; Brandon Munger 2-40; Malerk 2-16.

RUSHING

Averill Park: Vermilya 23-204, 2 TDs; Moak 18-122, 2 TDs; Serrano-Cicero 3-23; Zach Legare 5-28.

Niskayuna: Shephard 16-32, 2 TDs; Malerk 4-21, 1 TD; David Jones 6-18; Sean Haffner 4-8.

About the Author

Michael Kelly
Michael Kelly is a sports reporter for Your Clifton Park and Your Niskayuna, weekly print publications of The Daily Gazette. Kelly grew up in Clifton Park and graduated from Shenendehowa High School in 2006. He is also a 2010 graduate of the Stony Brook University School of Journalism. Kelly's work has been honored by the New York News Publishers Association, the New York State Associated Press Association, and the Associated Press Sports Editors. His work has previously been featured in The (Amsterdam) Recorder, The Saratogian, and Albany Times Union.