Niskayuna nails down elusive AA football win

BY JIM SCHILTZ
Gazette Sportswriter

ALBANY — Niskayuna ended its Class AA football drought Saturday with a 14-6 Empire Division win at Albany.

Derek Meisner and Deylon Edmonds ran for second-half touchdowns, and Niskayuna’s defense kept Albany out of the end zone in the program’s first victory over a Class AA opponent since late in the 2013 season.

The win was also the first for new Silver Warriors head coach Brian Grastorf.

“There were definitely a lot of smiles,” Grastorf said. “They were definitely excited to get that off their back. It’s been a few years.”

Niskayuna’s last Class AA win came against Albany 36-22 in a Week 9 crossover game at the tail end of that 2013 season. Niskayuna played as a Class A independent in 2014 and 2015, and went 0-8 upon its return to Section II’s Class AA league in 2016.

“We’ve been talking about winning some games,” Grastorf said. “I’m happy for them.”

Meisner scored on a two-yard run in the third quarter and Edmonds scored on a four-yard run in the fourth.

Edmonds’ touchdown answered Albany’s lone score, that coming on a 46-yard interception return by Nasir Sutherland.

“After the pick six, we regrouped and went down the field and scored,” Grastorf said. “It was nice to see that.”

Niskayuna scored the last three touchdowns in its season-starting 46-21 homefield loss to Saratoga Springs.

“That was huge for our confidence,” Grastorf said of that offensive output against the Blue Streaks. “We proved to ourselves we could score, and that was a good lead in to this week. We had a good week of practice.”

Meisner ran for 99 yards, Niskayuna quarterback Dan Brownell passed for 139, and the Silver Warriors’ defense was anchored by its linebacker trio of Reggie Melvin, Jeff Halusic and Meisner.

“We held them to around 60 yards of offense,” Grastorf said. “We played good defense.”

Niskayuna goes to CBA Friday.

“They are a good team,” Grastorf said of the Brothers. “I think we can be competitive. We want to give ourselves a chance.”

As a Class A independent Niskayuna did not win a game in 2014 and prevailed three times in 2015. Niskayuna’s last win before Saturday was against Averill Park 19-15 late in the 2015 season.

Niskayuna 0 0 7 7 — 14
Albany 0 0 0 6 —  6

N — Meisner 2 run (Brownell kick)
A — Sutherland 46 interception return (kick failed)
N — Edmonds 4 run (Brownell kick)