FONDA, NY (NEWS10) — Fonda-Fultonville entered the Section II, Class C football playoffs as the No. 1 seed in the south division after a perfect, 8-0 regular season that landed the Braves the three-spot in the state rankings. But Mike Mancini’s squad faced a difficult opening round test Friday night, welcoming in the four-seed out of the north, Hoosick Falls/Tamarac – a team ranked 16th in the state for Class C.

But the Braves proved why they’re one of the premier squads in the state; they cruised to a 41-14 victory over the Wildcats behind a remarkable, four-touchdown effort from senior quarterback Jackson Cusack. It took a while for some points to go up on the scoreboard, but with 1:11 to play in the first quarter, Fonda found the end zone. Cusack hooked up on a pitch-and-catch with senior wide receiver Jackson Croucher, putting the Braves up 7-0. On Fonda’s next possession, Cusack kept the ball on a read option, lowered his shoulder at the goal line, and bowled over Hoosick Falls’ Ty Roadcap on his way to pay dirt, extending the lead to 14 points.

After the Braves recovered a fumble, they were set up with great field position. Four plays into the drive, Cusack called his own number on a read option again, and took it to house. In the blink of an eye, Fonda was up 21 points with 5:34 to play in the half.

Hoosick Falls showed some fight late in the second stanza. Senior running back William Sparks tested the left edge of the offensive line on a toss play. He’d extend the ball inside the pylon to put the Wildcats on the board, cutting the halftime deficit to 14 points.

But Fonda’s offense was just too potent Friday night. On the Braves’ first set of downs in the third frame, senior running back Owen Hicks took a handoff, and cut right through the heart of Hoosick Fall’s defense for a touchdown scamper, and Fonda was back up three scores. Hicks added another two touchdowns in the fourth quarter – one on the ground, and one through the air from Cusack – to put the finishing touches on the game, and the Braves punched their ticket to next week’s semi-finals.

Mancini felt his team excelled in multiple areas after overcoming a slow start out of the gates, and commented on the brilliant play of his senior signal caller. “He’s (Cusack) an outstanding athlete,” said Mancini. “He’s a great kid, and he’s a hard worker. You know, he’s put in a lot of time in the offseason, and it’s all paying off right now for him. It was a little bit slow to get started, but I thought we played a really efficient football game. We didn’t turn the football over; we forced turnovers. We were efficient in the red zone, and, you know, I thought we were pretty good on third down offensively. I thought those things were very good, and hopefully, we keep that moving forward.”

Cusack reflected on how his opening touchdown pass to Croucher really opened up the Braves’ offensive attack. “We get the first score, so we’re moving fast; we move fast all the time on offense,” said Cusack. “We get stops on defense. We just do a good job all around. We all got our roles. We just gotta know that we gotta keep comin’ out here, and doing our job, and we’re gonna get the job done, and get that championship like we wanted to last year.” Fonda-Fultonville remains home for its’ semi-final matchup with Schuylerville, the two-seed out of the north division. Kickoff from Fonda next Friday is set for 7:00 p.m.