HALFMOON, NY (NEWS10) — The Greenwich football team entered this year’s Class D sectionals as the reigning champions. One of the teams the Witches had to power past in last season’s title run was Chatham. But the Panthers enacted their revenge Saturday night, routing Greenwich 43-21, and punching their ticket to the sectional championship game.
Chatham earned the No. 2 seed in the playoff tournament following an 8-1 regular season, and entered the week as the 12th-ranked team in the state in Class D.
The Panthers utilized a heavy rushing attack to push past three-seeded Greenwich, notching six touchdowns on the ground.
The first came on Chatham’s opening drive courtesy of senior running back Matt Radley, putting the Panthers on the scoreboard first.
Greenwich had an answer in the second quarter, though. Freshman quarterback Ryan Ingber rolled out to his right, and lofted a pass to Parker Jameson in the end zone – the 32-yard pitch-and-catch tied the game back up at seven.
The Witches marched right down the field again on their ensuing drive, and once more, Ingber linked up with Jameson through the air – this time on a slant – and Greenwich took a 14-7 lead into the halftime break.
But Chatham turned it up a notch in the second half. The Panthers rattled off three rushing touchdowns in the third quarter on their first three drives of the frame – two of which were set up by fumble recoveries. The first two ground scores were recorded by Radley, and then the third was punched in by senior quarterback Tyler Kneller on a QB power play.
Chatham led 26-14 after the third quarter, and tallied two more rushing touchdowns and a field goal in the final stanza. The Witches managed to throw up one more touchdown on the board that quarter, but the deficit was too steep to overcome, and the Panthers secured the 43-21 victory.
After the game, Chatham head coach Rich Sitzer said the tale of two halves that he saw was simply a result of his team cleaning up some sloppy play.
“We made some mistakes in the first half…player mistakes, coaches’ mistakes,” said Sitzer. “A couple penalties cost us, and we just stuck together, and made some opportune plays. Greenwich is a tough team, and our guys just played four quarters of football, and that’s what it took tonight.”
Kneller recalled what it took for he and his teammates to flip the switch from the first half to the second.
“We came out of halftime knowing that we were all brothers in the end,” said Kneller. “So, family and football is everything. So, we came out of that half – Coach said put it on the line for your brothers; make it happen for us – and we kind of came together as a unity, and just brought a lot of energy, and no negativity to the game after that point.”
The Panthers will square off with Cambridge/Salem in the section final Saturday, Nov. 12 at 1 p.m. from Schuylerville High School. Cambridge/Salem rolled Chatham 40-6 back on Sep. 9.
Greenwich ends its’ season at 5-5, and 3-4 in league play.