CLIFTON PARK, NY (NEWS10) — On the heels of the program’s first-ever section title, the Niskayuna football team continued its’ dream season Friday night with a regionals victory over Section V A2 powerhouse Canandaigua Academy to advance to next week’s state semi-finals.

The matchup pitted two teams on opposite ends of the postseason spectrum against each other. While the Silver Warriors were newcomers to the regionals scene, the Braves had reached that point in four consecutive seasons. But Nisky’s inexperience didn’t show Friday night. In fact, they came out on the attack.

On the Silver Warriors’ first possession of the game, sophomore quarterback Ethan Gilson hooked up with freshman wide receiver Cameron Grasso on a slant, and Grasso turned on the jets, racing past the Canandaigua secondary en route to a 64-yard score, putting Nisky on the board first just 90 seconds into action.

The defense took over from there, forcing three turnovers on downs throughout the first half, and Nisky maintained a 7-0 lead heading into halftime. The Silver Warriors would get some insurance on their opening drive of the third quarter. On a well-designed, play-action fake toss, Gilson delivered a pass in stride to junior tight end Daniel Miller at the Braves’ 17-yard line, and there was no one between Miller and the end zone – a 28-yard pitch-and-catch in total that put Nisky up 14-0.

And that would prove to be all the offense the Silver Warriors needed. After shutting Canandaigua out in the third quarter, the Braves managed to get on the scoreboard with less than a minute to play in the fourth frame with a 62-yard touchdown strike from Drew Williamee to Tysheed Crockton. But Nisky would recover the ensuing onside kick, and run out the remaining 56.5 seconds, punching its’ ticket to the state semi-finals.

After a 1-2 start to the season that included a blowout, week-three loss to La Salle, few people expected the Silver Warriors had a run to the state semis in them. But their head coach, Brian Grastorf, is thoroughly enjoying proving the naysayers wrong.

“No one thought we could do anything at the beginning of the year,” said Grastorf. “Inside the locker room, we knew we were a talented group. We had to grow up, and we’ve done that. And now we’re on quite a roll, and we just keep proving everybody wrong. You know, first time in (the) state championship playoffs, playing a team that’s been there 14 times, everyone across the state probably thought, “no shot.” And the guys were hungry to prove it.”

Gilson describes what it means to back up the program’s first-ever section title with its’ first-ever regional title. “It means the world to me,” said Gilson. “But I think it means the world to this school, this community, this team, the coaching staff; it’s phenomenal. I’m so happy.”

Niksy will now prepare for a state semi-finals clash with Section I foe Somers – the No. 1 ranked team in the state in Class A. The Tuskers knocked off Section IX champion Our Lady of Lourdes Friday night 35-28 in their regionals game. Kickoff next Friday, Nov. 25 is scheduled for 6 p.m. The game will be held at Middletown High School in Middletown, N.Y.