GUILDERLAND, NY (NEWS10) — Gary VanDerzee has been the head coach of the Ravena football team for over 40 years. But in what will be his final season at the helm, he looked to lead the Indians in doing something they’d only done once before: win a third straight Section 2 Class B title. The unbeaten Indians met the unbeaten Glens Falls Black Bears in the Class B Super Bowl on Saturday at Guilderland High School.
Ravena jumped out to a 6-0 lead after the first quarter thanks to a short rushing touchdown by Mason Carkner. The Black Bears drove it down into the redzone early in the second quarter, but Brody Holcomb’s pass was intercepted by Wyatt Algozzine and taken back 87-yards for a touchdown, as Ravena took a 12-0 lead.
Glens Falls got on the board on the next drive. Holcomb found his favorite target, Kellen Driscoll, for a 69-yard touchdown. But Ravena responded on the first play from scrimmage on their next drive, as Ethan Greene broke loose for a 56-yard touchdown run to extend the lead to 20-6 for Ravena.
Glens Falls wasn’t going away before the half. With under a minute left before the break, Holcomb found Driscoll again, this time on a 14-yarder in double coverage, for another touchdown. Ravena led 20-13 at the break.
Ravena and Glens Falls traded scores in the third quarter, and the Indians took a 28-20 lead into the fourth quarter. In the fourth, Ravena’s Dom Paljusaj scurried into the endzone for a 27-yard score, as the Indians took a 35-20 lead.
There was no quit from the Black Bears. With just over six minutes remaining in the game, Holcomb found Driscoll for yet another touchdown, Driscoll’s third of the day. That made it a one score game at 35-27.
After a turnover on downs, Glens Falls got the ball with one last chance to tie it with under a minute to play. They ran a successful hook and ladder play to get the ball down to the 20 with 30 seconds to go.
Ravena senior Jack McFerran sealed the game for the Indians with an interception, as Ravena locked up the three-peat with a 35-27 win. McFerran, VanDerzee’s grandson, helped seal the last section title for the Section 2 legend. “I wouldn’t trade it for the world,” said McFerran. “I wish everyone else could experience how powerful that moment is. No one else gets to understand how nice it is to have him as my coach and to experience everything with him.”
“It was really exciting,” said VanDerzee. “Really exciting from the standpoint that I told him at halftime that was the most god awful half of football I’ve ever seen him play so… No, he came back and he really, really stood up big.”
“The ability to win those three takes a special group,” said VanDerzee. “Each time they got punched in the mouth they were able to stand up and answer the call.”
Kellen Driscoll reeled in 15 catches for 254 yard and three touchdowns in the loss. Brody Holcomb threw for 397 yards, completing 26 of his 47 passes.
Ravena will take on Peru next Saturday at Mechanicville High School.