With 152 yards and two touchdowns rushing, Maine-Endwell quarterback Kyle Gallagher did plenty of damage with his legs Saturday afternoon in the Class B state title game at the Carrier Dome.
But it was his arm that provided arguably the most crucial play in ensuring a second straight state championship for the Spartans.
With Glens Falls having drawn within 7-6 minutes earlier on Cam Girard’s 15-yard touchdown pass to Zach Infield, M-E faced a third-and-14 at its 43-yard line with just over nine minutes remaining in the second quarter.
Almost immediately upon taking the third-down snap, Gallagher was forced to scramble under extreme pressure from Indians defenders. Biding just enough time, Gallagher unleashed a well-thrown bomb that younger brother Adam hauled in at the Glens Falls 8 for a 49-yard gain, the 6-foot-1 sophomore winning a jump ball with 6-2 defender Jake Dailey.
Two plays later, Kyle Gallagher scored on a 6-yard run to put M-E ahead 14-6. A potential crisis averted, M-E would eventually prevailed, 42-12, for back-to-back state titles after winning the Class A crown a year ago.
As for the pass play, Adam Gallagher was asked if it was something similar to what might have been drawn up in the backyard.
“Yeah, but usually it’s Drew we’re picking on,” Adam said with a chuckle, referring to the youngest Gallagher sibling, a freshman. “It’s obviously a little different in a game like this, but it was a good throw.”
Kyle Gallagher, perhaps in a display of brotherly love, countered by giving the lion’s share of the credit to Adam for the big play.
“The offensive line gave me time, I didn’t see anyone open at first, so I just rolled out,” Gallagher said. “Adam says in those situations ‘Just throw it up and I’ll come down with it.’
“That’s what I did and he made an excellent catch.”
M-E coach Matt Gallagher acknowledged the play was a big one at a time when momentum was starting to shift in Glens Falls’ favor.
“I think it showed their athleticism,” Matt Gallagher said. “Kyle bought some time and scrambled, and Adam, he’s come a long way the last few weeks. He just made a great catch.”
It was Kyle’s lone completion of the game. But as he did much of this season, the junior did a masterful job of running an M-E offense Saturday that piled up 451 yards, including 402 on the ground.
Not surprisingly, Kyle earned Most Valuable Player honors for the title game.
“He doesn’t get much better,” Matt Gallagher said of Kyle. “He’s my son, and I’m very proud of him and the way he leads our team. He understands our offense and where the weaknesses are defensively, and he’s usually right on. It’s impressive what he does.”