It’s not the way Groton football coach Jeff Lewis drew it up, but there is nothing he can do about it now.
Faced with the prospect of having a bye week before opening the Section 4 Class D playoffs, Lewis managed to find an opponent for his Indians last week. So along with the 1-0 forfeit victory his team collected against Edison, which had to abandon its season last month due to low numbers, the team played an exhibition game against Schuylerville, a Class B team from the Albany area.
And, as it turns out, a good Class B team. Final score — Schuylerville 67, Groton 7.
Only a Zeke Wright 81-yard kickoff return in the fourth quarter kept it from being a shutout, but Lewis prefers to see the glass as half full as his Indians (6-1) prepare for Friday night’s home playoff game against Bainbridge-Guilford (5-2).
“It was a good opportunity for us,” Lewis said. “I didn’t want the team to sit idle going into the playoffs, I thought that would be bad. We played everybody, which was kind of the idea, everybody played at least a half.”
The Black Horses — who meet Lansingburgh this week in the Section 2 Class B playoffs — amassed 558 yards of offense, including a 59-yard touchdown run by quarterback Shane Lyon on Schuylerville’s first play of the night. Groton managed 119 offensive yards, led by reserve running back Branden Decker’s 42 rushing yards.
“Obviously, the score was way out of whack, but they’re a ‘B’ school, big with a lot of talent,” Lewis said. “But it’s good for us to see that, because we’re going to see a lot of good Class D teams now. I think the game was more of a positive.”
Bainbridge-Guilford also comes into Friday night’s Class D quarterfinal off a loss, as it fell to Class B school Windsor last week, 24-7. The Bobcats and Indians have two common opponents — Seton Catholic and Oxford.
Both teams defeated the Saints, while B-G won by five over Oxford, the only Section 4 team to beat Groton.
“I don’t know too much about them, other than that they’re big, aggressive and well-coached,” Lewis said of B-G.
“There are some good teams down that way, so we’d better be ready to play or else it’ll be a long night.”
Other Class D playoff games Friday night include Walton at Tioga and Unatego at Elmira Notre Dame. Saturday’s quarterfinal features Harpursville at Union Springs.
In non-playoff matchups, Trumansburg-Newfield (2-5, 2-2 Division VI) wraps the regular season Friday night at home against division champion Waverly (7-0, 4-0 Division VI), No. 3 in the Class C state rankings.
Lansing (5-2, 3-1 Division VII), off a 23-7 defeat of Trumansburg, wraps its regular season Friday night against visiting Watkins Glen (3-4, 2-2 Division VII).
Dryden (2-5, 1-3 Division VI), which was scheduled to host Edison Friday night, will instead welcome Spencer-Van Etten (5-2, 2-2 Division X) in a nonleague season finale.
Ithaca (1-6, 0-3 Division I) gears up for its Class A sectional semifinal next week at Binghamton by taking on Chenango Valley (4-3, 3-0 Division III) at 1:30 p.m. Saturday in Binghamton. Also on Saturday, Newark Valley (4-3, 1-2 Division V) wraps its regular season by welcoming Sidney (5-2, 2-1 Division V).