Maine-Endwell defenders will expect the unexpected against Glens Falls in the Class B state football championship game, to kick off at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Carrier Dome.
The Spartans need only a look at week-old game film to know that their once-beaten, second-ranked opponent brings into the game a satchel of tricks into which it will reach at any moment.
In last Saturday’s semifinal round, the Indians gained 64 yards on a flea-flicker on their first offensive play, and essentially wrapped up a 28-17 victory against Marlboro when a halfback option pass went for points early in the fourth quarter.
To go with the gimmickry, Glens Falls scored a pair of 80-yard touchdowns through conventional means.
“Those types of teams scare you,” M-E coach Matt Gallagher said. “No. 1, they’re not afraid to do those things. No. 2, they’ve done them successfully, so they’re practiced and prepared to do them.
“For them, four-down territory can be anywhere.”
Maine-Endwell, 12-0 and top-ranked from season’s outset, is one win from the program’s second consecutive state championship and third overall. No Section 4 program has claimed three state titles since the football tournament was instituted in 1993.
The Spartans expected to take the final step with all players physically ready to go — a pleasant twist in this season of so many injuries.
Glens Falls has strung 11 wins since falling by 41-16 to Scahmont — after leading 16-6 — to open the season. That loss was avenged in the Section 2 final, 21-14.
Powering the Indians is a 1-2 running back punch of Joe McMahon and Mike LaNoir. The former has rushed for 1,030 yards and 10 touchdowns, the latter for 689 and six touchdowns. LaNoir also leads Glens Falls receivers with 28 receptions for 588 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Last week, LaNoir scored on an 80-yard pass from Cam Girard, on an 80-yard rush, and he threw the halfback pass to McMahon for the final touchdown.
For the season, Girard has completed 60 of 119 passes for 1,085 yards, with 18 touchdowns against six interceptions. Receiver Jake Daily (20 receptions, 383 yards and five touchdowns) sustained a shoulder injury in the semi.
“They’ve got the potential for big plays,” Gallagher said. “They’ve got kids who can get up the field, so we’ll have to limit that.”
He added, “Defensively, I don’t think they’re as big as the last two teams we’ve played (Cazenovia and Alden). But that doesn’t mean much, they might be a little quicker.”
A season ago, Maine-Endwell came from two touchdowns behind at halftime to defeat Burnt Hills, 27-20, for the Class A state championship. That left Burnt Hills 0-for-3 in state finals over a four-season span. Burnt Hills was back at it Friday in the finale against Sweet Home.