Esslie-Frenia Law June 2023 Leaderboard

Countdown of Top 5 Stories of 2023: Number 3

The RCS Indians football team won its third straight Section II, Class B championship and captured the hearts and imagination of their community. File photo

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Ravena News-Herald is counting down the top 5 local stories of 2023. We looked at the top stories of the year, those that drew the highest number of readers to our website and Facebook page, or that had the greatest impact on our community and its residents. Here is the Number 3 story for the year.

Indians three-peat in Section II, Class B championship

RAVENA-COEYMANS-SELKIRK — The smiles on the players’ and coaches’ faces stretched for miles after the RCS Indians joined an elite club on Saturday — three-peat champions.

For the third year in a row, the Indians dominated their division, winning the Section II Class B championship by defeating the Glens Falls Black Bears by a score of 35-27 in an offense-heavy game that remained exciting to the end.

The Indians continued their 11-game winning streak and remain undefeated in regular and post-season play.

Next, the team will head to Mechanicville to play the Peru Nighthawks in the regionals competition. The winner of that game will head to the East semifinals, and then the state championship at The Dome in Syracuse.

The season has been a phenomenal one for the hometown team, and they couldn’t have picked a better time to do it — this is expected to be longtime Head Coach Gary VanDerzee’s final season after four decades of leading the team. VanDerzee is expected to retire at the end of this football season.

But first, the Indians set their sights on Peru, looking for a repeat of last year’s victory when the two teams faced off and the Indians came out on top 35-19.

There was plenty of offense in Saturday’s championship game, with the Indians putting the first points on the board with a rushing touchdown but missed the extra point, ending the quarter up 6-0.

Midway through the second quarter, the Indians scored their second touchdown of the game on an 87-yard run downfield and again missed the extra point, bringing the score to 12-0.

With five minutes to go in the half, the Black Bears put their first points on the scoreboard on a 69-yard pass; they, too, missed the extra point, and the score came to 12-6.

It was a day for strong offense as the Indians responded with a 56-yard rushing touchdown and completed the two-point conversion to bring the score to 20-6. The Black Bears responded with a 14-yard passing touchdown with under a minute to go in the half and made the extra point kick.

The teams headed into the locker room as the first half ended with the Indians up 20-13.

Halfway through the third quarter, the Indians put another eight points on the board on a 1-yard rushing touchdown and two-point conversion, but with under a minute to go in the third the Black Bears were in pursuit, scoring a 4-yard rushing touchdown and extra point. The third stanza ended with the Indians 28, Glens Falls 20.

RCS extended their lead with a 27-yard rushing touchdown and extra point in the fourth quarter to put the score at Indians 35, Black Bears 20.

But Glens Falls wasn’t finished — the team scored another touchdown on a 14-yard pass and extra point with six minutes left in the game.

In a nailbiter finish, RCS’s Jack McFerran sealed the deal with a late-game interception, and the Indians closed out the game for the three-peat. Next up, the team faces off against the Peru Nighthawks on Saturday, Nov. 18, at 4 p.m., in Mechanicville. The Nighthawks have a 9-1 record for the se

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