SCHUYLERVILLE, N.Y. — Cambridge coach Doug Luke said all week long that the Indians would have to clean up their mistakes in order to beat Whitehall in the Section II, Class D Super Bowl.
They didn't and Whitehall took advantage, winning the title for the first time since 1989 in a 10-3 victory on Saturday at Schuylerville High School.
"You're not going to win games by only scoring 3 points," Luke said. "You can't fumble the ball three times and expect to win. We kept fighting, but just kept making mistakes at the wrong times."
Cambridge fumbled the ball three times in the red zone and had its lowest scoring output since being shutout by Dobbs Ferry in the 2007 state semifinal.
After Whitehall took a 7-0 lead on a 5-yard touchdown run by quarterback Derek Thomas midway through the second quarter, Cambridge came back on a drive of its own. The Indians got inside the Whitehall 20-yard line, but Jonas Butz coughed up the rock, preventing the Indians from answering the Whitehall score. Butz's fumble turned into points for the Railroaders, who would get a last second field goal from Nick Kennedy and go into the half up 10-0.
"We made some mistakes and they capitalized on them," said quarterback Brendan Holcomb. "We fumbled a lot early on in the year, and we felt we had them fixed up, but that wasn't the case today."
Holcomb threw for more than 100 yards in Saturday's game, the first time in his career that he has had back-to-back games with more than 100 yards through the air.
Cambridge drove down the field to start the third, but another fumble, the first of the year by Andy Romack, stopped the drive at the Whitehall 17.
Romack redeemed himself on the next Whitehall drive with an interception of Tyler Thomas, setting up a 30-yard field goal from Matt Hoffer to put the Indians on the board as the third quarter expired.
"We did a good job limiting the big runs that they got early on in the game," Luke said. "Didn't make much adjustments at the half really, it was just us playing great defense."
Down by seven with 3:30 left, Cambridge had one drive to tie the game and force overtime.
Midway through the drive, Whitehall got a sack of Holcomb, setting up 4th-and-15 at its own 11. Holcomb came through like an NFL veteran, finding wide receiver Ryan McLenithan for 40 yards to stay alive.
Moments later, on 4th-and-1 from the Railroaders' 12, Colton Dean converted another fourth down.
"I thought we had them there," Holcomb said. "I thought after that catch we were [going to] punch it in and send the game into overtime."
Cambridge had first-and-goal with less than a minute to go, but on the first play, Holcomb completed a pass but the ball was fumbled inside the 10 and Whitehall's Brandon Bolster recovered with 35 seconds left.
The Indians defense did a great job overall in holding the high powered Whitehall offense in check. Saturday's sectional final was the first time all season Whitehall was held scoreless in a half or scored less than 20 points. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough to move on.
"When we started the season off, we weren't sure we could make it back here," Luke said. "We're a young team and at the end of the day people weren't expecting us to play in this game this year, so we had a good year from what was our expectation and hopefully will be back playing in this game next year again."
With the loss, Cambridge ends the season at 8-2.