GLENS FALLS -- The Hudson Falls Tigers have a thoroughbred in their stable named Joe McMurry.
On Saturday, their other horses got to run around, too.
Six Tigers reached the end zone as they rolled to a 54-20 victory over Beekmantown in a state Class B quarterfinal at Putt LaMay Memorial Field.
McMurry rushed for 265 yards and three touchdowns on 24 carries, and Hudson Falls (10-1) scored on its first seven possessions as the Tigers reached the state semifinals for the first time since 2000.
The Tigers, ranked fifth in the state, face No. 1-ranked Rye (11-0) of Section I in the state semifinals, scheduled for Saturday at 4 p.m. at Kingston's Dietz Stadium. Rye is the defending state champion.
"I'm not gonna say it was easy, but we executed our game plan as we wanted and got rolling early," McMurry said. "Our offensive line did a great job. When you see that much green in front of you, it's a lot of fun."
Hudson Falls jumped on Beekmantown (8-3) quickly, scoring three touchdowns in their first eight offensive plays and finishing the first quarter with a 28-0 lead. McMurry rushed for touchdowns of 10 and 43 yards, and senior quarterback Bret Mellon threw scoring passes to Isaiah Thomas and Tom Hammond.
In that quarter, the Tigers ran 14 plays for 227 total yards and seven first downs. They also collected two turnovers, including the first of Matt Ali's two interceptions.
"I thought that first quarter was absolutely beautiful on offense," Hudson Falls head coach Bill Strong said. "I mean, the execution was excellent, and boy, it's a real, real pleasure for a coach to sit back and watch your team play like that. I'm real proud of them."
"We had two turnovers early, which is uncharacteristic of our kids, and that hurt us. Good teams take advantage of that," Beekmantown head coach Mark Haley said.
The Tigers opened the scoring with a 51-yard touchdown pass from Mellon to Thomas, who was wide open downfield, on the fourth play of the game.
Two minutes later, Hammond recovered a fumble at the Eagles' 20, and on the third play, McMurry dashed into the end zone for a 14-0 lead with 7:14 left in the first quarter.
After a Beekmantown punt, Mellon found Hammond open behind coverage for a 64-yard touchdown on first down, giving the Tigers a 21-0 lead with 4:38 to go in the period. Ali's interception of freshman Carter Frechette set up McMurry's second touchdown.
"They came out throwing, and we had a good week of practice against exactly that," Haley said. "But at gametime, all eyes went to No. 1 (McMurry). They made plays and we didn't."
"They were in press coverage, nine in the box and their corners pressing up," Strong said. "We had scripted our first series, and we figured they would emulate what Ravena did last week, and that's precisely what they did."
Said Mellon: "They had no safety, so we had open shots downfield. Obviously they were keying to stop Joe. Isaiah and Tom Hammond both executed those plays perfectly."
Hudson Falls pushed its lead to 42-0 with 5:40 left in the first half on touchdown runs by Mellon and Nick Waytkus.
The Tigers' first-team defense did not allow a point. The Eagles got on the board with two touchdowns against the second team in the final 1:11 of the half, but in between, Tigers sophomore Joe Magee returned a kickoff 80 yards for a score.
Strong said the state semifinal matchup with Rye is one the Tigers are looking forward to.
"If we want our program to reach the elite level, we've got to beat an elite team," he said. "And that elite team is Rye."
"Rye is a good team, but we're a good team, too," Ali said.
"We're not going to back down to anybody," McMurry said