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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, October 2, 2008

Flying Dutchmen start on course, let game slip away in second half

By Jordan J. Michael

GUILDERLAND –– The Dutchmen football team had a 16-to-7 lead at halftime against Ballston Spa during its final home game on Friday. But the “wind came out of our sails” in the second half, Head Coach Dan Penna said.

Ballston Spa scored 19 unanswered points in the second half and held Guilderland scoreless to win the game, 26-16.

Ballston Spa quarterback Mark Seager sealed the win when he ran for a 25-yard touchdown with five minutes left in the game and a 20-16 lead. He rushed 19 times for 159 yards and three touchdowns.

“We struggled with the inside run during the second half,” said Penna. “Their offense had a grinded-out style and they took advantage of mismatches.”

Guilderland made some costly errors in the second half that didn’t help the team’s cause. “We had a drive in the fourth quarter that was riddled with lost plays, due to penalties,” Penna said.

On that fourth-quarter drive; the Dutchmen threw away two 20-yard plays on a holding call and a grab to the facemask. “Ballston Spa had just scored, so we needed to match them,” said Penna. “We killed ourselves with mistakes on that drive and I’m sure my guys learned a lesson or two.”

Guilderland started the game off with a 31-yard touchdown catch by Tony Denn, from the arm of Bobby Falcone. Ballston Spa answered back with a five-yard Van Huyben run. It was 7-7 after one quarter.

Denn had another touchdown in the second quarter, this time on the ground for 18 yards. “Denn made some amazing reads and he hit the holes properly. He was all over the field and is becoming a strong contributor and leader for this team,” Penna said.

E.J. Genzano put a 30-yard field goal through the uprights to give the Dutchmen a 16-to-7 lead. Ballston Spa had a first-half ending drive that landed the Scotties on the goal line, but the clock ticked away before they could score.

“We had a good feeling about the first half because we really controlled the ball and forced mistakes, which included a big interception by Matt Ward,” said Penna. “We had Ballston Spa stumbling and we went into the second half fired up.”

Ballston Spa had long, time-consuming drives in the second half and Guilderland only got 21 plays off. “My defense may have been tired, but we made plenty of mistakes, too,” Penna said.

Seager scored all three of his touchdowns in the second half and ran the first one in from 10 yards out to cut the Dutchmen’s lead to two, at 16-14.

Seager added a 16-yard and a 25-yard run to close out Guilderland. “They just ran all over us in the second half,” said Penna.

The loss dropped the Dutchmen to 1-3 on the season with three road games left before crossover games. “It will be hard for us to make the playoffs, but the fight in this team is there and we have great fans,” Penna said.

Guilderland will have to keep fighting with four starters now lost to injury. Fresh faces will be seen at Niskayuna this Friday.

“We took a step backwards after this game,” said Penna. “We made mistakes that we haven’t made yet this season, but we’re staying hungry.”

Penna is still getting worthy play from quarterbacks Falcone and Ryan Smith. “Brendan Ruddy and Alex Trolenberg stood out and Jesse Terzian is running well,” he said. “And Matt Ward all-around, he gets it done.”

Penna worked his secondary unit hard this week because Niskayuna (2-2) passes the ball effectively and often. “We can’t stop their offense, but we can slow it down,” he said.

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