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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, October 14, 2010

UPSET! Dutchmen knock off Shenendehowa

By Jordan J. Michael

GUILDERLAND –– The Dutchmen football team is starting to make a habit out of winning big over undefeated opponents.

After upsetting an unbeaten LaSalle team in the 2009 Class AA playoffs, Guilderland marched into a hostile environment at Shenendehowa on Friday and crushed the former undefeated Plainsmen, 37 to 13.

“Several people referenced the LaSalle game from last year,” Dutch Head Coach Dan Penna said on Wednesday. “But, I think this was different because we weren’t that much of an underdog this time. We had the confidence to compete and to win.”

The term “winning” might have been an understatement. The Dutchmen took total control over Shenendehowa with a well-oiled offense. Guilderland was led by senior quarterback Ryan Smith, who completed 11 passes for 226 yards and two touchdowns, while adding 12 rushes for 66 yards and a score.

“Finally, we put four quarters of football together,” said Penna. The Dutch were 2-3 before Friday’s game and on the verge of having no playoff chances. “We’ve been unable to finish drives before, but this time we moved the ball freely upfield. It was consistent play against a quality opponent.”

Penna told The Enterprise that Guilderland had a goal of improving each week. “Early on, we didn’t put all the phases together,” he said. “Five to seven plays decide each game and I don’t think the players truly realized that.”

The realizations came against the Plainsmen. At one point the Dutch were up, 21 to 0, after Smith ran the ball in from eight yards out for a score. In the third quarter, Smith found Dom Litz through the air for an 88-yard touchdown.

“We play good football,” Penna said. “We just needed to bring everything together.”

It was Homecoming Night for Shen and plenty of heckling was dished out by the massive crowd. Penna said that some of the remarks “bordered on insulting.” The chant that greeted Guilderland was, “F--k the Dutch.”

“Every crowd has its own antics,” said Penna. “We prepared to focus and blocked out all the distractions. But, it did amp up my players a little more than they already were.”

Guilderland is 2-3 in the Empire Division of Class AA, tied with Bethlehem and Christian Brothers Academy. The Dutch get Bethlehem at home on Friday, but a win doesn’t guarantee anything.

The Dutchmen, Saratoga, CBA, Niskayuna, and Colonie all have an overall record of 3-3 heading into the final week of the regular season. Ballston Spa, Shenendehowa, Troy, and Shaker are all in front of those previous five teams. Only eight make it to the playoffs.

“We didn’t capitalize on important opportunities before and it might cost us,” said Penna. “We feel like we belong in the final eight. Taking ownership of that is needed.”

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