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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, October 21, 2010

Dutchmen win two in a row but playoff ticket not punched

By Jordan J. Michael

GUILDERLAND –– The Dutchmen football team finished the season with two commanding wins, but it wasn’t enough to earn a spot in the Class AA playoffs.

After upsetting an undefeated Shenendehowa team in week six, Guilderland won big over Bethlehem, 33 to 7, at home on Friday in the middle of a rain storm. To make the playoffs, the Dutch needed Christian Brothers Academy to lose, but it won its game against Albany.

Guilderland and CBA finished with identical 4-3 records, but the Brothers beat the Dutchmen on Sept. 17. The Liberty and Empire leagues of Class AA each took the four top teams. Schenectady, which finished 3-4 in the Liberty league, got a berth.

The high-school football playoff system is just as confusing as the NCAA and the NFL. A deserving team is almost always left out.

“It’s unfortunate because we’re cooking right now,” said Head Coach Dan Penna. The Dutch have a crossover game against Colonie on Friday then another game the following week. “But, we put ourselves in this position,” said Penna. “It’s disappointing, but we’re excited for more football.”

Penna told The Enterprise that no game is meaningless, even if it isn’t in the playoffs. “All that we needed was one more win,” he said. “It’s bittersweet knowing how close we were.”

Senior quarterback Ryan Smith has 1,359 passing yards and 173 rushing yards, but won’t take any of the credit for leading Guilderland over the last two seasons. Smith, a native of Texas, is getting looks from Division I colleges.

“It’s a team effort,” Smith said. “The coaches have to call the plays and the receiver has to make the catch. This isn’t a one-man show. Every player is responsible for keeping this rolling.”

Penna said that he would be better able to reflect on the 2010 season after the ninth and final game. However, he did mention that the Dutchmen had some “missed opportunities” earlier in the season.

“We learned the hard way, but it won’t take anything away from how hard we worked as a team,” Penna said. “We were a couple of touchdowns away from being undefeated.”

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