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Sports Archives The Altamont Enterprise, October 1, 2009
Guilderland struggles in crucial game at Shenendehowa
By Jordan J. Michael
CLIFTON PARK Dutchmen football Head Coach Dan Penna had one simple statement after a big loss to Shenendehowa on Friday: “We got our butts kicked in the first half.”
The Plainsmen had a 42-to-6 lead over the visiting Guilderland team at halftime and went on to win, 49-14. The Dutch couldn’t get anything going against Shen in the cold weather.
“Getting beat up usually teaches your team a great lesson,” added Penna. “This is what happens when you don’t come to play.”
“We completely wasted the first half and it makes me sick,” said senior Matt Ward after the game, clearly disappointed. “I guess we didn’t want it as much as the other team did. We didn’t have the fight and didn’t have the heart. You need those things to win games.”
Guilderland had the first possession of the game and started on the 31-yard line. The drive got off on a sour note when quarterback Ryan Smith was sacked on the first play. Smith tried to complete a pass to Peter Quinn, but it was no good.
Bronson Greene had a few solid runs to get Shenendehowa’s first drive off to a good start. It wasn’t long before Andrew Kalish found Mike Daly for a nine-yard touchdown pass. The Plainsmen led, 7-0.
The Dutchmen started from its own 31-yard line again on the next drive, but Tony Stanish fumbled the ball and Shen recovered.
The Plainsmen put the offense into gear again and Greene broke numerous tackles on a 23-yard touchdown run. It was quickly a 14-to-0 game in the first quarter.
“We came out flat and we can’t do that,” Penna said. “It doesn’t matter what team you play. Coming out flat isn’t an option. I don’t think this score reflects the talent of the team, but this one hurt quite a bit.”
Guilderland was coming off an exciting come-from-behind win at Christian Brothers Academy the week before. The momentum from that game did not carry over to Friday night.
Drowned in points
Shenendehowa wasted no time at the beginning of the second quarter and put the ball in the end zone to make it 21 to 0. The score came from Johnny Craig, who ran it in from 16 yards out.
The Plainsmen started its next drive from its own 30-yard line with 8:20 left in the second quarter and drove to score once again, taking the lead to 28-to-0. It was a six-yard run for Greene.
The Dutchmen got the ball back, but Smith threw and was intercepted by Daly on the first play of the drive. Daly switched to offense and proceeded to break a 41-yard run for the offense. This led to a seven-yard touchdown run for Greene and it was 35 to 0.
“We showed our youth tonight because everyone was waiting for someone else to make a play,” said Penna. “We weren’t getting blocks, making tackles, or pressuring the ball. We had a tough time tonight.”
Guilderland was able to get something going on the next drive. Smith hit Quinn for a first down and Smith eventually scrambled to find an open Stanish for the 20-yard touchdown pass.
The Plainsmen could have run the rest of the first-half clock out and gone into halftime with a comfortable lead, but the team decided to put the game away for good.
Kalish dropped back in the final seconds and heaved a 40-yard pass to David Boyle, who made an excellent catch in the end zone for another score and a 42-to-6 lead.
The crowd went mad and Dutch football had seen better nights.
“I told my guys at halftime that we just have to go out there in the second half and play some football,” Penna said. “This game wasn’t just about football, it was about who we are as people. The second half was reassuring.”
Penna kept his first string players in for the second half and the defense forced a fumble. Snith led the offense down the field and Stanish scored on an 11-yard run. Luke Stark made a one-handed grab for the two-point conversion.
“If we came out in the first quarter like we did in the third, then it would have been a different story,” said Ward.
Penna is glad that his team stepped it up in the second half and only allowed Shen to score once more. “It’s something to build on,” he said.
The Dutch are now sitting at 2-2 on the season and get a home game against Saratoga on Friday. Game time is 7 p.m.
“What did we learn tonight?” asked Penna, answering himself, “We need to play hard fundamental football from the first snap.”