|[Home Page] [This Week] [Classifieds] [Legals] [Obituaries] [Newsstands] [Subscriptions] [Advertising] [Deadlines] [About Us] [FAQ] [Archives] [Community Links] [Contact Us]
Sports Archives The Altamont Enterprise, September 9, 2010
Dutchmen have issues with rhythm in season opener
By Jordan J. Michael
SARATOGA SPRINGS The Guilderland football team came into its season-opening game at Saratoga on Friday night with large expectations. The Dutch did show a few signs of greatness, but it wasn’t nearly enough.
Guilderland was tough on defense and senior quarterback Ryan Smith threw two huge touchdown passes in the first half. However, the Blue Streaks scored 14 unanswered points in the second half en route to a 28-to-12 victory.
After the game, Dutch Head Coach Dan Penna said his team may have “tried a little too hard” to make certain plays. This theory held true because Guilderland couldn’t get its offense to run smoothly throughout.
“We had trouble finding our rhythm,” Penna said. “We didn’t break down where we needed to.”
The Dutchmen had several offensive series; each was relatively short, even when the team scored. “It was lacking,” said junior Tony Stanish.
Guilderland had the first possession of the game, starting out on its own 40-yard line, but the team punted the ball away. The Dutch got the ball right back after Saratoga’s running back Jesse Spencer fumbled, only to watch as Smith threw an interception to Kyle Willmott on the following snap.
The Dutchmen defense gave its offense another chance, but Conor Hurley was tackled by the Blue Streaks’ Jaime Perez for a three-yard loss and Stanish was bumped off a pass by Willmott.
“There was some lack of discipline at times,” Penna said. “We were trying to force the ball into places it couldn’t go.”
With about five minutes remaining in the first quarter, and starting a drive on Guilderland’s 47-yard line, Saratoga quarterback Luke Fauler connected with Brandon Bogardus for a 45-yard pass completion. Perez easily ran it in for a touchdown, giving the Streaks a 7-to-0 lead.
Smith, the leading passer in Section II last season, finally got things going for the Dutchmen early in the second quarter when he found Tim O’Connor on a slant route up the middle for a 48-yard touchdown. The score was now 7 to 6 after the extra point was no good.
Saratoga got all the way to the five-yard line on the next drive, but Perez fumbled and Guilderland ended up with another timely recovery. Again, the Dutch offense couldn’t capitalize and the Streaks got the ball back in Guilderland territory.
Penna told The Enterprise that his players “were waiting for others to make plays,” and that stalled many drives for the team. “But,” he continued, “I am happy with how hard my guys played, especially the defense.”
The Dutchmen defense secured another turnover after Stanish grabbed a tipped pass, resulting in a first down at the 43-yard line and yet another opportunity for the offense.
It just wasn’t Guilderland’s night.
Smith dropped back and got taken down, but he tried to make a play and threw it right to Zach Forbes’s breadbasket for an interception the other way. The Blue Streaks marched through the drive; ending with a 13-yard touchdown run by Jesse Spencer with 2:37 left in the first half.
“We did all of the little things wrong,” said Stanish, who muffed a punt return in the third quarter.
Nevertheless, the Dutch went into halftime on a high note after Smith showed off his impressive arm, hurling a perfect deep pass to Stanish, who made the catch and broke Willmott’s tackle for a 71-yard score. Guilderland was only down by two points.
Penna gave much credit to Saratoga, a team that Guilderland previously hadn’t held under 26 points. “They’re a really good team,” he said. “They moved the ball on offense and closed in on us with the pass rush.”
The Dutchmen, as evidenced, can make big plays, too, but on Friday the team was out of sync and misfiring on offense. Penna said that it was “very uncharacteristic,” especially after a solid week of practice beforehand.