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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, September 15, 2011

Guilderland becomes Shen’s second shutout victim

By Jordan J. Michael

GUILDERLAND –– Dutchmen football was voided by the Plainsmen on Friday night, but what the team lacked in points, it made up for in pure will to fight. Sometimes a score sheet is deceptive.

Shenendehowa had gained 550 yards on the ground during a 50-to-0 win over Bethlehem in the previous week. The Plainsmen got nowhere near that type of yardage at Guilderland, but still left with another shutout, 27 to 0.

The Dutch defense seemed to have Shenendehowa on its heels in the third quarter, stopping the team on three straight drives to keep the Plainsmen’s lead at 14 to 0. However, Guilderland could barely move the chains on offense, punting the ball away three straight times.

“They loaded the box with extra defenders and took us out of the game,” said Guilderland Head Coach Dan Penna of Shen’s defense. “We threw the ball more, but we’ve got to give them credit. We did shoot ourselves in the foot sometimes, too.”

Even though Guilderland quarterback Tim O’Connor and his offense weren’t given much room to run, O’Connor still threw for a game-high 155 yards. Brandon Courtney caught three of O’Connor’s passes for 55 yards, including a string of two that got the Dutch moving in the second quarter.

Still, the closest Guilderland could get to Shen’s end zone was just inside the 30-yard line.

“They don’t take any snaps for granted,” Guilderland senior Captain Adam Gersowitz said of Shen’s defense after the game. “They like to blitz and we can’t pick it up every time. It comes with the nature of the game. We have to adjust.”

After punting back and forth to each other during the third quarter, the Plainsmen finally broke the game open with a huge play. Senior quarterback Teddy Van Galen found Brandon Miller open in the middle of the field, and Miller sprinted all the way to Guilderland’s six-yard line for a 63-yard completion. Corey Acker ran it in for a touchdown off an option play, giving his team a 20-to-0 advantage as the third quarter came to a close.

With the way the Dutch offense was faring, the Plainsmen got a sense of closure. Senior Tony Fusco, who already ran for two touchdowns of 15 and three yards, closed the door completely with a running score of nine yards in the fourth quarter.

Penna told The Enterprise that Guilderland has been “learning the ropes” over the last two games. The defense held steady for the most part, preventing Shen from gaining lots of yardage.

“The kids battled hard. The will was there,” Penna said, mentioning the spirit of the 9/11 anniversary. “We showed solid will and we’re pleased with the fight. It was a battle.”

At 0-2 to start the season, Guilderland is in a hole, especially in a tough division. The team travels to Saratoga, which just got beaten by Bethlehem on Friday night.

“We’ll keep trying to put drives together,” Penna said. “What else can you do?”

“Execute better,” Gersowitz said. “We’ve got to slam the door.”

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