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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, October 6, 2011

Dutch football makes statement with 43-6 pounding of Colonie

By Jordan J. Michael

COLONIE –– Guilderland may have a 2-3 record, but it plays like a football team that should be 4-1. After an emotional loss to Christian Brothers Academy in Week 4, the Dutchmen showed off its weapons by trouncing Colonie last Friday.

If Guilderland didn’t give up fourth-quarter leads to Ballston Spa and CBA this season, the team would actually be 4-1 and right in the thick of talk about the best teams in Class AA.

The Dutch looked like a serious threat on Friday, beating Colonie, 43 to 6. The Raiders were a winless, but not a helpless, team.

“This was a statement game for us,” said Guilderland quarterback Tim O’Connor, who threw for 130 yards and a touchdown, and ran for 50 yards and two scores. “We’re right there in the mix. We put the nail in the coffin.”

The Dutchmen scored on its first two drives of the game, going up 14 to 0 in the first quarter. Conor Gallup had a run of 30 yards that set up O’Connor’s 14-yard touchdown run. Noah Poskanzer blocked a Colonie punt, recovered by Nigel Simmons. Micaiah Henningham scored on a run of 11 yards.

Poskanzer got a piece of Colonie’s next punt, setting up Guilderland’s offense on the Raiders’ 40-yard line. From there, Gallup and Steve Polsinelli combined for 18 rushing yards and Polsinelli caught a screen pass, quickly darting through the defense for a 22-yard score and a 22-to-0 lead.

Interestingly, the Dutchmen elected not to kick after every score, instead keeping the offense out for two points. It wasn’t necessary, but it was good for practice.

“We executed really well,” Guilderland Head Coach Dan Penna said. “We played with purpose and executed some great football. I’m happy with how hard we played.”

After the close loss to CBA, a team that’s still undefeated, Penna told the press that Guilderland was “the best 1-3 team in Section II.” Friday’s emphatic win over Colonie might have proved that statement.

“We’ve had some tough breaks this season,” Penna said. “We’re taking it one game at a time. We don’t want to point to the flaws; just move forward and improve.”

Fine catches by Tony Stanish and Connor Drislane set up another touchdown for the Dutchmen as time wound down in the first half. From four yards out, O’Connor ran wide right, diving into the pylon to put the score at 30 to 0.

“We’re just playing our game,” O’Connor said. “The flaws are less and less with every game.”

Adding insult to Colonie’s injury, Guilderland scored on a 21-yard run play in the third quarter that entirely faked out three defenders. O’Connor faked a hand-off to Gallup, but the three defenders tackled him anyway. Polsinelli had taken the hand-off, and beat the remaining defenders for the touchdown.

“It looked wilder than it actually was,” said Penna of the play. “It was just an option play, but it sucked the defenders right up.”

O’Connor saw the defense fly towards Gallup. “The end was just sitting there,” he said. “I read it.”

Penna told The Enterprise that O’Connor is doing a “superb” job with calling the offense behind an offensive line that’s continuing to gel.  O’Connor also plays on defense and returns kicks. “He’s making plays when it counts,” Penna said.

The words “execute” and “purpose” were regularly used by Penna when describing his team’s play against Colonie. Guilderland is focusing on itself, not the opponent.

“We’re talking about how well we’re playing,” Penna said.

The Dutchmen will host Albany this Friday and go on the road to Bethlehem on Oct. 14. Albany is in the middle of its third winless season in a row, while Bethlehem is tied with Guilderland in the Empire Division at 2-3.

Guilderland will earn a Class AA playoff spot if it can win both games. Penna sees the Bethlehem match up as the first playoff game.

“The fourth quarter wasn’t a letdown today,” O’Connor said after beating Colonie. “I think we’re in control.”

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