The Bethlehem football team proved it was equally able to win a close game as a blowout.
The Eagles scored the game-winning touchdown with 57 seconds left in the fourth quarter to defeat Ballston Spa 14-7 last Friday in a class AA game.
Our kids just fought, said Bethlehem coach Ron Smith. "I loved their integrity and character. We bent a little, but we didn't break."
Starting from its own 37-yard line, Bethlehem (1-0 division, 2-0 overall) marched down the field as time wound down. Quarterback David Plummer then capped the drive by hitting Brian Pauquette for an 11-yard touchdown pass. Ethan Kolodny added the extra point to give the Eagles their margin of victory.
"We were looking to roll something to Scooby (Dollard), and Brian (Pauquette) came into the flat wide open and scored," said Smith.
Pauquette was in the game because starting wide receiver Joe Whitney broke his left leg in the third quarter. Whitney played an important role on Bethlehem's first scoring drive late in the second quarter with a run for a first down and two receptions for 15 yards. Plummer capped that series with a 6-yard touchdown pass to Dollard 18 seconds before halftime.
Ballston Spa tied the game at 7 in the third quarter on Eric Marciano's diving 7-yard touchdown reception and Kyle Baldani's extra point kick. However, mistakes prevented the Scotties (0-1, 1-1) from taking the lead. Ballston Spa turned the ball over twice on fumbles and missed a 20-yard field goal.
"The team that makes the fewer mistakes always ends up winning, especially in a game like this, and we made some key ones," said Ballston Spa coach John Bowen.
The Scotties dominated on the ground, led by running backs Anthony Scarpetti and Steve Duncan, who contributed heavily to more than 200 team rushing yards on 41 carries. However, Plummer threw for more than 100 yards to lead Bethlehem to victory.
The Eagles hit the road for their next two games, starting with Friday's battle at Shaker against a Blue Bison team coming off an emotional 20-19 victory over Colonie last Friday. Beth-lehem then visits Colonie Sept. 21.
"We're real happy with where we are right now, but we've got two tough games coming up against Shaker and Colonie," Smith said.
Ballston Spa hosts Niskayuna Friday night.""