"The kids said the whistle blew and that's why they all stopped, but the officials were right on the call," Penna said. "(Smith) makes tons of plays with his arm, legs and defensively, and sometimes big-time players make those mistakes. He was absolutely just fighting for extra yardage."
Guilderland (8-2) dominated the first half, scoring on the game's first drive (12 plays, 73 yards) which took 6:58 off the clock. The big play came when quarterback Andrew Smith hit Paul Booker for a 31-yard gain down to LaSalle's 10. Two plays later, Smith faked a handoff and ran in for a 6-yard score. E.J. Genzano's extra point made it 7-0.
Smith got the ball to the LaSalle 9-yard line on Guilderland's next drive with a 40-yard scamper. That set up a 26-yard field goal by Genzano, which put the Dutchmen up 10-0 early in the second quarter.
Smith also made a big defensive play in the first half when he intercepted LaSalle quarterback Jared Henkel at Guilderland's 26-yard line. Smith, who rushed for 157 yards and threw for 129 yards, capped the Dutchmen's ensuing drive with a 5-yard touchdown run. Genzano added the extra point to give Guilderland a 17-0 lead.
"Andrew makes such terrific athletic football plays. He's proven to Section II that he's one of the best all around football players in the Section and perhaps in the state," Penna said.
The Dutchmen controlled most of the first half accompanied by 40 plays to Lasalle's 20 plays. But it was a different story in the fourth quarter as the Cadets came back and advanced to this weekend's class AA regional against Section IX champion Monroe-Woodbury in Kingston.
"I think we got a little tight and just made too many mistakes. You do that to a good football team, and that's what going to happen," said Penna. "(But) I wouldn't trade these kids for the world. They've given me a hell of a third season as head coach, and I give all the credit to them for all the success we've had. I'm really proud of them.""