BALLSTON SPA: Scotties nip Dutchmen

The Ballston Spa football team may have one of the smallest rosters in class AA, but its heart makes up for the lack of depth.

For the second time in three weeks, the Scotties had a chance to hand an opponent its first loss of the season. This time, they were successful as they fended off Guilderland 32-27 in Friday's Empire Division game.

Ballston Spa (4-1) nearly had a repeat of its loss to Shen a game it led 21-14 in the fourth quarter before falling 27-21 in overtime when Guilderland (4-1) made a late comeback attempt with two fourth quarter touchdowns. But Chris Schaefer intercepted Drew Smith's deep pass with 9.3 seconds left to seal the Scotties' victory.

"We have a large number of guys playing both (offense and defense), but we tell them that's not an excuse," said Ballston Spa coach John Bowen. "We need to be conditioned to win a game like this."

It didn't look like it was going to be Ballston Spa's night early on. From the moment Tony Denn returned the opening kickoff to the Scotties' 20-yard line, Guilderland put Ballston Spa's back to the wall by keeping the ball deep in Scotties' territory. Yet, the Dutchmen didn't score a point in the first quarter. The closest they came was a missed 27-yard field goal by E.J. Genzano.

"The field was tipped the entire first quarter, and I turned to my offensive coordinator and said, 'Can you please tip the field in our favor,'" said Bowen.

Before the Scotties could do that, Guilderland got on the scoreboard. Smith returned a punt to Ballston Spa's 35-yard line early in the second quarter and engineered a drive that Jason Lawrence capped with a 9-yard touchdown run. Genzano added the extra point to give the Dutchmen a 7-0 lead with 8:05 left.

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