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VOORHEESVILLE: Panthers ground Blackbirds

The Blackbirds fell into a five-way tie with Chatham, Coxsackie-Athens, Watervliet and Mechanicville for first place in the South Division, but they still have hope for a divisional title. They wrap up the regular season with games against Catholic Central and Coxsackie-Athens, while Watervliet, Mechanicville and Chatham all face each other in the last two weeks.

In other football action last weekend, Bethlehem kept its class AA playoff hopes alive with a 20-18 Empire Division victory at Albany, while Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk did all of its scoring in the first half on its way to a 21-0 class B Reinfurt Division victory over Cohoes.

Bethlehem (2-3) needed a late drive to edge Albany (0-5) Friday night at Bleecker Stadium. Trailing 18-14 with less than a minute left, the Eagles drove to the Falcons' 12-yard line. From there, Randy Bowers hit Mike Agneta as time expired for the winning touchdown.

I've been around football for a long time, and I don't know if I've been involved in a game like this, said Bethlehem coach Ron Smith. "Our guys played cool under pressure. It's hard to explain. It was like a dream, almost."

Tailback Sean Murphy rushed for 142 yards and two touchdowns to lead Bethlehem's offense. Bowers completed 7 of 11 passes for 104 yards, nearly half of which came on the Eagles' final series.

"We're playing a ton of juniors, and they're getting better every game," said Smith.

Bethlehem has a tough assignment this week as it travels to undefeated Shenendehowa.

"We want to win, but this game is not as important to get that fourth playoff spot as the last game," said Smith. "With CBA and Saratoga also having three losses, it will come down to the final week."

At Cohoes Saturday, R-C-S (4-1) maintained its hold on first place in the Reinfurt Division with an efficient performance against the Tigers. C.J. Murray got the Indians on the scoreboard by returning a Cohoes fumble five yards for a touchdown, and Zach Deering added a 46-yard scoring run to give R-C-S a 14-0 lead in the first quarter. Jared Fortier contributed a 10-yard touchdown in the second quarter, and the Indians' defense did the rest as it limited Cohoes to 45 total yards of offense.

R-C-S travels to Cairo-Durham Saturday.""

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