The Guilderland football team will get its chance to avenge its only loss of the season.
The Dutchmen (7-1) defeated Schenectady 32-13 Saturday at home to advance to Friday's Section II, Class AA semifinal game against Ballston Spa, which defeated Troy 34-21 in the quarterfinals.
We lost up there (in Ballston Spa). Certainly, we'd like to show that we can cut down on our mistakes, said Guilderland coach Dan Penna. "Overall, we know that Ballston Spa will be tough and ready to play."
The Dutchmen scored early and often in the first half against Schenectady (4-4). On the game's first drive, Guilderland ate up 6:10 on the clock on 12 plays, culminating on quarterback Andrew Smith's 1-yard touchdown leap to make the score 6-0.
Smith was a big part of Guilderland's second scoring drive. He connected three times with Paul Malamood for 48 yards and added two runs to get the Dutchmen inside Schenectady's 5-yard line. Tailback Paul Booker capped the series with a 4-yard touchdown run to put the Dutchmen ahead 12-0 with 7:50 left in the second quarter.
"We knew going into this game that maybe we wouldn't break as many long (plays) given the team speed that Schenectady has on defense," said Penna. "The offensive line " especially on third downs " really stepped up and gave Drew (Smith) great protection, and he found his receivers."
Malamood came up with a big defensive play for Guilderland later in the second quarter when he intercepted Schenectady's Nick Ottati and returned the ball to the Patriots' 24-yard line. On the next play, Booker broke several tackles up the left sideline to get to Schenectady's 1-yard line. Smith added his second 1-yard touchdown run after that and tacked on a two-point conversion run to make the score 20-0.
The Dutchmen ended their first half scoring outburst with 40 seconds left in the second quarter. Smith fielded a punt at his own 42-yard line and raced 58 yards for a touchdown. The two-point conversion failed, though, leaving Guilderland with a 26-0 halftime lead.