The Guilderland Dutchmen became the first Section II football team to lock up a playoff berth after beating Christian Brothers Academy 21-14 in Thursday's Empire Division game in Colonie.
We didn't really focus on that (the playoffs), said Guilderland coach Dan Penna. "We're just trying to take it one opponent at a time and try to get better. These are the type of wins you want to have going into the playoffs because they really check your character and your mental toughness."
The Dutchmen (4-0) allowed more points to CBA (1-3) than they allowed in their three previous games combined, but they were able to get the stops they needed to remain undefeated.
"We played really hard tonight, and it's a tribute to the players' effort," said CBA coach Matt Gormley. "We started out 0-2 against two really good teams and then got a win (against Albany last week). Tonight, we faced another really good team."
"Take nothing away from CBA, but we didn't play our best going into the second half," said Penna. "We knew going in that CBA was a really competitive football team, and we're very pleased to get out with a win."
Guilderland opened the scoring after senior quarterback Drew Smith engineered a drive with Vince Young-like running as he barreled over the Brothers defense. Several plays later, Smith handed the ball off to senior tailback Paul Booker, who scored from four yards out. E.J. Genzano's extra point gave the Dutchmen a 7-0 lead.
CBA answered with an impressive drive of its own. Sophomore Jack Reilly had several big runs in the series, and junior quarterback Andrew Vivian connected with Jafar Johnson for a 25-yard touchdown pass. David Agan added the extra point to tie the game at 7.
Reilly set up CBA's next score with a 36-yard run early in the second quarter. Vivian connected with tight end Justin Marini for a 5-yard touchdown pass to put the Brothers ahead 14-7.