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Defense keys Bethlehem's Empire Division win against Ballston Spa

Murphy soon increased that lead to seven points again. On Bethlehem's second play from scrimmage, Murphy found a hole on the left side of Ballston Spa's defensive line and took off for a 56-yard touchdown run. Sam Smith added the extra point to give the Eagles a 14-6 advantage.

Ballston Spa caught a break midway through the third quarter when Seager recovered a Bethlehem fumble at the Eagles' 35-yard line. A short time later, Matt Clark broke free for a 19-yard touchdown run to trim Bethlehem's lead to 14-12.

The Scotties elected to go for the tie, but the Eagles were ready. Seager took the snap and went right, which is where Andy Bettinger was waiting to tackle him one yard shy of the end zone to maintain Bethlehem's slim advantage.

Ballston Spa couldn't get its offense going again until midway through the fourth quarter. Starting from their own 9-yard line after a punt, the Scotties methodically moved the ball on the ground to get inside Bethlehem's 10 with less than two minutes left.

The Eagles collected themselves, though. They stopped three running plays before Maxwell batted Seager's pass into the end zone to Abriel on fourth down. Then, Maxwell ended any Ballston Spa hopes of getting the ball back when he took off on a 40-yard run into Scotties territory with 1:02 left.

Smith said he's hopeful that his team can build off its defensive effort against Ballston Spa when Bethlehem hosts a CBA team that has managed only nine points in their last three games.

"I'm scared to say it, but I think we're peaking," said Smith. "We're holding on to the ball better, and we're playing better on the defensive side."

Indians bounce back against Titans

In other area football action last weekend, Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk rebounded from its triple overtime loss to Cohoes by beating Taconic Hills 49-14 Friday, while Voorheesville fell to Coxsackie-Athens 22-7 Saturday.

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