A lot will be at stake when Shenendehowa hosts Ballston Spa Friday in its final Empire Division regular season football game.
A Shen victory assures the Plainsmen (4-1 division, 4-2 overall) second place and a home game for the first round of the Section II, Class AA playoffs. A Ballston Spa win coupled with a Bethlehem loss against Christian Brothers Academy gives the Scotties (3-2, 4-2) the No. 2 seed. A Ballston Spa win and a Bethlehem victory would create a three-way tie for second place.
The Scotties could have avoided at least one of those scenarios had they beaten Bethlehem (3-2, 3-3) last Friday, but the Eagles squeaked out a 14-12 victory last Friday in Ballston Spa. That coupled with Shen's 41-3 victory over CBA created the must-win scenario for the Scotties.
We still have where we're going to be seeded in our control, said Ballston Spa coach John Bowen. "We can still play a home playoff game."
Ballston Spa had a chance to beat Bethlehem in the fourth quarter. Starting from their 9-yard line with 7:42 left, the Scotties methodically marched down the field and got inside the Eagles' 10-yard line. But after three plays yielded no points, Ballston Spa gambled with a passing play on fourth down. Quarterback Mark Seager threw into the end zone, but Bethlehem's Casiem Maxwell batted the ball to teammate Teddy Abriel for the interception.
"We had a 14-play drive, and we didn't finish it," said Bowen. "They made the play they needed."
Bethlehem did all of its scoring in the first quarter. Tailback Sean Murphy capped the Eagles' first series with a 1-yard touchdown run to make the score 7-0. Then following a Seager 20-yard touch-down run, Murphy took off on a 56-yard scoring run to increase Bethlehem's lead to 14-6.
Ballston Spa forced a Bethle-hem fumble at the Eagles' 35-yard line midway through the third quarter, which set up Matt Clark's 20-yard touchdown run that pulled the Scotties within two points. But, Andy Bettinger tackled Seager on a two-point conversion attempt to keep the Eagles in front at 14-12. That proved to be the winning margin.
Meanwhile, Shen's offense was firing on all cylinders against CBA (1-4, 1-5). Tailback Suhayb Banks rushed for 194 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Plainsmen to the decisive 41-3 victory.
Quarterback Andrew Kalish threw for 68 yards and a touchdown, and Mike Daly added a fourth-quarter touchdown for Shen.""