The Guilderland football team went through some growing pains in its Empire Division opener.
Bethlehem tailback Sean Murphy rushed for 131 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Eagles to a 29-7 victory over the Dutchmen in last Friday's game in Delmar.
We got behind early, and we couldn't establish a rhythm on offense, said Guilderland coach Dan Penna. "In the second half, I thought we settled down and played even with them."
Murphy scored on touchdown runs of one and five yards in the first half to help Bethlehem (1-0) take a 14-0 lead. Then, quarterback Randy Bowers connected with wide receiver Kyle Niehaus on a 14-yard touchdown pass. Murphy added a two-point conversion run to make the score 22-0 at halftime.
Guilderland (0-1) broke into the scoring column early in the fourth quarter when fullback Jason Lawrence broke free for a 14-yard touchdown run, but Niehaus returned an interception 90 yards for Bethlehem's final score.
The Dutchmen have to regroup quickly as they face Christian Brothers Academy Friday in Guilderland. The Brothers are coming off a 43-22 victory over Albany.
"All you can ask is for the guys to keep improving," said Penna. "They played better in the second half, so hopefully they'll keep improving from there.""