Nobody gave the Guilderland football team a chance to beat two-time defending Section II, Class AA champion LaSalle in last Friday's first round of the playoffs.
Nobody, that is, except Guilderland's players and the coaches.
And when Michael Lavelle nailed an extra point in overtime, the Dutchmen (4-4) scored the biggest upset of the weekend a 34-33 victory over LaSalle.
For us to pull off the upset that we did, the kids had to buy into the idea that they could pull it off," said Guilderland coach Dan Penna.
The Dutchmen came back from one-touchdown deficits three times in the fourth quarter and overtime to get the win. They also had to try the winning extra point four times due to various penalties against both sides, the last of which pushed Lavelle back five yards before he made his kick.
"We certainly made it tough for ourselves," said Penna. "But with each repetition in the overtime period, [Lavelle] kept his focus, and he drilled it."
The game started as a defensive showdown on a rainy night in Troy. Guilderland struck first when Peter Quinn hauled in a first-quarter touchdown pass from Ryan Smith. LaSalle (7-1) tied the game in the second quarter on Mike Murray's touchdown pass to Nick Edgington before the Dutchmen regained the lead on a scoring strike from Smith to Anthony Stanish. Lavelle added the extra point to give Guilderland a 13-6 halftime lead.
"The first half, we played one of our best defensive games of the season," said Penna. "We were gang tackling, and we were following the ball well."
LaSalle tied the game again in the third quarter when Tyler Washington capped a Cadets drive with a 1-yard touchdown run. The Cadets then took their first lead on Vinny Planz's 70-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter.