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Guilderland gains victory, final playoff berth

Dutchmen run past Bethlehem in regular season finale

— "The fake punt that we didn't get, I really want that one back," said Bethlehem coach Rick Leach. "That really changed the momentum."

Guilderland sealed the victory five minutes later. Following a Ryan Fanuele interception at Bethlehem's 30-yard line, the Dutchmen needed only three runs to score again -- this time, it was an 18-yard touchdown scamper from Micaiah Hennigham. O'Connor added a two-point conversion run to put Guilderland ahead 32-14.

"Ryan Fanuele made a great break on the ball [on the interception]," said Penna. "It was a great football play."

Guilderland's special teams unit struck the first blow midway through the first quarter. James McLaughlin charged through Bethlehem's line and blocked Jon Martin's punt attempt. Noah Poskanzer picked up the loose ball and ran into the end zone from three yards out to get the Dutchmen on the scoreboard.

O'Connor added to Guilderland's advantage early in the second quarter. Taking the snap in the Dutchmen's spread formation, the senior quarterback broke free from several Bethlehem defenders and sprinted 40 yards for Guilderland's second touchdown. Fanuele added the two-point conversion run, and the Dutchmen had a 16-0 lead.

Bethlehem got back in the game with a pair of touchdowns. The first came on Mike Graves' 20-yard scoring run midway through the second quarter, and the second came on a 4-yard touchdown pass from quarterback John Gosstola to wide receiver Trey Silver as time expired in the first half. Silver had to leap for the ball in the back of the end zone and wrestle it away from a Guilderland defender in the process.

"It was a tremendous catch," said Leach. "The only difficult thing about Trey [Silver] is that he only really got going these last two weeks."

Bethlehem hung tough with Guilderland through the third quarter before the Dutchmen pulled away with their two fourth-quarter scoring drives. The Eagles managed one more touchdown late in the fourth quarter, but that was all Guilderland's defense would allow.

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