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Football: Door is open for Dutch

Led by Gallo, Guilderland aims for Empire Division title

Guilderland senior quarterback Frank Gallo talks with assistant coach Garth Childs during last Wednesday’s football practice. Gallo led Section II in passing last year with 1,758 yards.

Guilderland senior quarterback Frank Gallo talks with assistant coach Garth Childs during last Wednesday’s football practice. Gallo led Section II in passing last year with 1,758 yards. Photo by Rob Jonas.

— To do that, Guilderland will need a more consistent defensive effort in 2013 than in 2012, when the Dutchmen had a hard time stopping some of the more elite offenses in Class AA.

“I wouldn’t say we were inconsistent (last year), but at times we gave up the big play when we couldn’t afford to,” said Penna. “If we can limit the big plays this year, I think we will be in a better position to win games.”

Several of Guilderland’s opponents are dealing with significant changes in their personnel this year. Defending Empire Division champion Shenendehowa graduated 20 of its 22 starters from last year’s team, while runner-up Christian Brothers Academy graduated several key players. Ballston Spa – Guilderland’s first opponent on Friday, Sept. 6 – has a new head coach in Dave Murello, and Penna said he expects last-place Albany to improve.

“Every week is going to be a battle,” said Penna. “We have as much of a chance as anyone to win the division this year, but we also know that virtually everyone else has a chance to win it.”

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