The Bethlehem football team needed some late heroics to win its first Liberty Division game.
Tailback Ben Zonca scored on a 5-yard touchdown run in the final minute to lift the Eagles (1-0 league, 3-0 overall) to a 20-19 victory over LaSalle Saturday, Sept. 20, at Union College.
Zonca rushed for 219 yards and scored all three of Bethlehem’s touchdowns as the Eagles kept their perfect record intact after rallying from a 19-7 halftime deficit.
“It says two things. I think it says we’re in good shape, which goes back to (offseason workouts) last spring and summer. They got in good shape,” Bethlehem coach Rick Leach said of his team’s comeback. “And it shows that we stuck to it.”
Bayley Haskin had a pair of 4-yard touchdown runs in the first half to help LaSalle (0-1, 0-3) build its 12-point lead at the break. But Zonca scored on a 26-yard sprint in the third quarter to trim the Cadets’ lead, and he added a key fourth-down conversion on Bethlehem’s winning drive late in the fourth quarter.
The game also marked the end of Bethlehem’s use of Union College as a “home” field. The Eagles played two times at Frank Bailey Field while their on-campus home in Bethlehem undergoes renovations this fall. Bethlehem’s final “home” game is Friday, Oct. 10, against Shaker at the University at Albany’s Bob Ford Field.
“We had a really nice crowd (for the LaSalle game), and Union did a very good job of making us feel at home,” said Leach.
However, the Eagles have one more trip to the “Electric City” ahead of them. They visit Schenectady Friday, Sept. 26, in another Liberty Division game. The Patriots (0-1, 2-1) are coming off a 41-0 loss to Shaker Sept. 19.
“I don’t think last week was indicative of who they are. I think they let that (Shaker) game get away from them,” said Leach.
In other Class AA action, Guilderland (0-1, 0-3) ran out of steam in a 34-14 Empire Division loss at Saratoga Springs Friday, Sept. 19.
Quarterback Andrew Sentz’s 3-yard touchdown run in the third quarter got the Dutchmen within six points of the Blue Streaks (1-0, 2-1). But an 18-yard scoring run by Luke Thompson and a 37-yard interception return by Jordan Buchas in the fourth quarter sealed Saratoga’s victory.
The Blue Streaks got most of their points from their defense and special teams. Besides Buchas’ “pick six,” Nick Anderson had an 81-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, and Zack Stacey picked up a Guilderland fumble and raced 16 yards for another score.
The Dutchmen face Albany (0-1, 0-3) Saturday, Sept. 27, at Bleecker Stadium.
In Class B, Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk (2-0, 3-0) kept rolling with a 35-6 victory at Lansingburgh Friday, Sept. 19.
Dave Warnken was a one-man wrecking crew for the Indians. On offense, the senior quarterback ran for one touchdown and threw for another. On defense, Warnken had a pair of interceptions, one of which he returned 45 yards for a RCS touchdown. He finished the night with 69 passing yards and 65 rushing yards.
Tailback Fred Pechette rushed for 105 yards and a pair of scores for the Indians, who host Hudson (1-1, 1-2) Friday, Sept. 26.
Associate editor/sports editor
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