Just when Colonie thought it had Guilderland on the ropes, the Dutchmen slithered free.
Andrew Sentz kicked a 28-yard field goal as time expired to lift Guilderland past Colonie 38-35 in last Friday’s Section II Class AA football quarterfinal game.
The Garnet Raiders (4-4) rallied from a 16-point fourth-quarter deficit to tie the score at 35-35 before Sentz’s second game-winning field goal of the season propelled the Dutchmen (6-2) into Friday’s semifinal game against Empire Division champion Christian Brothers Academy (7-1).
“I felt pretty good about our chances if we got the game into overtime because of what we were able to do,” said Colonie coach Bill Roemer. “We had momentum. But they just made a couple of pass plays to set themselves up at the end.”
Guilderland stormed out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter. Micaiah Henningham capped Guilderland’s first series with a 1-yard touchdown run, and quarterback Frank Gallo connected with Jake Smith on a on a 22-yard scoring pass.
“Guilderland outplayed us early, and I think that was the difference in the game,” said Roemer.
A special teams play helped Colonie get on the scoreboard in the second quarter. Chris West picked up a blocked field goal attempt and raced 65 yards for the Garnet Raiders’ first touchdown of the evening. Colonie failed on its two-point conversion run, leaving Guilderland with a 14-6 lead.
The Dutchmen didn’t leave anything to chance on their next offensive series. They marched down the field, and Gallo finished it with a 10-yard touchdown strike to Smith. Sentz added the extra point to put Guilderland ahead 21-6.
Colonie went to its bag of tricks to get back in the contest. Tailback Kevon Johnson heaved a deep pass to West, who grabbed it and raced the rest of the way for a 64-yard touchdown. T.J. Szesnat’s extra point kick made it 21-13 at halftime.
“We’ve run that play probably three or four times this season, with (injured tailback) Devon Edwards throwing it to Kevon,” said Roemer. “Obviously with Devon out, Kevon was the one throwing it this time.”
Colonie tailback Wayne Burt scored on a 27-yard run in the third quarter to cut Guilderland’s lead to 21-19, but the Garnet Raiders missed another two-point conversion. That nearly derailed Colonie’s comeback hopes, as Guilderland scored the next two touchdowns to build a 35-19 lead in the fourth quarter.
The Garnet Raiders rallied once more, though. Quarterback Will McCann threw a 5-yard scoring strike to Sean Ryan and added a two-point conversion pass to West to trim Guilderland’s lead to 35-27. Later in the fourth quarter, a long pass from Johnson to West set up a 5-yard touchdown run by Burt. Johnson added a two-point conversion pass to Ryan to tie the score at 35-35.
“We obviously dug ourselves a hole early on just like last week against Shaker (in a 49-6 loss), but the guys responded and turned it around,” said Roemer.
Guilderland got the ball back with 1:44 left in the game and drove to Colonie’s 11-yard line. Sentz then booted the winning field goal to send the Dutchmen into the semifinals against CBA, which defeated Columbia 49-6 last Friday.
Colonie has one game left on its schedule – a crossover contest Friday at Bethlehem (3-5).