GUILDERLAND CENTER — As he stepped into the huddle to start the most important drive of his season, Guilderland senior quarterback Logan Broomhall knew the specter of two first-half fumbles that had stopped the Dutchmen from blowing open Friday night’s game against Shenendehowa was looming over him.
“Those mistakes were mine,” Broomhall said. “Football’s a game where you’ve got to learn from your mistakes and come back. I got a little down, but my guys out there, they really know how to surround me and bring me back up.
“That final drive, I could do the same for them.”
The Guilderland offense had been stagnant since the second quarter, but in a tie game early in the fourth quarter of Friday’s Class AA football semifinal, Broomhall led the charge.
He completed three key passes on the drive, including a 32-yard crossing route to Ethan Curtis that set the stage for Dillon Blanchard’s 20-yard field goal with 5:13 to play, which provided the deciding points in Guilderland’s 17-14 win to earn the Dutchmen a date in next week’s Class AA championship game.
“We didn’t think we were going to have a season this year,” Broomhall said. “Just to be out here, and the work that we put in, it really feels good.”
Broomhall accounted for 250 of Guilderland’s 254 yards of total offense. The senior signal caller completed 10 of 15 passes for 157 yards and added 93 yards and two touchdowns — on two very different quarterback sneaks — in the ground game.
On Guilderland’s go-ahead drive, the Dutchmen (4-1) found a rhythm that had disappeared since the team went up 14-0 early in the second quarter. From that point until the deciding possession, Guilderland turned the ball over three times and had a pair of three-and-out possessions.
With the chips down, Broomhall and the Guilderland offense moved downfield with a series of crossing patterns. The crucial 32-yard pass to Curtis converted a third-and-7, with a desperate tackle by Shenendehowa’s Dyvante Terrelonge preventing a touchdown.
“I thought I was going to score, but 20 [Terrelonge] tracked me down,” Curtis said. “Props to him.”
“That proved to be the winning adjustment right there,” Shenendehowa coach Brian Clawson said.
Broomhall ran for two first-half touchdowns, both on designed quarterback sneaks. The first was a bizarre 42-yarder where he popped out of the pile after converting on a third-and-1, the second a more traditional plunge for a yard out.
Shenendehowa (4-2), which fought its way out of the two-touchdown deficit with a surge after halftime sparked by turnovers and two Terrelonge touchdown runs, had two chances to take the lead in the fourth quarter that just eluded the Plainsmen.
With the game tied 14-14, Shenendehowa was backed into a fourth-and-10 from the Guilderland 33-yard line. The Plainsmen reached into their bag of tricks, dialing up a halfback pass from Terrelonge that Kyle Acker was unable to come down with in traffic in the end zone.
Guilderland followed with the drive to take the lead, and on Shenendehowa’s ensuing possession, Brody Vincenzi’s deep pass down the middle went just off Terrelonge’s outstretched fingers as the speedster had gotten behind the Guilderland defense. One play later, the Plainsmen turned the ball over on downs, Guilderland converted one first down and the Dutchmen ran out the clock.
“It’s really a devastating thing, especially for the seniors,” Clawson said. “They’ve been through so much, especially with the COVID, and they kept working on their own. They kept getting together on their own. They just wanted a season so bad. I feel awful that it ended that way for them.”
After Shenendehowa turned the game around with its running game in the third quarter, Guilderland coach Dan Penna saw a different side of his defense in the game’s final 12 minutes.
“They really decided that in the fourth quarter, they realized they were the ones missing tackles and playing flat-footed, and they needed to play better,” Penna said. “They rallied themselves.”
The win sets up a highly-anticipated championship showdown between Guilderland and Shaker. Guilderland knocked off Shaker in the Section II semifinals en route to the Dutchmen’s Class AA Super Bowl loss to Shenendehowa, and while the Blue Bison scored a 35-25 win over Shaker when the teams met in Week 2 of this “Fall II” season, Guilderland was the only team to score points against Shaker through the season’s first five weeks.
“We’ve got to get them,” Curtis said. “We’ve got [a chance at] payback now.”
0 0 14 0 — 14
7 7 0 3 — 17
G — Broomhall 42 run (Blanchard kick)
G — Broomhall 1 run (Blanchard kick)
S — Terrelonge 20 run (Morris kick)
S — Terrelonge 15 run (Morris kick)
G — Blanchard 20 field goal