MIDDLETOWN - There's only so much a team can learn without seeing its opponent live. That didn't mean Dobbs Ferry expected less from Schuylerville after studying game film, but true ability of the Section 2 champ revealed itself almost immediately on Saturday.
"They were really well-coached and played really well up front," Dobbs Ferry senior lineman Jose-Luis Regalado said. "They'll make you pay for any little mistake and we paid today. We paid."
The Eagles allowed two touchdowns on Schuylerville's first four plays from scrimmage and never threatened in a 52-14 Class C state semifinal loss at Middletown High School.
Dobbs Ferry's defense never forced a punt, surrendering 495 yards and seven touchdowns.
"We knew we were going to come up against a good team. We knew what was coming," said Robert Sanzo, a senior running back and defensive back. "They just came out fast and came out more physical than us."
That physicality was evident almost immediately. The lead had climbed to 22-0 by the end of the first quarter and 38-7 by halftime.
Falling behind so quickly forced Dobbs Ferry to the air, negating fullback Brian Dann, who had rushed for 505 yards and nine touchdowns in the last two games alone.
Dann was limited to just seven carries for 19 yards Saturday.
"We always just kind of flow with where we think the game is going," Eagles coach Joe Cox said. "We felt like they had game-planned and were paying attention to what was happening tackle to tackle. We thought we could make more of living on the edge. We had some success on the edge, but obviously not with enough consistency."
With the way the game unfolded, it was pretty clear that Dobbs Ferry needed to play a flawless game and catch a few breaks along the way to complete. Instead, the Eagles committed a costly mistake on their opening drive.
They had a first-down run erased on the opening drive by a holding penalty, then were pushed inside their 5 after a loss and sack. Instead of building positive momentum, Dobbs Ferry had Dann's punt from the end zone tipped and gave the ball to the Black Horses at the 30. They scored in two plays and didn't stop the rest of the half.
"We're not geared for first and 25, first and 20," Cox said. "The penalties hurt and I think one mistake led to another and another. We tired to slow the momentum down in the first half, but they were obviously the better team today."
Player of the game
Schuylerville offensive line. As dynamic as quarterback Owen Sherman and running backs Luke Sherman and Ryan Dow were Saturday, the Blacks Horses dominated the line of scrimmage. The offense needed just 25 plays in the first half to pile up 299 yards and five touchdowns.
By the numbers
Schuylerville (13-0) — Ryan Dow scored two touchdowns (15 and 36 yards) in his team's first four plays from scrimmage. Luke Sherman added three rushing touchdowns while Owen Sherman, the team's quarterback, went 4 for 4 for 69 yards and a touchdown. ... The Black Horses rushed for 426 yards as a team.
Dobbs Ferry (11-1) — The Eagles had 382 yards of offense and were led by Javonni Williams, who went 9 of 15 for 196 yards, including an 81-yard touchdowns to Jhonatan Almaras. Sanzo finished with 17 carries for 123 yards, including a late 69-yard touchdown run. He also caught four passes for 80 yards.
While Dobbs Ferry's season came to a close, Schuylerville will meet the winningest program in state tournament history, Section 4's Chenango Forks, at 6 p.m. Friday for the state title.
This article originally appeared on Rockland/Westchester Journal News: Dobbs Ferry football lost state semifinal game to Schuylerville