A season of transition came to a close for the Bethlehem Christian Academy football team on Friday, Nov. 15.
The Knights (1-10) dropped a GISA Class AAA first-round playoff game to visiting Deerfield-Windsor 27-3 but the game was competitive throughout — something first-year coach Gus Felder noted after the contest.
“I liked the way we finished the season by fighting hard,” said Felder. “I can’t say enough about how much this team means to me. This is just a start for us. I can’t wait to see how far we go once we have a full offseason to work. We had a small taste of good things this season but there is so much more for us. It will take hard work and that goes for coaches and players.”
Deerfield-Windsor (6-5) advanced to the second round to face Valwood on Friday, Nov. 22. The Knights from Albany built a 20-0 halftime lead but were held to seven points in the second half.
Trailing 20-0, BCA converted a 24-yard field goal by senior Maggie Mauck with 7:30 remaining. The field goal capped an impressive drive for the home Knights, who held the football for 13 plays. The drive appeared to have stalled but Deerfield-Windsor fumbled a punt which was recovered by BCA’s Simon Steele.
With quarterback Ethan Guthas at the helm, the Knights then converted another fourth down on a reception by Eliel Saint-Louis. BCA had a first-and-goal at the 5-yard line before having to settle for three points.
Deerfield-Windsor sealed the win with a 35-yard touchdown run by Garrett Watson with 4:52 left.
In the first half, the visiting Knights got on the board with a 4-yard run by Gleaton Jones at the 8:10 mark of the first quarter. Deerfield-Windsor added a 4-yard touchdown run by Rob Leach and a 22-yard run by Jones for a 20-0 halftime advantage.
Late in the first half, BCA put together a quality drive starting at its own 34 and moving to the Deerfield-Windsor 30 before being unable to convert a fourth-and-1 with 17 seconds left before halftime.
For Felder’s team, there were signs of progress as the season went on. BCA became more competitive in games and that trend continued in the first round of the playoggs.
Guthas was effective on Friday spreading the football to several receivers including Zach Patterson, Ty Whiting, Conner Hilton, Jacob Adams and Saint-Louis. Chad Norwood handled the bulk of the rushing duties.
Avery Stevens had a solid kickoff return in the first half to allow his team to begin possession at its own 45-yard line.
“Football games are won from now until August,” Felder said. “We call this the work season because we are not going to be taking any time off. You can’t start working in July and be successful.”
D 6 14 0 7 — 27
B 0 0 0 0 — 3
D—Gleaton Jones 4 run (kick failed)
D—Rob Leach 4 run (Spears Wilson kick)
D—Jones 22 run (Wilson kick)
B—Maggie Mauck 24 FG
D—Garrett Watson 35 run (Wilson kick)