DOLGEVILLE - Coming off their first loss of the season, the Dolgeville football team looked to bounce back Saturday at Bill Bynon Field.
The Blue Devils did just that, rebounding from last week's 13-0 loss to Sauquoit Valley with a 29-8 win over New York Mills.
"Our heads are never down. We just keep going," Dolgeville coach Chris Connolly said. "A team with less character would have a legitimate shot at being 1-5 at the point. However, this group's character has been huge for us all year and we've won five of six games so far."
Dolgeville’s Kasey Foster (29) avoids the tackle attempt by New York Mills’ Anthony Casaletta (26) during Saturday’s Section III Class D East Division game at Bill Bynon Field in Dolgeville. (The Leader-Herald/Paul Wager)
Dolgeville's win sets up a showdown for the Section III Class D East title Friday as the Blue Devils will face unbeaten West Canada Valley.
"We're heading into the final week of the regular season playing for a league title. You can't ask for anything more than that," Connolly said.
West Canada Valley (6-0 overall, 4-0 Class D East) defeated Beaver River, 41-13 on Saturday.
The Blue Devils were challenged by the winless Marauders on Saturday, leading 14-8 after three quarters before pulling away in the fourth quarter.
"The field conditions threw us off a little bit today. It was sloppy out there, but it was sloppy for both teams," Connolly said. "We made a couple of key mistakes and had some penalties go against us."
Jason Nastovski led the Blue Devils' offense, scoring two touchdowns and grinding out 101 yards on 26 carries on a muddy, sloppy field. Dolgeville gained 230 of their 274 total yards on the grounds against the Marauders.
Quarterback Reid Johnson was 3-for-9 for 44 yards, a touchdown and an interception for the Blue Devils. Johann Doerrer had all three catches for Dolgeville for 44 yards and a touchdown.
The Blue Devils' defense played well, allowing just 106 total yards, while limiting New York Mills to minus-14 yards rushing.
New York Mills quarterback Zach Griffith was 9-for-24 for 120 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. Paul West had three catches for 54 yards, while Cody Mariotti had four catches for 39 yards and a score.
Nastovski opened the scoring for Dolgeville in the first quarter with an 8-yard touchdown run. The kick failed, leaving the Blue Devils with a 6-0 lead after one quarter.
In the second quarter, Dolgeville scored in the final minute of the half to take a 14-0 lead into the break.
Doerrer hauled in a 26-yard touchdown pass from Johnson and Nastovski scored on a two-point conversion run.
After the break, New York Mills used the pass to cut into the Blue Devils' lead.
The Marauders capped a five-play, 51-yard drive with an 11-yard touchdown pass from Griffith to Mariotti. Griffith found West with the conversion pass to make it 14-8 with 5:08 left in the third quarter.
Dolgeville answered with an 11-play, 50-yard drive that featured 11 straight runs, ending with a 4-yard touchdown run by Nastovski on the first play of the fourth quarter.
Nastovski also added the conversion run to make it 22-8 with 11:55 remaining in the game.
The Blue Devils sealed the win when Andrew Drumm picked off a Griffith pass and returned it to the New York Mills' 33-yard-line.
Seven runs and 3:06 later, Foster scored the final touchdown of the game for the Blue Devils. Tyler Richards added the extra point to make it 29-8 with 2:09 to play.
The Dolgeville defense helped force three incomplete passes by Griffith on the Marauders' final drive, getting the ball back for the offense on downs with 1:02 to play.
After Johnson kneeled twice to end the game, Dolgeville (5-1 overall, 4-1 Class D East) now turns its attention to its rivals from West Canada Valley.
"We can't make the mistakes we made today next week," Connolly said.
New York Mills (0-6 overall, 0-4 Class D East) will travel to Mohawk on Friday for a 7 p.m. contest.
Dolgeville 29, New York Mills 8
New York Mills0 0 8 0 - 8
Dolgeville6 8 0 15 - 29
D - Nastovski 8 run (kick failed)
D - Doerrer 26 pass from Johnson (Nastovski run)
NYM - Mariotti 12 pass from Griffith (West pass from Griffith)
D - Nastovski 4 run (Nastovski)
D - Foster 2 run (Richards kick)