Strong second half lifts Saratoga to quarterfinal win

Saratoga and Bethlehem during Friday's game. Photo: Aidan Joly/UC Sports

SARATOGA SPRINGS– After a shaky first half, the Blue Streaks came out in a big way in the second to put Bethlehem away en route to a sectional quarterfinal win on Friday at Saratoga Springs High School, 34-13.

Saratoga jumped out to a quick 14-0 lead. Bethlehem struck back as they scored on a touchdown from QB David Malvanto to Leo Siy from 17 yards away to put the Eagles on the board. Kicker Cameron Scoons made a field goal to make it 14-10 in the final seconds of the first half, sending the game to the locker rooms with that score.

Saratoga got the ball back with 9:21 to play in the third quarter and made the possession count. It took the Blue Streaks eight plays to advance 83 yards and reach the end zone, a one-yard rush touchdown from junior Nick Frank to make it 20-10. It was Frank’s second time scoring Friday, as he scored the team’s previous touchdown in the second quarter.

Scoons made a second field goal to make it 20-13 late in the third quarter, putting the Eagles within one score of Saratoga.

Early on in the fourth quarter, Saratoga had the ball at the goal line and were ready to score. The Blue Streaks fumbled the ball at the one-yard line, giving Bethlehem the ball and a chance to tie the game. Bethlehem was forced to punt after three plays and Saratoga scored on the ensuing possession to make it 27-13.

Bethlehem, however, did not bow down. They marched up the field in a hurry and reached Saratoga’s eight. After four passing plays that went for a combined 66 yards, Saratoga forced four straight incomplete passes, forcing a turnover on downs.

“We came up big when we had to, certainly there at the end, holding them to a couple of field goals,” Saratoga head coach Terry Jones said. “It was a tough game, which is good. You want that. You want these kids to be tested to see how they respond, and I think they responded outstanding.”

Saratoga put the nail in the coffin in the final minutes as Carter Steingraber rushed into the end zone from 44 yards away to make the contest 34-13, the final score of the game.

Saratoga QB Wes Eglintine was a key part of the win, running more often for the first time in weeks due to injury. He ran for 141 yards and two touchdowns as well as passing for another 80 yards.

“It felt great to be back there running. I’m a running quarterback, I can run, and I knew they couldn’t stop me so it felt good to get some good yardage tonight,” Eglintine said.

Saratoga moves on to the sectional semifinals, playing Shaker at home. That game will be on Friday, October 27, with a start time of 7 p.m.

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