PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. -- The Pleasantville Panthers football team keeps making history.
The Panthers knocked off New Paltz on Saturday 56-20 to advance to the state semifinals, where they will meet Glen Falls at Dietz Field in Kingston on Nov. 19 at 3 p.m.. It is the farthest the program, which is 10-0 this season, has advanced in its history.
Pleasantville was able to score on its first drive of the game, but then New Paltz answered back immediately with a 61-yard run on its first play of the game.
"It was a little bit of an eyeopener," Pleasantville Athletic Director John Bauerlein said.
Things didn't get better. Following a Panthers punt, New Paltz scored on their second play of the game to make it 13-7.
"It looked like we were headed for a shootout," Bauerlein said.
Pleasantville responded and after two scores, took a 22-13 lead. New Paltz had another quick score, running back a kickoff return to make it 22-20 at the halftime.
The Panthers set the tone to start the second half when Ian Esliker got a sack fumble and Pleasantville found themselves up 29-20 and dominated the rest of the half.
"We're a deep team," Bauerlein said. "New Paltz had a lot of kids that play both offense and defense. When you have that situation, you get tired. We were able to wear them down. Our defense tightened up. It was a good team win."
Charlie McPhee was named MVP, while Ryan Drillock was named defensive MVP. Bauerlein also singled out Esliker, Declan McDermott and quarterback Jack Howe for their play.
The Panthers run has brought the community together, Bauerlein said. He was pleased with how many people made the trip to Kingston.
"We've had good crowds," Bauerlein said. "It has brought a lot of our attention to our program. The coaching staff and our kids have worked hard."
Pleasantville has had success in football across the board this year. The modified team was undefeated and the junior varsity team has gone 7-1.
"Pleasantville has always been a football community," Bauerlein said. "We have a great feeder program with Dad's Club and flag football. Most schools our size don't have a junior varsity team."
Bauerlein said the team is lucky to have a great staff, led by Coach Tony Becerra with Assistants Pete Christie, George LaMar and Brian Maceyak. To prepare for the game, the team has been practicing at Pace.
The players are also as good as they are off the field as they are on the field, Bauerlein said.
"They've shown good sportsmanship," Bauerlein said. "The coaching staff has made it so there's a family type of feeling. We all look out for each other. The players are unselfish. They want the guy lining up next to them to succeed."
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