DOLGEVILLE — The Dolgeville Blue Devils stand alone atop OF Class D East following Saturday’s 38-6 win over Herkimer in a showdown of unbeaten and state-ranked opponents.
The Blue Devils shook off two first-quarter turnovers, the first of which resulted in a touchdown and an early lead for the Magicians. They scored twice in the second quarter and led 14-6 at halftime before dominating the second half and pulling away to the final margin.
“We always talk about the ball taking funny bounces, and we had a little bit of that in the first quarter,” Dolgeville coach Dan Zilkowski said. “We just could not sustain a drive.”
The Blue Devils turned the ball over three times in all, but their defense took it back from the Magicians on four occasions.
“We tried to play our style of football and we had a couple breakdowns here and there,” Herkimer coach Jason Alexander said. “You can’t do that against a good football team.”
An illegal block helped cut the seventh-ranked Blue Devils’ opening drive short, and another penalty got them on their next possession. A personal foul backed Dolgeville up, and the Blue Devils ran a short pass play on second down. Chase Doxtader picked up 10 yards on the play, and his progress had stopped when the ball popped loose into the hands of James Aiello. No whistle had blown to stop the play, and Aiello ran the ball back 40 yards for a Herkimer touchdown to start the scoring.
Two minutes later, the Blue Devils fumbled the ball away again, and a 31-yard pass from Aiello to Cameron Thompson set up the Magicians, ranked 20th, near midfield to start the second quarter.
Herkimer called three more passes to start the second quarter. Aiello completed the first and was sacked on the second before Aasin Claus intercepted the third. Claus, Dolgeville’s quarterback, and the Blue Devils drove 70 yards in 11 plays and tied the score on a 9-yard Nic Bailey touchdown run. Bailey also ran in the conversion and gave his team an 8-6 lead.
The Blue Devils got the ball back and drove 84 yards for another score before halftime. Claus completed a 26-yard pass to Zach Smith in the right corner of the end zone for the first of his three touchdown throws in the game.
A long return by Wyatt Renshaw on the ensuing kickoff and an 11-yard run by Marshall Borek gave Herkimer first down at the Dolgeville 17 in the final minute of the first half. The Magicians wound up fumbling the ball away with Bailey covering it at the 14.
The teams traded turnovers early in the second half before Devin Gorinshek took a screen pass from Claus 59 yards down the left sideline for a touchdown.
The Blue Devils added two touchdowns seven seconds apart in the fourth quarter. Claus’ 44-yard pass to tight end Dylan Lamphere went for one score, and lineman Dillon Lyon picked up a fumble and ran it back on the first play of Herkimer’s next possession.
Dolgeville, which had 776 yards and 11 touchdowns out of its running game in wins over Sherburne-Earlville and Mt. Markham to start the season, had 260 yards and one score Saturday. Bailey led the way with 113 yards on 19 carries while Gorinshek ran 13 times for 82 yards. Claus completed four of the six passes he threw; he also passed to Lamphere for a two-point conversion — for 139 yards, 40 more than the team’s total in the first two games.
Aiello was 6-for-11 for 100 yards for the Magicians. Joseph Rathbun had 44 of Herkimer’s 77 rushing yards.
Dolgeville (3-0, 2-0 D East) is the only team without a loss within the five-team league three weeks into the season. Last fall, the Blue Devils finished in a three-way tie for first place with West Canada Valley and Frankfort-Schuyler, two teams they have yet to play this season.
Herkimer (2-1, 1-1 D East) gets West Canada Valley (2-1, 1-1 D East) at home Friday while Dolgeville is home Saturday for a nonleague game against Waterville.