Alden is the three-time defending Section VI Class B champions. The Bulldogs might not have looked the part for the last two weeks, but they sure did Friday night.
Alden, coming off back-to-back close-call wins that led to it dropping out of the No. 1 spot in The News small school poll, made a convincing case to return therewith a dominating 28-7 victory on the home turf of No. 1 Depew.
“We knew we were underdogs coming in,” said Alden senior quarterback Brian Stoldt. “It was a big game for us. I know not many people gave us a chance. We had some close games, and people doubted us, and that’s fine.”
This was Alden’s seventh straight victory over fellow small school power Depew. Those wins have come over the last six years and have included postseason matchups, and many of them have come with Alden ranked first and Depew second.
This week, Depew ascended to the poll’s top spot thanks to its 3-0 record, but also because Alden, which was ranked first for the first two weeks of the season, dropped to second after it needed a touchdown in the final minute to beat Hutch-Tech at home (29-22).
That game followed a similar comeback in its Week Two matchup, when Alden rallied with less than two minutes left to win at Eden (22-15).
On Friday, the teams traded touchdowns in the opening six minutes of the game, but from then on Alden’s defense stifled Depew’s talented playmakers while the Bulldog offense executed nearly flawlessly.
Alden (4-0, 3-0 Class B South) had the ball for 34 of the game’s 48 minutes, including nearly the entire fourth quarter, and both Stoldt and coach Rob Currin raved about the work of the Bulldogs’ offensive line.
“I couldn’t be more proud of our offensive line,” said Currin. “We thought that we needed to get some work done up front. We pushed a few buttons this week, and our boys responded well, and I think the product on the field showed it.”
Stoldt was 9 of 15 for 80 yards and a touchdown on an evening in which he made several outstanding throws, often changed plays at the line of scrimmage and decided to run for several key gains.
He also delivered a tremendous block after sophomore running back Lyle Grant cut back a run in the fourth quarter.
The 5-foot-6, 165-pound Grant, who also had five tackles and a sack on defense, ran for 130 yards on 21 carries with touchdowns of 4 and 3 yards. Five-foot-7, 160-pound senior Ryan Richards ran 17 times for 68 yards, including a 21-yard touchdown in the first quarter that put Alden up, 14-7. Grant’s 4-yarder made it 21-7 lead at halftime and his 3-yard run in the third made it 28-7.
Alden then ended the game with an emphatic statement drive. The Bulldogs turned Depew over on downs to get the ball with 11:54 left in the game, and it possessed it until there were 44.5 seconds left.
“Up front we won the game,” Stoldt said. “They knew we were running the ball there at the end, and I think we just wanted it more at the end.”
The lone score for Depew (3-1, 3-1 B South) came on a 44-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Dylan Sekuterski to senior Dan Golba in the first quarter to give Depew a 7-6 lead. The touchdown came 30 seconds after Stoldt hit senior Dylan Dussault (six tackles on defense) with a pretty, high pass in the corner of the end zone for a 5-yard score with 6:12 left in the first.