GLENS FALLS — After jumping out to a 28-0 third-quarter lead Saturday night, the Glens Falls Greenjackets seemed ready to cruise to a big win.
Then the wheels nearly came off for the Jackets, who had to hang on for a 34-20 Empire Football League victory over the Seaway Valley Venom at East Field.
The win means the Jackets (4-3) will host the Venom — the only other team in the league — on Oct. 7 for the EFL title.
As the second half devolved into a series of jawing, shoving and unsportsmanlike penalties, the Jackets were suddenly in disarray— and Seaway Valley began catching up.
The Venom scored three touchdowns — Coty Page accounted for all three — to pull within 28-20 early in the fourth quarter and were driving for a fourth. However, Brendon St. John’s end-zone interception ended the threat with 4:19 left.
The Jackets’ Tony DeLoatch rumbled 27 yards for a game-sealing touchdown with 1:45 to play. After multiple penalties and the ejection of a Venom player, officials called the game at that point.
DeLoatch finished with 154 yards and two touchdowns on nine carries. Brian Furbert threw scoring passes to Jeff Dorvee and Tyler Brown, and Bryan Ricketts recovered a fumbled punt in the end zone for another.
Jackets head coach Raymond Swann was not pleased with his team’s play — or its actions — in the second half.
“You can’t let the moment overtake the focus,” Swann said. “There was too much talking, not enough flying around making plays. We’ll get back to the lab next week and figure things out.”
Jackets 34, Venom 20
Seaway Valley 0 0 14 6 — 20
Glens Falls (4-3) 14 7 7 6 — 34
GF — Dorvee 5 pass from Furbert (Meluziis kick)
GF — T. DeLoatch 36 run (Meluziis kick)
GF — Ricketts fumble recovery in end zone (Meluziis kick)
GF — Brown 76 pass from Furbert (Meluziis kick)
SV — Page fumble recovery in end zone (run failed)
SV — Huey 5 pass from Page (Givens pass from Page)
SV — Page 44 run (pass failed)
GF — T. DeLoatch 27 run (pass failed)
Follow Pete Tobey on Twitter @PTobeyPSVarsity and check out his blogs on poststar.com.