COLONIE Friday's Guilderland-Christian Brothers Academy football game wasn't a carbon copy of their regular season meeting three weeks ago, but the theme was similar.
CBA (8-1) jumped out to an early lead and made several key defensive plays to defeat Guilderland (6-3) 28-7 in the Section II Class AA semifinals.
The Brothers advance to next Friday's Class AA final at the University at Albany's Bob Ford Field against reigning Sectional champion Shaker, which shut out Saratoga 35-0 in the other semifinal contest.
"They're the defending champs, so they certainly have our respect," CBA coach Joe Burke said of Shaker.
Guilderland fared better than it did when it lost to CBA 40-6 in their Empire Division meeting Oct. 11. The Dutchmen had several big plays on offense, as well as a key fumble recovery, but they couldn't capitalize thanks to the Brothers' defense.
"They beat us twice. They're just a better team," said Guilderland coach Dan Penna.
CBA's ground game pounded Guilderland's defense for the second time this season. Tailback Elliot Croskey rushed for 141 yards and two touchdowns, while Nick Marini and Max Anthony combined for another 152 yards and two scores.
"Our kids are pretty strong runners," said Burke. "Nick and Elliot -- and now Max -- gives us a different look on offense."
Marini set up CBA's first touchdown with a 23-yard run to Guilderland's 9-yard line. Two plays and a penalty later, Anthony scored on a 14-yard run to put the Brothers ahead 7-0 with 2:03 left in the first quarter.
After Guilderland's ensuing offensive series went backwards from its 20-yard line to its 9-yard line, a short punt gave CBA the ball at the Dutchmen's 33-yard line. Marini came close to scoring on the next play from scrimmage, as he broke several tackles before being forced out of bounds at the 3-yard line. Croskey essentially finished what Marini started when he scored on a 4-yard run on the second play of the second quarter. Matt Hamel's extra point made it 14-0.