Plainsmen building up steam

Shenendehowa hit Shaker with a steady stream of touchdowns and didn’t give up any in a Class AA cros

Shenendehowa hit Shaker with a steady stream of touchdowns and didn’t give up any in a Class AA crossover football game Friday night at Steuerwald Stadium.

That mix of productivity and defensive might has been a reoccurring theme for the Plainsmen through the first three weeks of the season.

Teddy Van Galen fired a scoring bomb to Alex DeRusso in the first quarter, Tony Fusco ran for touchdowns in each of the next three periods, and Shenendehowa notched its third straight shutout in a televised 34-0 victory.

“Our coaches give us great game plans, we’re practicing well, and we’re executing,” said Fusco, a senior running back who, with his three jaunts, pushed his touchdown total to eight. “We’re playing good football.”

Friday’s offensive effort gave the Plainsmen at least one touchdown in each of the 12 quarters they’ve played, while their defensive group set a school record with back-to-back-to-back blankings to begin a season. The Plainsmen shut down Bethlehem (50-0) and Guilderland (27-0) in Empire Division games before keeping the Liberty Div­ision leaders off the board.

“We knew we had two shutouts. Before the game we said, ‘Let’s get three in a row,’ ” said Shenendehowa linebacker and tight end Brandon Miller. “We were able to accomplish that, but the most important thing was to get a win.”

Shenendehowa all but wrapped up its sixth win in a row against Shaker (2-1) in the third quarter when Fusco ran 12 yards for a touchdown, and the Plainsmen halted the best scoring opportunity by the Blue Bison soon after.

“Shenendehowa isn’t making mistakes. They don’t miss tackles. They’ve got 11 guys playing well,” said Shaker coach Greg Sheeler, who team managed 184 passing and rushing yards, and only three first downs in the opening half. “We tried to find weak spots, and there weren’t any tonight.

“We played very well. We rallied well to the ball. We hit good,” said Shenendehowa coach Brent Steuerwald. “That’s a difficult offense [wing-T] to defend. There’s a lot of misdirection and a lot of pulls.”

Shaker (2-1) drove from its 26-yard line to the Shenendehowa six late in the third quarter, when, on third-and-goal, Miller and Aaron Ivanauskas combined to sack Chris Landers for a nine-yard loss. Landers then passed to Adrian Valentino for 12 yards, with Corey Acker making the stop to preserve the shutout streak for the state’s No. 12-ranked team.

“We’ve got speed,” said Miller, who was in on two sacks. “We flow to the ball well.”

Van Galen threw it well, and DeRusso hauled it in while racing down the left sideline, to create Shenendehowa’s first touchdown covering 73 yards. DeRusso — who missed the first two games with a knee injury — caught the ball at the 30 before scoring to complete a second-and-12 play.

“In 7-on-7 in the summer we always hooked up,” said Van Galen. “We want to continue to do it.”

Van Galen was an efficient 5-for-6 passing for 135 yards, while Shenendehowa’s runners churned out 246 yards, including 147 by Fusco on 20 attempts.

“We have three types of offense. We can do a variety of things,” said Van Galen. “If something’s not working, we find something else.”

“My whole objective is to make it as simplistic on my kids as I can, and make it as hard on my op­ponents to figure out as I can,” said Steuerwald.

Fusco ran 41 yards for a second-quarter touchdown, using a stiffarm just beyond the scrimmage line and a late juke move to gain the end zone.

“I was proud of the way we fought on defense, especially in the first half,” said Sheeler. “They made two big plays, but that was about it.”

Fusco followed up his third-quarter scoring run with a 43-yard touchdown dash in the fourth, and Marcelino Christie added a five-yard touchdown run.

Van Galen passed 26 yards to Derek Boland, 11 yards to Ryan McCart and 17 yards to Fusco before the standout 12th-grade running back delivered his third touchdown. Marcelino had runs of 30 and 16 yards before his TD.

Shenendehowa returns to Empire Division play Friday and hosts Albany in its homecoming game.

“It’s human nature to strive to be on top. The hard part is once you get there, it’s human nature to be self satisfied, and that’s when someone will surpass you,” said Steuerwald. “We don’t want to be satisfied.”

Shaker 0 0 0  0 —  0

Shenendehowa 7 6 7 14 — 34

Shen — DeRusso 73 pass from Van Galen (Vilardi kick).

Shen — Fusco 41 run (kick failed).

Shen — Fusco 12 run (Acker kick).

Shen — Fusco 43 run (Acker kick).

Shen — Marcelino 5 run (Acker kick).

Categories: High School Sports

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