Plainsmen have an answer, 37-20 (with photo gallery)

Shenendehowa’s shutout streak ended less than two minutes into Friday night’s Class AA Empire Divisi
Shen’s Tony Fusco (25) against Ballston Spa defense during a football game at Ballston Spa on Friday, September 30, 2011.
Shen’s Tony Fusco (25) against Ballston Spa defense during a football game at Ballston Spa on Friday, September 30, 2011.

Shenendehowa’s shutout streak ended less than two minutes into Friday night’s Class AA Empire Division showdown at Ballston Spa.

The Plainsmen answered with fury on both sides of the ball to kept two streaks alive, though, none more important than their winning streak.

Tony Fusco ran for two touchdowns, and Chris Stewart’s interception and big return set up one of three scoring passes by Teddy Van Galen in a 37-20 victory for the state’s No-9 ranked team.

“I didn’t want to have a team score and see us have a letdown,” said coach Brent Steuerwald, whose Plainsmen pitched a school-record four straight shutouts before the Scotties broke through. “I thought we responded very well.”

Jordan Davis ran for 176 yards and scored three touchdown for the Scotties, his first coming on a 19-yard run 1:49 into the matchup of unbeatens.

“With them scoring that early, that got our gears going,” said Stewart.

Behind Fusco and Van Galen, Shenendehowa rattled off 34 unanswered points after Davis’ init­ial thrust into the end zone, and Corey Acker added a fourth-quarter field goal for the Plainsmen (4-0, 5-0). His 32-yard boot allowed the Plainsmen to score in each of the 20 quarters they’ve played.

“We were fired up after that,” Van Galen said of Davis’ early touchdown, which he set up with a 62-yard kickoff return. “We didn’t want them to score, but it happened. We knew it would come sooner or later, and we went to work and won the game.”

Stewart played a key role in helping Shenendehowa do so when the 6-foot, 235-pound two-way tackle intercepted Ballston Spa quarterback John DeGuardi and rambled 44 yards to the Scotties’ one. Van Galen hit Alex DeRusso with a touchdown pass on Shenendehowa’s next play, and Acker’s extra point made it 27-7 with 56 seconds left in the second quarter.

“I knew it was a screen pass. I covered their running back, and the quarterback didn’t see me. I put my hand up and tipped it, and I was off to the races,” said Stewart, a junior. “I’ve been playing since I was 5, and I’ve never had that experience before. It felt great.”

“That was a big one. The play was there if we get more air under it,” said Ballston Spa coach John Bowen. “You cannot put yourself behind the eight-ball like that.”

Stewart bobbled the middle screen pass before securing the ball for the game’s only turnover.

“I think that was a big turning point, getting the touchdown before the half,” said Stewart.

“Not only did he make the pick, he made a great effort on the return,” said Steuerwald. “For a lineman, that’s always a special thing to happen.”

Shenendehowa made things happen before that, with Fusco’s one-yard touchdown run in the first quarter and Van Galen’s five-yard scoring toss to Brandon Miller in the second pushing the visitors ahead. Fusco added a two-yard touchdown run later in the second period, and Van Galen extended the lead to 34-7 in the third with an 11-yard scoring pass to Derek Boland.

“Our offense did a good job,” said Steuerwald. “We mixed the pass and run very well.”

Fusco went over 100 yards rushing for the fourth time with 128, and Van Galen was 11-for-14 passing for 165 yards with his career-high three touchdown strikes. Van Galen hit Miller for 37 yards to set up Boland’s touchdown, and hit Ryan McCart for 58, which led to Acker’s field goal.

“We worked on a our passing game a lot in the summer,” said Van Galen, a senior. “We knew we wanted to incorporate that into our offense to make us more dfficult team to defend.”

Davis ran 66 yards to a touchdown on the first play after Bol­and’s score, and went 17 yards for another touchdown late in the final quarter.

“Ballston Spa made us nervous. They’re a threat,” said Steuerwald. “They can break big plays. They did at the end.”

Davis’ 62-yard kickoff return to begin the game put the ball at the Shenendehowa 29. Derek Kolberg ran for four yards, DeGuardi ran for five and Davis was halted two inches shy of a first down before scoring on the next play, on a right pitch.

“It was a major shot in the arm,” said Bowen. “That gave us believe that we can do this. It was very positive way to start.”

Shenendehowa answered again and again to beat Ballston Spa

(3-1, 4-1) for the third straight time, however, and set the stage for next Saturday’s home game against Christian Brothers Academy (4-0, 5-0). It will be the final reg­ular- season home game for the retiring Steuerwald, Section II’s all-time leader in wins with 312.

Shenendehowa 7 20 7 3 — 37

Ballston Spa 7  0 7 6 — 20

BS — Davis 19 run (Borgolini kick).

Shen — Fusco 1 run (Acker kick).

Shen — Miller 5 pas from Van Galen (Acker kick).

Shen — Fusco 2 run (kick failed).

Shen — DeRusso 1 pass from Van Galen (Acker kick).

Shen — Boland 11 pass from Van Galen (Acker kick).

BS — Davis 66 run (Borgolini kick).

Shen — Acker 32 FG.

BS — Davis 17 run (run failed).

Categories: High School Sports

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