Plainsmen put on a Super show (with photo gallery)

The Shenendehowa football team presented its retiring head coach with a wonderful going-away gift Fr

The Shenendehowa football team presented its retiring head coach with a wonderful going-away gift Friday night.

Tony Fusco scored four of his five touchdowns in a first-half point barrage, and the homestanding Plainsmen gave up only a meaningless touchdown in a 49-6 Section II Class AA championship game win over outmatched Columbia.

“He wouldn’t be the kind of person to say, ‘You’ve got to win for me,’ ” Fusco said of Brent Steuerwald, who announced in August that this would be his 44th and final season directing the Plainsmen. “We wanted to do our best for him.”

Shenendehowa’s 11th Super Bowl victory under Steuerwald was dec­ided rather quickly, with his team scoring on all five of its first-half possessions, and again early in the third quarter before the Blue Devils’ only response.

Shenendehowa (10-0) was on the losing end of a 38-0 blowout in this game last year against Troy, and also bowed in the 2004 large-school final against Saratoga Springs. Shenendehowa won its ninth and 10th sectional banners the two years before that.

“They went from being a good team to being a great team to being an exceptional team. The kids have been just super. They have been very committed,” Steuerwald said of his eighth squad to reach double-digit wins. “This puts this group in an elite crowd, with the 10 other championship teams we’ve had.”

Following his final home game and 317th career victory, Steuerwald was carried off the field that bears his name by the celebrating Plainsmen.

“We talked about doing that during the week,” said Fusco. “We talked about how nice it would be to carry him off in his last game here. To be able to do that, it’s a great feeling.”

“It’s an honor to play for coach Steuerwald,” said Shenendehowa quarterback Teddy Van Galen. “To win his last game at home is great for him, and great for the whole team.”

The team will be traveling to Dietz Stadium in Kingston to take on either North Rockland or John Jay-East Fishkill of Section I a week from tonight in a state regional contest.

“We’ve got a chance to take it to the [Syracuse University’s Carrier] Dome,” Steuerwald said. “They’re not going to back off at all.”

Fusco ran the ball 17 times for 188 yards, and punched in four straight touchdowns for the Plainsmen after Van Galen began the scoring spree with a 16-yard pass to Cole Lampman. Fusco gained the end zone from six, three, 10 and one yard out, that last effort and Corey Acker’s extra point making it 35-0 at the half.

“Without them, I couldn’t do what I do,” Fusco, a senior, said of his linemen. “Each week, they come through for me and the rest of the team.”

Shenendehowa piled up 417 rushing yards, most of them coming after blocks from Kevin Makarewicz, Aaron Vassar, Jimmy Eberle, Mark Thomas, Aaron Ivanauskas and Brandon Miller, while Van Galen was an efficient 5-for-6 passing for 47 yards.

“Everything worked,” said Van Galen. “If we weren’t passing, we were running, and we kept scoring throughout the game.”

Acker helped set up Shenendehowa’s second and third touchdowns with runs of 62 and 26 yards, bolted 11 yards for a first down on a fake punt that led to a third-quarter score, booted seven extra points and intercepted a pass as part of a superb team performance on defense.

Star Columbia junior Chris Smith managed only 16 rushing yards on 10 carries, and scored his team’s touchdown on a five-yard run late in the third quarter. Smith caught passes of 14 and 36 yards from John Stanley before extending his school touchdown record to 23.

“I didn’t know how well we’d be able to contain Smith,” said Steuerwald. “We played real good defense, and our offense put points on the board.”

Marcelino Christie scored on a one-yard run and Fusco scored on a 30-yarder in the third quarter. Fusco only carried the ball twice in the second half, going 16 yards after Acker’s fake punt and run, and then sprinting for his school-record 30th touchdown.

“I feel terrific. I’m very proud of these kids,” Steuerwald said. “These kids have made my walk into the sunset a lot more pleasurable.”

Columbia’s longest play was a

37-yard reception by Jacob Fass on its second drive of the game. Stanley later ran for 15 yards to push the ball to the Plainsmen 23, but that series ended on back-to-back incomplete passes from the 20.

Columbia (8-2) saw its eight-game win streak halted in its second Super Bowl appearance. Its first came in 1983 when the Blue Devils lost to Bishop Maginn.

Columbia  0  0  6 0 —  6

Shenendehowa 14 21 14 0 — 49

S — Lampman 16 pass from Van Galen (Acker kick).

S — Fusco 6 run (Acker kick).

S — Fusco 3 run (Acker kick).

S — Fusco 10 run (Acker kick).

S — Fusco 1 run (Acker kick).

S — Christie 1 run (Acker kick).

C — Smith 5 run (kick failed).

S — Fusco 30 run (Acker kick).

Categories: High School Sports

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