Super finish for Plainsmen

Ryan Van Galen thought he had thrown Shenendehowa’s Super Bowl hopes away. “After that pick, I thoug
The Shenendehowa Plainsmen celebrate their Superbowl win over CBA at Bob Ford Field at UAlbany Friday, November 7, 2014.
The Shenendehowa Plainsmen celebrate their Superbowl win over CBA at Bob Ford Field at UAlbany Friday, November 7, 2014.

Ryan Van Galen thought he had thrown Shenendehowa’s Super Bowl hopes away.

“After that pick, I thought the game was over,” said the Plainsmen’s senior quarterback. “The guys rallied around me. Our defense stopped them, and we got the ball again.”

Matt Taft ran four yards for a touchdown with 1:42 left after Van Galen and Jordan Zlogar marched the Plainsmen down the field, and Shenendehowa claimed its 12th Section II championship with a 25-20 Class AA win over Christian Brothers Academy Friday night at the University at Albany’s Bob Ford Field.

“We’ve got a little mantra we go by — next play,” said Shenendehowa coach Brian Clawson. “Whatever happens, we’ve got to move on.”

Taft ran for two touchdowns, and Van Galen scored on a sneak to go with a touchdown pass to Brendan Marra that began Shenendehowa’s comeback from a 20-13 deficit.

“This means everything,” said Clawson, after his team, ranked No. 4 in the state, knocked off CBA for the second time. “I couldn’t be prouder of these 46 players.”

Zlogar had a huge game for Shenendehowa (10-0) with two interceptions and 10 catches for 149 yards. The senior had four grabs covering 62 yards during Shenendehowa’s final seven-play, 71-yard drive.

“He found a way to get open and Ryan found him with the ball,” said Clawson. “Jordan had an outstanding game on both sides of the ball.”

Don Vivian scored on a run and a reception and picked off a pass for the Brothers (8-2), who were looking to become Section II’s first repeat Class AA champion since LaSalle in 2007-08. The Brothers edged Shaker, 13-8, for the area crown last year, their first since 2006.

“I told the kids this game is like life. It doesn’t always go how you planned, no matter how focused you are or how much work you put into it,” said CBA coach Joe Burke. “Now, it’s about how they bounce back.”

Shenendehowa bounced back in a big way after Van Galen, on a third-and-four from the CBA 12, rolled out to his right and had his pass intercepted by Vivian with 5:39 to go in the fourth quarter. Vivian’s return took the ball out to the 20, and the Plainsmen forced a three-and-out.

“We needed to get a few first downs,” said Burke. “We needed to get things together and that didn’t happen for us.”

“That was the stop we needed, and we got it,” said Clawson.

Shenendehowa’s game-winning drive included catches of 13 and 36 yards by Zlogar, that second reception taking the ball to the four just before Taft burst up the middle.

“Their quarterback made some great throws, and their receivers made some great catches to keep them moving,” said Burke.

CBA’s final opportunity ended on a third-and-seven from its 36 when a high snap sailed over Joe Kolbe’s head and a mass of players scrambled for the ball. Mike Gilooley emerged from the pile with the ball, sealing Shenendehowa’s second title in four years and first under Clawson.

Shenendehowa reached the Super Bowl in 2012, Clawson’s first year, and lost to Shaker. Shaker also bounced Shenendehowa in last year’s quarterfinal round.

“This shows we have heart. We just executed,” said Zlogar. “CBA is a great team, but we got it done.”

Van Galen was 18-for-30 for 298 yards with two interceptions and his Section II-leading 20th touchdown pass to Marra.

Van Galen hit Gilooley for 28 yards just before Marra scored on a 51-yard play on the last snap of the third quarter, the senior zig-zagging through the CBA defense before reaching the end zone. CBA still led, 20-19, after Tom Ciurczak missed the extra point.

Zlogar’s first interception led to Taft’s first touchdown, that coming on an eight-yard run in the second quarter. Taft, who ran 23 times for 93 yards, dragged CBA’s Pat Pastore for the final three yards.

Two plays into CBA’s ensuing drive, Ben Anthony broke off a 55-yard touchdown run, and the Brothers added on in the third frame when Vivian hauled in a 39-yard scoring pass from Kolbe. That touchdown was set up on an interception by Austin Ellis.

Van Galen scored on a two-yard sneak later in the third, and Vivian answered on a five-yard touchdown run, shortly after Jaylen McIntyre’s 31-yard scamper. Matt Hamel, who missed a pair of field-goal attempts, booted the extra point for a 20-13 CBA advantage.

Anthony ran for 92 yards on nine carries, and McIntyre ran for 82 yards on 12 attempts. Kolbe was 4-for-7 for 97 yards with his two interceptions and down-the-middle TD pass to Vivian.

Shenendehowa will play the Section I champion next Friday at 7 at Dietz Stadium in a state quarterfinal game. John Jay-East Fishkill and Arlington will decide the Section I title today.

“All of the work. Everything we’ve done. It all paid off,” said Zlogar.

CBA 0 7 13 0 — 20

Shenendehowa 0 7 12 6 — 25

S — Taft 8 run (Ciurczak kick).

C — Anthony 55 run (Hamel kick).

C — Vivian 39 pass from Kolbe (kick failed).

S — Van Galen 2 run (kick failed).

C — Vivian 5 run (Hamel kick).

S — Marra 51 pass from Van Galen (kick failed).

S — Taft 4 run (pass failed).

Categories: High School Sports

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