Football: Plainsmen ready to write next chapter

Shenendehowa football coach Brian Clawson gave his Section II championship team a rare Sunday off. T

Shenendehowa football coach Brian Clawson gave his Section II championship team a rare Sunday off. Their Sunday was Monday, with a look at film, some lifting and even a visit from former coach Brent Steuerwald, who had several Plainsmen teams in this same spot.

“Coaches have a 24-hour rule — can’t rest on your laurels. We went right at it and gave the guys that extra day to soak it all in,” said Clawson. “For the players, after Monday, we buried the hatchet, and we had a good week getting ready for our next opponent. We know they’re a good one.”

Shenendehowa (10-0) played a really good one to get to tonight’s Class AA regional with John Jay-East Fishkill (Section I, 9-1). Shenendehowa led first, lost the lead, turned the ball over late and rallied down the stretch to upend Christian Brothers Academy, 25-20, for the school’s 12th title, its first since 2011, and first with Clawson.

Hard stuff to come down from.

“The guys have done a good job of refocusing on their goal, which is to win this game, this week,” said Clawson. “They’ve been good with the one-game -at-a-time. Last week was great, and it’s something they’ll have forever, but I’m confident the kids will be ready for the next chapter.

“They had high expectations coming into the season.”

John Jay will provide Shenendehowa with a challenge tonight at 7 at Dietz Stadium in Kingston, being a first-time state tournament player and somewhat of an unknown.

“Big and physical football team. With the ball, after seeing them against Arlington, they seemed like a running team. Against Mamaroneck, they passed the ball pretty well,” said Clawson.

John Jay beat Arlington, 13-3, last week in the Section I final behind Ryan Schumacher’s two touchdown passes and a strong effort from defensive ends Robbie Schumacher and Shawn Casey, and topped Mamaroneck before that in double overtime, 34-33, on Brad Belotti’s clinching run.

“Their quarterback is a big, strong kid [6-foot-4, 215 pounds]. Look at his stats. Sixteen hundred yards and his first interception in their Super Bowl,” said Clawson. “They’ll run with him, too. He’s a dual threat. Our guys need to account for him.”

Shenendehowa’s defense took care of business with a stop before Ryan Van Galen and Jordan Zlogar sparked a winning drive against CBA with their passing and receiving. Matt Taft finished it with his second touchdown run.

“We didn’t play four full quarters all season. We had to do that. The guys showed great character,” said Clawson. “That was huge for us. Now they know, if it comes time, they can do it.”

Van Galen’s rollercoaster night included his 20th touchdown pass, to Brendan Marra, and a late interception near the end zone. The senior’s bomb to Zlogar afterward was part of one of Shenendehowa’s best Super Bowl finishes.

“He [Van Galen] could have sulked. I told him, ‘The play is over and we’ll get the ball back,’ ” said Clawson. “I told him, ‘You are going to lead us to the winning touchdown.’ ”

Shenendehowa will make its sixth state tourney appearance tonight. Shenendehowa beat North Rockland in a 2011 regional — the last of Steuerwald’s Section II-record 318 wins — before a semifinal loss to Newburgh Free Academy.

2011 (Class AA)

Def. North Rockland, 13-10 (OT); lost to Newburgh Free Academy, 16-6.

2003 (AA)

Lost to New Rochelle, 14-7.

2002 (AA)

Def. North Rockland, 42-0; def. Newburgh Free Academy, 42-0; lost to Webster Schroeder, 28-7 (championship game).

1995 (A)

Def. Watertown, 55-16; def. Yonkers Roosevelt, 35-14; Lost to Jamestown, 32-18 (championship game)

1992 (A)

Def. Monroe-Woodbury, 27-10; lost to Fairport, 21-20.

Categories: High School Sports

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