TROY — Luck had nothing to do with this one, though the green trim on the Shenendehowa uniforms was a nice little touch.
The Plainsmen got touchdowns from four players and dominated on the defensive side in a 35-7 Section II Class AA championship-game win over Guilderland on a frigid Friday night at Troy High School.
The Super Bowl victory gave Shenendehowa 13 area titles, and its first since a 25-20 comeback win against CBA in 2014.
“That sounds great. I love it,” junior quarterback Brody Vincenzi said after throwing for two touchdowns as part of the Plainsmen’s second win over Guilderland this season. “Not since 2014. It’s been five years. This is just a great feeling.”
Shenendehowa (No. 2 seed, 9-1) has been feeling awfully good about itself for eight straight weeks now, each of them culminating with a double-digit win. The streak began after a 28-14 Week 2 loss to Shaker.
“We’ve got quite a brotherhood here, and it showed tonight,” said Shenendehowa coach Brian Clawson, whose team has climbed to No. 16 in the state. “They practice hard and they play hard, and they do it together.”
Friday night’s triumph was another mix of quality execution on both offense and defense.
“We knew if we did our job, it was going to happen,” said senior running back Billy Beach. “Guilderland is a dangerous team. They have playmakers on offense and defense, and we got the job done.”
Beach ran for two touchdowns, Vincenzi threw scoring passes to Josh Szwarcberg and Dustin Lewis and Jaysiah Woodrow added a touchdown run in the middle of a put-away fourth quarter that saw the Plainsmen pile up 21 points.
“We just keep coming out and playing our game on offense and defense,” said Vincenzi, who was named Shenendehowa’s starting quarterback just before it began its eight-game string of wins. “We’re clicking on all cylinders.”
Clawson gave a big shoutout to his defense that never let Guilderland (No. 4, 6-4) drive the field, and recorded three sacks on quarterback Mike Gitto.
“Give our defense credit,” Clawson said. “To give up one score is a testament to how well they played.”
Shenendehowa had beaten Guilderland in Week 5 35-13 after the teams played a 7-7 halftime tie. Shenendehowa led 14-0 at the half Friday before its big fourth quarter extended it. Beach capped the final frame uprising with a 24-yard touchdown run.
“This journey started last November when we lost [in a sectional semifinal game] to Saratoga. It’s been a 12-month journey,” Clawson said. “We’re excited for the community. We’re excited for our school. It’s really a great thing.”
Vincenzi threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Szwarcberg in the first quarter, and Beach ran three yards to the end zone in the second quarter.
On the play before, on a fourth-and-five from the 6, Beach threw incomplete on an option pass, but a pass interference penalty pushed the ball to the three, and Beach then scored on a fourth-and-two play.
“Can’t say enough about our offensive and defensive lines,” Clawson said. “They established themselves, and that was a huge part of this win.”
Vincenzi threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Lewis in the fourth quarter, and Woodrow padded Shenendehowa’s advantage with a 27-yard scoring burst as the big fullback carried defenders on is back to the end zone. Guilderland got its touchdown afterward when Gitto found Brad Igweike racing down the left sideline and hit him for a 71-yard score.
Beach’s touchdown run that followed was part of a 28-carry, 181-yard rushing performance. Beach has rushed for over 100 yards seven games in a row and nine times in all, and now has eight multi-touchdown games, as well.
Shenendehowa will play the Section IX champion [Monroe-Woodbury or Pine Bush] next week in a regional game at Shaker.
Guilderland ended Shaker’s 18-game Section II win streak with a 14-7 semifinal win last Friday and earned its second Super Bowl berth, and first since a 28-17 loss to La Salle in 2007. Shenendehowa rolled past CBA 41-0 in its semifinal game.
Shenendehowa 7 7 0 21 — 35
Guilderland 0 0 0 7 — 7
S — Szwarcberg 25 pass from Vincenzi (Szwarcberg kick)
S — Beach 3 run (Szwarcberg kick)
S — Lewis 29 pass from Vincenzi (Szwarcberg kick)
S — Woodrow 27 run (Szwarcberg kick)
G — Igweike 71 pass from Gitto (Negel kick)
S — Beach 24 run (Szwarcberg kick)