CLIFTON PARK — Deception, and handling it, will be the key to success Friday night when Shaker travels to Shenendehowa to open Week 1 of the “Fall II” Class AA football season.
The Shaker Wing-T offense uses ball fakes and misdirection in its backfield. Meanwhile, the Shenendehowa offense will use a running back-by-committee approach, leaving the Blue Bison to need to prepare for a variety of rushing styles.
“The Wing-T offense has a lot of deception, and Shaker does it very well,” Shenendehowa defensive coordinator Ryan Fenton said. “It’s hard to simulate in practice, but at the same time, it’s a good learning experience for our younger guys. You have to play disciplined football because they’ll burn you if you don’t.”
Shenendehowa is the area’s defending Section II Class AA champion. When Shenendehowa and Shaker met last season, though, Shaker defeated the Plainsmen 28-14 in a Week 2 matchup. In that game, then-Shenendehowa senior star Billy Beach ran for 106 yards on 20 carries.
Shenendehowa will look to replace that production with carries from Kyle Acker, Trevon Joyner and three-year starter Dyvante Terrelonge, as well as 5-foot-10, 265-pound fullback Jaysiah Woodrow. All are returning players that contributed last season for the Plainsmen.
Another lesson Shenendehowa took out of last year’s loss to Shaker was the advantage of player depth, which the Plainsmen have plenty of this season.
“More student-athletes decided to come out for football because for the past year there were no athletics, so guys that really had a desire to play at some point came out,” head coach Brian Clawson said during practice on Monday. “We had 72 try out for our team and 60 made it, 10 more than last year. We kept some extra seniors, and we’ve got a good group here.”
Shenendehowa limited the number of players competing on both offense and defense after its 2019 game against Shaker.
“We started doing that last year after the Shaker game because our kids ran out of gas,” Fenton said. “That was one of the unintended consequences of a bad day, finding the silver lining in the cloud.”
Shaker vs. Shenendehowa is scheduled to start at 6 p.m.