SCHENECTADY — There were occasions Saturday when the Schenectady football team looked like a playoff contender.
There were a bunch of other times when the Patriots looked like a team that had yet to play a game, and had only a handful of practices to prep for one of Section II’s elite Class AA squads.
“We had a couple of fumbles. Some missed tackles. Too many flags,” Schenectady quarterback Nik Sanchez said after a 62-26 loss to Shaker at refurbished Larry Mulvaney Field. “We’ve got to come back hard next week and be ready to play.”
Schenectady scored on its initial drive of the season when Majestic Tyler hauled in the first of his two touchdown passes from Sanchez, and Shaker answered with 27 points in what would be its 11th straight victory over the Patriots.
Quarterback Jake Iacobaccio led the “Fall II” season Class AA runner-up Blue Bison with three touchdown runs and two scoring passes. Tyler and Sanchez, who ran for a TD, anchored the Patriots attack.
“We scored touchdowns,” Schenectady coach Carm DePoalo said. “That’s something we haven’t done too much against them. I don’t remember the last time we scored on them like that.”
Schenectady couldn’t keep up with Shaker, though, which scored multiple touchdowns in every quarter while the Patriots managed one in each, including a fumble return by Moses Grant.
“No excuses,” DePoalo said. “Shaker is a good team.”
Shaker defeated Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake 28-7 last week in non-classification play while Schenectady had to call off its Week 1 contest with La Salle due to a COVID issue in the Patriots camp. Schenectady did not practice that week, and not until Tuesday was it allowed to begin its on-field prep for Shaker. That prep included a walk-through Friday.
“Considering the situation they were in, they did some good things,” Shaker coach Greg Sheeler said of the Patriots. “They have some talented receivers and some tough kids.”
“Us taking a week off took us back a bit,” Tyler said. “We tried our hardest.”
Miscues caught up with Schenectady, though, including a pair of lost fumbles on kickoff returns that set up Shaker touchdowns by Iacobaccio and William Sheppeck. A blown coverage left Sean Gilday all alone in the end zone on a TD catch. Penalties curtailed Schenectady drives, and missed tackles aided those by Shaker.
“When we look at the film, we’ll see all of the little things that hurt us,” DePoalo said. “We’ll get better. No doubt about it.”
“Just mistake after mistake,” said Tyler, a senior who scored on pass plays that covered 48 and 72 yards. “We’ve got to correct that at practice.”
Sanchez was 12 for 20 passing for 282 yards, while Tyler finished with four catches and 178 of those yards and his two TDs. Jakeim Edge went 67 yards on a third-quarter catch that moved the ball to the Shaker 9, but Sanchez was sacked and that scoring bid stalled.
“Majestic stepped up like I thought he would, and Sanchez, he’s a warrior,” DePoalo said of the junior who is one of the key holdovers from the “Fall II” season back in March and April. “He took a couple of shots.”
Iacobaccio capped Shaker’s first drive with an 8-yard touchdown run and quickly score again from the 20 after Preston Frazier recovered a Schenectady fumble on the ensuing kickoff. The sophomore quarterback also ran 42 yards for a touchdown, and threw touchdown passes covering 19 and 18 yards to Gilday and Porter Ninstant.
“We have some guys really stepping up,” Sheeler said.
Shaker piled up 333 rushing yards to go with 98 passing yards.
“Our defense stepped up at moments. At other moments, we didn’t,” DePoalo said. “We need consistency.”
Schenectady plays at Saratoga Springs (0-1 Class AA, 0-2 overall) and Shaker plays at Shenendehowa (1-0, 2-0) Friday night.
Shaker 20 14 14 14 — 62
Schenectady 6 8 6 6 — 26
Sch — Tyler 48 pass from Sanchez (pass failed)
Shak — Iacobaccio 8 run (kick failed)
Shak — Iacobaccio 20 run (Sadek kick)
Shak — Basdeo 49 run (Sadek kick)
Shak — Walker 22 pass from D’Angelo (Sadek kick)
Sch — Tyler 72 pass from Sanchez (Smith run)
Shak — Gilday 19 pass from Iacobaccio (Sadek kick)
Shak — Iacobaccio 42 run (Sadek kick)
Sch — Grant 25 fumble return (pass failed)
Shak — Ninstant 18 pass from Iacobaccio (Sadek kick)
Shak — Sheppeck 2 fumble return (Sadek kick)
Sch — Sanchez 3 run (pass failed)
Shak — Jung 21 run (Sadek kick)