COLONIE — In a battle of Class AA teams that entered the night undefeated, special teams proved to be difference as Shaker defeated Christian Brothers Academy on the road 19-13 Friday night.
Shaker recovered a fumble early in the fourth quarter as CBA was in the midst of a 15-play, 65-yard drive, and then took advantage of a bad snap to the Brothers punter with less than two minutes left in the game.
Shaker senior running back Porter Ninstant raced in from 10 yards out with 1:10 left in the game for the game-winning score.
“I was coming over at a pulling guard, and when I get to the right side of the field, [I saw] daylight,” Ninstant said. “There was no one there. My coaches have been telling me when you get that kind of daylight, just hit it. Use your speed to beat them to the outside and no one is going to stop you. I just took what they told me, and it turned out well.”
CBA (3-1 Class AA, 5-1 overall) was able to conduct three final plays after the ensuing kickoff before Shaker’s Anthony Luciano intercepted a deep pass from Brother’s quarterback Jack Gregory with 37 seconds left in the contest.
Shaker junior running back Malachi Moore was a forceful north-and-south weapon during the first three quarters, rushing for 54 yards and a touchdown before coach Greg Sheeler turned to Ninstant.
“Porter Ninstant is a three-year starter for us,” Sheeler said. “I knew towards the end of the game that we were going to lean on him a little bit. He certainly followed his blocks. He’s an explosive runner and really happy that he found the end zone at the end there.”
Ninstant scored on an 11-yard run towards the right side to open the second quarter for Shaker. He finished with 48 yards and two touchdowns.
“I couldn’t do this without my O-line, they’re great,” Ninstant said. “They keep pushing, and especially in these clutch moments, they really, really bring out the beast.”
Shaker (4-0 Class AA, 5-0 overall) wasn’t flawless in Friday’s battle, giving up a 31-yard touchdown run to CBA’s powerful back, Brenden Simek, and failing to convert a fourth-and-inches early in the third quarter, turning the ball over to CBA.
The Brothers capitalized with an eight-play, 56-yard drive, capped by Donald Jones’ 10-yard touchdown run.
The two squads matched-up evenly in front of a capacity crowd and locally televised contest in the Capital Region’s largest school football division.
“We had our own issues on special teams today, too, and it certainly could have cost us at the end there,” Sheeler said. “We capitalized on both of their issues on the punt.
“It could have gone either way and that’s something that we have to understand. I said to our team afterwards, we were fortunate to make plays at the end, but that was a game that could have gone either way.”
Shaker 7 6 0 6 — 19
CBA 7 0 6 0 — 13
C — Jones 14 run (Gialanella kick)
S — Ninstant 11 run (kick failed)
S — Moore 31 run (Moore kick)
C — Jones 10 run (kick failed)
S — Ninstant 10 run (kick failed)