Clifton Park

Alozie brothers sharing the backfield at Shenendehowa

Shenendehowa running backs Ishaan Alozie, left, and his brother Aziz Alozie share the backfield for the first time this season with the Plainsmen.

Shenendehowa running backs Ishaan Alozie, left, and his brother Aziz Alozie share the backfield for the first time this season with the Plainsmen.

CLIFTON PARK The Shenendehowa offensive backfield brings a double-threat this season with two players that are very familiar with one another — brothers Aziz and Ihsaan Alozie.

“We always wanted to be on the same team,” senior Aziz Alozie said. “It’s just great that he has the opportunity to come up as a sophomore, especially because it’s my last year. At least I get to experience what that’s like.”

Shenendehowa coach Brian Clawson encouraged sophomore Ihsaan Alozie to try out for the varsity squad.

“Ishaan was unsure a little bit if he was going to play varsity,” Clawson said. “But in my mind, it was a no brainer, right from day one.”

The younger Alozie brother took a wait and see approach before committing to be a varsity candidate at tryouts.

“There would be a lot of tougher competition on varsity and I wasn’t sure I would get much time on the field,” Ihsaan Alozie said. “I went to the [summer] camps and tryouts, and I saw I had a shot.”

Asking Clawson about the Alozie brothers in the backfield elicits a smile on the offensive-minded coach’s face.

“They’re so versatile that honestly they could play any of the offensive skill positions that we have,” Clawson said. “We started to train them that way from day one.”

Part of that training included Ihsaan leaning on his big brother, Aziz.

“When it comes to [certain formation] and just the shifts, I was kind of confused,” Ihsaan Alozie, a 5-foot-9 160-pound back said. “I went home and asked him. Then when we got back out there and it’s all good.”

The two spend a lot of time together talking about the game.

“We do almost everything football related together,” Aziz Alozie, a 6-foot 165-pound back said. “We’ll watch film together, and [Ihsaan] will say, ‘Yo, you should have just cut back in here. I’ll say, ‘I feel like I should have held this block a little bit longer.’”

The two brothers made an impact in the Plainsmen’s season opener, a 35-12 win at La Salle. Aziz Alozie ran for two touchdowns and Ihsaan Alozie scored a touchdown and carried the ball 15 times.

Aziz said that his younger brother is faster in a preseason interview. After his brother’s first varsity game, that opinion didn’t change.

“He’s a great blocker, and he’s a playmaker, too,” Aziz Alozie said. “He’s fast. He can cut. I think there’s a difference between being fast and being quick. He’s definitely both.”

Ihsaan admires some of his older brother’s skills.

“I think the best aspect of his game is his vision,” Ihsaan Alozie said. “He’ll have a [toss play] going to the outside, but he’ll see a seam, make a cut back [into the middle of the field] and take it in for a touchdown. That, and his speed also.”

Shenendehowa hosts Schenectady Friday night, and the two backs will have an opportunity to highlight their skills in front of a home crowd for the first time.

Ihsaan said he is dedicating this season not only to his brother, but to the other Plainsmen seniors.

“It makes me want to give it my 100, every rep, every day and I want to see him win,” Aziz Alozie said. “I want to see the team win for all the seniors. It makes me go just that little bit harder.”

Aziz Alozie was a late-game substitute during his sophomore year and was injured much of last season. He has big plans for his final season.

“This year is just me finishing what I started,” Aziz Alozie said. “I feel like I’m walking so that Ihsaan can run. I just want to teach him the ways and, hopefully, he does better than me.”

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