Seven different players scored as Shenendehowa returned to the win column in impressive fashion Friday night, beating Saratoga Springs, 49-0, in a Section II Class AA Empire Division game.
The Plainsmen, coming off a 35-8 loss to Shaker, saw their record go to 5-0 in the Empire Division and 5-1 overall, while Saratoga Springs slipped to 2-3, 2-4.
Quarterback Ryan Buss, recovering from an ankle injury, returned to the lineup and delivered two touchdown passes.
“It means a great deal. Ryan is the leader of this football team,” said Shenendehowa head coach Brian Clawson. “To be able to have his presence in the huddle and come out, and he ran that two-minute offense at the end and throw two touchdown passes. I thought he played really well tonight.”
It took Shenendehowa awhile to get untracked. On the last series of the first quarter, Shenendehowa had a quick 76-yard scoring drive on three plays. Corey Acker fumbled two punt returns earlier in the game, but raced 48 yards for a touchdown as time expired. Anthony Vilardi kicked the first of seven extra points.
That score ignited the Plainsmen offense, as they produced three touchdowns in the second quarter to go ahead, 28-0, at halftime.
Lucas Buckley got into the scoring act when he darted through the Saratoga line for a four-yard touchdown with 8:05 left for a 14-0 advantage.
Later, taking possession on the 45, Matthew Drum picked up five yards and then Buss found D.J. Edick on a sideline pass and the wide receiver shook off Alex Chandler and raced in for a touchdown and the Plainsmen increased their lead to 21-0.
With 1:10 left in the first half, Buss hit a streaking Kory Felix down the middle for a 38-yard touchdown. Felix got a high-five from Clawson on the sidelines.
The Plainsmen were totally in charge and Kyle Buss then put his mark on the game with a 90-yard kickoff return to start the second half.
Jared Allen scored on a three-yard run and Jeremiah Smith put the finishing touches on a dominating win with a 20-yard run.
“The pursuit today was unbelievable. Eleven guys flying to the football. They [defense] played very well today,” said Clawson. “We talked about bouncing back after last week. We are kind of taking it one game at a time, and looking at the future. The team came out and did that. They knew Saratoga was a tough opponent. They played us really, really hard the first quarter and then we came out and executed very well for the last three quarters.”
Senior linebacker Christopher Miller put together a fine game on defense, and was happy to see his unit respond in a big way.
“Our defense was flawless. We did a great job. We really brought it this week. We stopped them whenever our offense struggled. We came out and stopped them,” said Clawson. “Our defensive line drove them back and our linebackers did a great job and our safeties came up filling real hard. We came into this one game as a family. Having [Ryan] Buss back was huge, just huge. He made a difference. He brings us all together. He’s one of our captains, a great leader and it’s great to have him back.”
Saratoga Springs 0 0 0 0 — 0
Shenendehowa 7 21 14 7 — 49
Sh — Acker 48 run (Vilardi kick)
Sh — Buckley 4 run (Vilardi kick)
Sh — Edick 50 pass from R. Buss (Vilardi kick)
Sh — Felix 38 pass from R. Buss (Vilardi kick)
Sh — K. Buss 90 kickoff return (Vilardi kick)
Sh — Allen 3 run (Vilardi kick)
Sh — Smith 20 run (Vilardi kick)