DELMAR — A slow start was only that.
Once Shenendehowa got going, it rolled.
“We started just pounding the football,” Shenendehowa head coach Brian Clawson said Friday after his team’s 40-7 Section II Class AA Week 1 victory against Bethlehem.
Using a three-pronged rushing attack of senior Billy Beach, junior Dyvante Terrelonge and junior Jaysiah Woodrow, the Plainsmen cruised to a season-opening win. Behind a strong effort from Shenendehowa’s offensive line, Beach rushed for 122 yards on 22 carries, Terrelonge turned six rushing attempts into 56 yards and Woodrow added 50 yards on eight carries.
“The line did a great job protecting us,” said Terrelonge, who also turned a short pass from senior quarterback Michael Decker into a 68-yard touchdown reception.
Shenendehowa led 7-0 after one quarter, but Bethlehem tied it early in the second quarter with a touchdown pass from senior Derek Martelle to senior Zachary Zonca. The Plainsmen answered with a four-play scoring driving that Terrelonge capped with his catch-and-run highlight to go ahead for good.
“That was huge. That was a big football play,” Clawson said. “Put the ball in Dyvante’s hands, he’s going to make something happen. He made one guy miss, his speed took over, and it was a touchdown.”
And, from there, Shenendehowa’s offensive line opened up one hole after another in the Bethlehem defense to allow Beach, Terrelonge and Woodrow to drive the Plainsmen’s offense and work the game’s clock. Beach sandwiched touchdown rushes around halftime to put Shenendehowa firmly in charge, while junior Dustin Lewis caught a pair of late touchdowns to finish off the Plainsmen’s scoring.
“We just got behind our line,” said Beach, who also scored Shenendehowa’s first touchdown of the night on a pass from Decker.
“Our line started working as one,” Shenendehowa senior lineman Billy Marchewka said of the Plainsmen’s offense scoring multiple touchdowns in each of the night’s middle quarters. “We played as a fist instead of five fingers.”
In all, Shenendehowa gained 408 yards of total offense. In the game’s middle quarters, the Plainsmen gained 301 of those yards.
For the contest, Bethlehem had 125 yards of total offense.
Shenendehowa’s Decker was 7 of 13 passing for 130 yards and three touchdowns. Entering late in the third quarter, junior Brody Vincenzi tossed Shenendehowa’s final touchdown of the game to Lewis.
A season-opening win, Beach said, will further motivate the Plainsmen.
“It makes me even hungrier for next week,” Beach said after his three-touchdown night. “It makes our team even hungrier for next week.”
Next Friday, Shenendehowa hosts reigning Section II Class AA champion Shaker in a Week 2 showdown. Shaker won its Week 1 game 41-23 against Guilderland.
“It’s going to be a heck of a game,” Clawson said.
Shenendehowa 7 15 12 6 — 40
Bethlehem 0 7 0 0 — 7
S — Beach 13 pass from Decker (Ranze kick)
B — Zonca 3 pass from D. Martelle (J. Martelle kick)
S — Terrelonge 68 pass from Decker (Ranze kick)
S — Beach 6 run (McCane from Decker)
S — Beach 9 run (Kick failed)
S — Lewis 19 pass from Decker (Kick failed)
S — Lewis 8 pass from Vincenzi (Kick failed)