LATHAM — Shenendehowa's offensive line continually blew holes in the Pine Bush defense Friday night in a Class AA regional football game.
The big boys up front were just following orders.
"We don't want them to fire out like rockets," Shenendehowa line coach Mark McQuade said after the Plainsmen's 41-7 win at Shaker High School. "Rockets go up. We want them to fire out like cannons."
They did, and Billy Beach ran wild. The senior churned out 188 yards and four touchdowns on 21 carries, and scored a fifth touchdown on a pass from Brody Vincenzi, as part of Shenendehowa's first regional win since the 2014 season.
"They controlled the game," Beach said of his line. "They've been doing that the whole season."
Well, almost. There was that Week 2 hiccup when the offense failed to click in a 28-14 loss to Shaker.
"After the Shaker loss, we got totally motivated and started to play real good football," Shenendehowa senior center Alex Smith said. "I don't know when we're going to stop. I hope we never stop."
On Friday night, the interior line group of Smith, Zachary Trump, Kevin Fobare, Billy Marchewka and Sam Standaert, and tight ends Chris Lasher and Dustin Lewis, never did stop. Their work helped Shenendehowa (10-1) score on each of its first six drives.
"Early in the season we weren't giving enough effort to push them back," Smith said. "That's when coach [McQuade] gave us the speech about rockets and cannons. He told us we needed to be shooting out."
Shenendehowa's scoring binge began with a 35-yard touchdown run by Beach after a fumble recovery by Josh Szwarcberg ended Pine Bush's first possession.
A 55-yard kickoff return by David Alcenat had the Bushmen (Section IX, 8-3) at the Plainsmen 25 to start the contest, and Szwarcberg got the ball back on their second play to begin a quick 83-yard drive that Beach began with a 14-yard burst.
"That fast start is what we wanted," Shenendehowa head coach Brian Clawson said. "That was excellent. We came out strong on both sides of the ball."
"That kickoff, no one expected that at all," Beach said. "We got that fumble, and the tide flipped. It was smooth sailing after that."
Beach scored on runs of three, nine and 10 yards in the second quarter before the running back caught a 21-yard scoring pass from Vincenzi with 54 seconds left. Beach ran for 163 of his yards in the first half.
"He plays at a different level than everyone," Clawson said of Beach, who boosted his postseason touchdown total to 11 in three games. "Get the ball in his hands and things happen."
Vincenzi followed a block by Smith and went seven yards up the middle for a touchdown to cap Shenendehowa's opening drive of the second half. Vincenzi ran six times for 28 yards and was 4-for-4 passing for 75 yards. The junior quarterback's 22-yard pass to Lewis set up Beach's 9-yard TD run.
Shenendehowa fullbacks Jaysiah Woodrow and Jacob DiRenzo combined for 78 rushing yards.
Pine Bush was limited to 61 yards of offense, and its three first downs all came on a second-half scoring drive that ended with Gunnar Meland gaining the end zone from the 5.
"What we saw on film was no one attacked their triple option," Clawson said. "We developed some good blitzes, and our scout team did a good job."
Pine Bush had beaten Monroe-Woodbury 46-14 to reach the state tournament. Shenendehowa beat Guilderland 35-7 to advance.
"This is a great win for our football team," Clawson said. "The amazing thing about this team is they keep getting better every week."
Shenendehowa's last state tournament appearance in 2014 included a 27-20 regional win over John Jay-East Fishkill followed by a 20-19 overtime loss to Newburgh Free Academy.
Shenendehowa will see state semifinal action next Saturday at 6 p.m. at Middletown High School against either New Rochelle (Section I, 10-0) or Proctor (Section III, 9-1). Those teams meet Saturday.
"Proctor and New Rochelle are both good football teams," Clawson said. "We'll rest up then get back to work and get ready to play."
Pine Bush 0 0 0 7 — 7
Shenendehowa 6 28 7 0 — 41
S — Beach 35 run (run failed)
S — Beach 3 run (Ranze kick)
S — Beach 9 run (Ranze kick)
S — Beach 10 run (Ranze kick)
S — Beach 21 pass from Vincenzi (Ranze kick)
S — Vincenzi 7 run (Ranze kick)
PB — Meland 5 run (Nunez kick)