A very strong, all-around performance allowed Shen to grab a rivalry victory.
The Shenendehowa Plainsmen defeated the Saratoga Blue Streaks on Friday night at Brent T. Steuerwald Stadium by a score of 31-14 in Shenendehowa’s 2016 Homecoming Game.
Shen came out wins their guns blazing, with a 10 play, 70 yard drive highlighted by a 25 yard pass to Nicholas Cosgrove, who had a spectacular game, on third and 18. They would get on the board shortly after, on an 11 yard touchdown run by Griffin Wallner, which would give the Plainsmen the first lead on what would be Wallner’s first of two touchdowns on the evening.
Shen would extend their lead to 21-6 by halftime, both on touchdown runs by Cosgrove, the first for seven yards and the second for one yard.
Saratoga did get on the board in the first half, on a four yard touchdown run by quarterback Jack Cairns with eight minutes remaining in the second quarter.
Shenendehowa’s special teams played a huge roll in the first half and in the whole game, blocking a punt that later led to a touchdown and they were able to force bad snaps by Saratoga, as the Blue Streaks didn’t make an extra point the entire night.
“Like we said coming into the game, we can’t make mistakes. We can’t have a punt block, we can’t have a bad snap on a punt and get tackled behind the line, we can’t turn the ball over. We did those things,” Saratoga head coach Terry Jones said.
Shenendehowa head coach Brian Clawson added to this; “The players really buy into the system. We practice special teams quite a bit, we talk about being sound in that area of the game, and make big plays, they were apparent tonight. Anytime you can get a big play on special teams, that sways the momentum and changes the outcome of the game,” he said.
Saratoga started the second half with the ball, but Shen would get it back once again quickly on an interception by Tyler McFarland 54 seconds into the half, giving Shen the ball at the Saratoga 20 yard line. They would score just over a minute later on a two yard rush from Griffin Wallner, his second touchdown on the game, making it 28-6 and a nearly insurmountable lead.
In the fourth quarter, Nicholas Cosgrove continued his huge game, with an interception of his own 55 seconds into the fourth. However, the Plainsmen could not capitalize with a touchdown, so they had to settle for a 30 yard field goal from kicker Nathan Fankhanel.
Saratoga would score one final time in the closing minutes of the contest, on a 29 yard touchdown pass to Connor Sullivan to make it 31-12. They would successfully pick up the two point conversion on a shoestring catch by Sullivan to make it 31-14.
“We had a good relationship (with QB Jack Cairns) when he was a wide receiver for us, so me and him would always be going one-on-one, stuff like that, seeing who could get by each other and stuff like that, so I think it’s just transferred over as quarterback,” Sullivan said.
Despite the loss, Saratoga head coach Terry Jones was proud of his team, saying, “They fought right to the very last play,” he said. “I’m so proud of how hard these kids played.”
With the win, Shenendehowa improves to 3-1 on the season. They will take on CBA next week, at CBA. That game will be Friday at 7 PM.
Saratoga falls to 0-4 on the season, still looking for their first win of the season after reaching the state final last year. They will play their Homecoming game next Friday, taking on Niskayuna, who is also 0-4. That game will also be at 7 PM.