Shen scout team shines in second half
CLIFTON PARK, N. Y. » When your first team offense puts up 42 points in the first half it becomes times for the starters to become cheerleaders and the scout team to get their opportunity to shine under the Friday night lights.
It was another perfect handoff by the Shenendehowa varsity football squad Friday night, turning the reigns over to the Plainsmen scout team to open the second half, continuing to keep Albany High scoreless and tack on two more scores in a 56- 0 Class AA win during their home opener.
“When you have a half like that, that first series in the second half is very important because we came out really strong tonight, but as coaches we want to stress finishing,” Shenendehowa Coach Brian Clawson said. “To be able to start the second half real strong and to come out and score and then our defense held them to before that to put themin a position to go out there and score, then the second team came in and they played great.”
Leading that second half charge was Gabe Cruz who punished the Albany defense on six straight running plays for 38 yards on the ground before running back Codi Heidt took it in from a yard out on the first offensive possession in the second half.
It was just like the Plainsmen scout back had practiced.
“He had a practice during the week, Wednesday and it was inside run, the first team defense and we were doing their offense and Gabe was the running back,” Clawson said. “He literally ran six times in a row with passion, with anger, with deliverance and he came back, he was tired, but he had that look in his eye like ‘ Coach, giveme the ball again.’
“I felt he earned that right to go out there with the first- teamoffensive line because he earned it in practice. He’s been wanting to do all that and I talked to him, I said ‘ Gabe, you have to be patient, wait for your opportunity. When that opportunity comes you have to cash in,’ and he really cashed in tonight.”
Cruz was back on the offensive side of the ball during Shenendehowa’s third possession in the second half and it as his turn to put away the work that junior Kiernan Shanahan, Cameron McNamara, Harrison Shaw, Evan Gauer put in, plowing his own way in from one- yard out for the final score in the fourth quarter.
“We’re just looking to win the game, we’re looking to get everyone in,” Gabe Cruz said. “Everyone has obviously put in a lot of hard work in.
“I was definitely anticipating getting a couple of drives, but I couldn’t have done it without my blockers out there and I think we did a great job out there second teamand first team.”
The direction came during the 46- 0 halftime break.
“He clearly told us out there that I would be going out, that a lot of the second team would be going out for the drive and that we needed to work as hard as we did the first half,” Cruz said. “I put a lot of hard work into this. It’s my first season back after having a big shoulder injury, but it was great getting out there and getting a little playing time.”
Not only were the scout team’s peers cheering them on in the stands, but the sidelines were alive as the starters enjoyed watching life action of their teammates against someone not wearing the same color jerseys.
“It’s great to get everyone in,” Shenendehowa starting quarterback Brendan Belott who gave way to junior Mitchel Carley partway through the second half. “They do a lot of work for us on scout and they work hard in practice every week and it’s good to see themplay and just have a good time out here and run the ball, throw.”
The win corrects the Plainsmen ship after last week’s disappointing performance and subsequent loss to rival Saratoga Springs, 28- 14 on the road and brings Shenendehowa to a 2- 1 overallmark. Clawson isn’t looking past anyone as the Plainsmen travel to face Niskayuna, a 59- 0 loser to Christian Brothers Academy and the scout team could again see significant time.
“We kind of stress competition throughout the year,” Clawson said. “From terms fromthe entire team to have a win like this and have everyone contribute on the field, it does great for the whole atmosphere of everyone.
“This was a game we needed tonight, especially after last week, the extremely disappointing loss. So for the team to be able to come out and play like it did, it’s just one stepping stone to where we want to go.”