Plainsmen go deep early, then pull away, 34-0 (with photo gallery)
CLIFTON PARK This isn’t your father’s Shenendehowa football.
But it is very much like the football first-year Plainsmen coach Brian Clawson learned from his father.
Taking a page — or more like pages — out of the playbook from the offense he ran under his father Barry’s coaching as a high school player in Johnstown, Clawson had his team come out throwing in Friday night’s Class AA Empire Division game against Guilderland.
The effect was evident as the Dutchmen had some difficulty defending the pass and run in Shenendehowa’s 34-0 win.
Ryan Buss hit his brother, Kyle, for a 59-yard pass to the Guilderland one on Shenendehowa’s first play from scrimmage, following an interception.
Marcelino Christie scored the first of his two touchdowns on the next play. Corey Acker returned a punt for 83 yards in between Christie’s scores as the Plainsmen (2-0) took a 21-0 halftime lead.
But it was the first play from scrimmage that set the tone, as the Plainsmen showed they are evolving from the run-heavy offense that served the program well during Brent Steuerwald’s highly successful run.
“That was great. It was something we practiced all week,” said Clawson of the quick strike. “I had it in my mind this afternoon that we were going to do it. I came into the locker room about 4:30, and I saw Ryan first, and then Kyle. I told them that was going to be the first play.
“Kyle was like, ‘Coach, that could be a touchdown.’ ”
The Dutchmen were going with their second starting quarterback in as many weeks. Frank Gallo, who took over when senior captain Joe Bender suffered a fractured left fibula early in the second half of a Week 1 loss to CBA, completed 10 of 22 passes for 137 yards.
But an interception by Kyle Buss deep in Shenendehowa territory in Guilderland’s first drive led to the quick Shenendehowa touchdown, and the Plainsmen were off and running — and passing.
“We did have to adjust our offensive game plan to Frank’s strengths,” said Guilderland coach Dan Penna. “He and Joe have different strengths. That had somewhat of an impact.”
Acker’s punt return saw him cut across the field four times befor he got inside the left pylon.
“I was trying to get what I could. Coach [Jim] Ward was yelling for me to fair catch it, but I didn’t hear him until the last second,” said Acker, who also led the Plainsmen’s ground game with 96 yards on six carries and a pair ot touchdowns. “I got a couple of big blocks downfield that sprung me. There was one defender left, but I was pretty confident I could beat him to the end zone.”
“His vision when he get the football is incredible,” Clawson said of Acker. “When he gets in the open field, he’s going to take it to the house.”
“That punt return was amazing. It was a big boost for us,” said Ryan Buss, who connedted on four of six passes for 141 yards, and is enjoying the multiple options he sees when he strides up to the line of scrimmage.
“It’s great for a quarterback, we have so many options,” he said. “That work we did in the seven-on-seven camps in the offseason really helped us get our timing, and get used to the offense.
“We’re 2-0, got a win in our first game at home, got coach a win in his first game, and his first win at home. It’s all good.”
Penna knew he would be seeing a different Shenendehowa offense this year.
“There are only so many weapons you can defend,” he said.
“In a game like this, playing a good team, we had to stop the big plays. Giving up those big plays, that makes the road to climb back that much steeper.”
“We’’ve got a lot of weapons at the tailback position,” said Clawson, who by no means has abondoned the running game. “Now, it’s which one are you going to key on, Christie or Acker”
“It’s a lot different than we’re used to,” Acker said of his team’s quick strike ability. “It adds to what teams have to prepare for us. Things are going pretty well right now.”
Guilderland 0 0 0 0 — 0
Shenendehowa 7 14 13 7 —34
S — Christie 1 run (Vilardi kick).
S — Acker 83 punt retun (Vilardi kick).
S — Christie 22 run (Vilardi kick).
S — Accker 45 run (kick failed).
S — Acker 18 run (Vilardi kick).