Saturday, September 3, 2016

High School Fridays: Shenendehowa @ Troy (football), 9/2/16

After 5 seasons in Class A, Troy High was promoted by New York's Section II back to Class AA in March, marking the first time in six years that the Flying Horses, who won the AA crown in 2010, would be in the upper echelon of high school football.

Coincidentally, their first opponent was the same team they beat to win the 2010 AA title, Shenendehowa. The local press recalled that night in Colonie where, on a muddy field, senior tailback Jordan Canzeri, who just recently graduated from Iowa, led Troy to a 38-0 shutout of the Plainsmen. Coaches Bob "The Builder" Burns (Troy) & Brian Clawson (Shen) were defensive coordinators for Jack Burger and Brent Steuerwald, respectively, that night. And, so, nearly six years later, the two would meet again, this time as head coaches.

The Plainsmen were coming off a 4-5 campaign, a rare sub-.500 record for a Shen team. Troy, of course, fell shy of the A title, losing to Amsterdam despite a furious 4th quarter rally. With the mention of the 2010 game, the Plainsmen now had motivation for revenge. Problem was, would they have enough weapons to get the job done?

The answer for the Green Machine was, well, no.

Troy took the opening kickoff and marched 70 yards in 6 plays, capped by a 25 yard touchdown run by junior tailback Joey Ward, a transfer from Bishop Maginn. Sophomore Jordan Audi added the extra point, and Troy had an early 7-0 lead. Shen, though, answered quickly, as Cole Vincenzi, on a halfback option pass, hit Griffin Wallner for 65 yards to tie the game.

Late in the quarter, senior quarterback John Germinerio found Ethan Evans in the end zone. Audi's point after was blocked, and Troy led, 13-7, after the first period.

Then, it became the Dev Holmes show.

The junior wideout scored on a long bomb from Germinerio and on a reverse sweep. One two point conversion was denied because of an ineligible receiver (lineman Saverio Yamin had his "lineman's dream" taken away), but Troy was able to convert on a 2nd attempt, and led, 27-7, at the half.

Shen starting quarterback Michael Spulnick was largely ineffective under center. He was sacked once, and threw two interceptions. So Coach Clawson put Vincenzi in at quarterback to start the 3rd quarter. Vincenzi put the Plainsmen in position to score, helped along by some sloppy defensive play by Troy and some overzealous officiating, as Troy was flagged about 2-3 times as much as Shen on the night. However, after controlling the ball for half of the 3rd quarter, Vincenzi coughed it up due to one of several high snaps from center in shotgun formation. Luis Virola picked up the loose ball, and was off to the races. His touchdown iced the game, as a late rally by Shen in the 4th quarter fell short, stopped on downs, with Troy winning, 33-7. Vincenzi was sacked himself three times, in addition to the fumble.

Up next for Troy is a road game at Bethlehem, which won their opener over Colonie. Shen continues a season-opening road trip at Ballston Spa, as their home opener is not until Sept. 16 vs. Niskayuna, which, like Troy, moves up from Class A. Troy returns home on the 16th to play in-city rival LaSalle in the resumption of that long running series.

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