GUILDERLAND CENTER, NY (NEWS10) — The Christian Brothers Academy football team has been on a mission this season – a mission to repeat as Section II, Class AA champions after defeating Shenendehowa in last year’s Super Bowl.
The Brothers passed every test they faced in 2022, amassing a perfect, 10-0 record en route the section title game. The only team standing in the way of them reclaiming their glory atop the class was again Shen. This time the Plainsmen rolled in as the two-seed, and were riding the high of an emotional semi-final victory against rival Shaker.
But history would repeat itself Friday night, as CBA once more proved too much for Shen. The Brothers emerged with a 21-0 win, and for the first time in program history, claimed back-to-back section titles.
CBA asserted its’ dominance from the opening drive of the game. With heavy rain playing a major factor, there was a question as to how effective the passing games would be for both teams. The Brothers put those doubts to rest when junior quarterback Donald Jones hooked up with sophomore running back Jake Marra for a 25-yard score, giving CBA the early, 7-0 edge.
The aerial attack would continue for the Brothers on their next possession. Jones dropped an 18-yard dime to sophomore Donny Brundige in the end zone with less than a minute to play in the first quarter, and the Brothers jumped out to a 14-point advantage.
Shen’s defense did force three turnovers on the evening. The first came in the early stages of the second frame when senior defensive back Eric Roberts picked off Jones after the Brothers had just recovered a fumble. The interception felt like it could’ve been a turning point in the game for the Plainsmen, but the offense came up empty on the ensuing drive, and was unable to capitalize on any of the three CBA miscues.
With time winding down before halftime, the Brothers were again knocking on the door. Jones pushed right through it with a classic, QB power play, finding pay dirt from two yards out with just six seconds to play in the quarter, and CBA took a 21-0 lead into the locker room.
Shen threatened to crack the scoreboard on its’ opening drive of the third stanza, reaching the red zone. But on fourth down, junior wide receiver Blake Mello was stonewalled at the line of scrimmage, resulting in a turnover on downs.
From there, the CBA defense continued to lock down the Plainsmen, securing the shutout, and the program’s second straight section title.
The Brothers’ complete effort on both offense and defense on the biggest stage, and under the brightest lights was just the pinnacle of what head coach Bob Burns has seen out of his players all season.
“I’m so proud of my kids,” said Burns. “Put the game plan in during the week, and, you know, we worked it hard all week. We anticipated bad weather; kind of ended up going away. But, yeah, defense was lights out all night. We challenged ’em. And offensively we made some big plays in the first half.”
Burns is now 2-for-2 winning section titles since he arrived in Albany last season. Jones gives a lot of the credit for the program’s massive success in that span to Burns.
“Last year we didn’t have the whole offseason with Coach Burns, but this year we did,” said Jones. “Those early-morning lifts really put us to where we needed to be, and really got us ready for what this game was going to be, and, as you can see, he got us ready.”
Senior tight end and defensive end Chuck Volans detailed what it took for CBA to obtain another section championship win.
“Everybody working hard; everybody staying focused,” said Volans. “Every single day, every single practice, everybody giving 100% on every single rep. I mean, knowing this is my senior season, it means everything to me right now. Being the first team to go back-to-back in history for CBA is a big thing.”
The Brothers (11-0, 9-0) now set their sights on regional play, and will battle Pittsford out of Section V Friday, Nov. 18 at 7 p.m. from Guilderland High School. The Panthers were the runner-up in Sec. V, losing to McQuaid Jesuit in the section final.
Shenendehowa ends its’ season at 8-2, and 7-2 in league play.