LATHAM, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Two class AA bluebloods squared off Friday night at Arthur E. Walker Athletic Field in Latham. In what will no doubt be an early contender for game of the year in section two, the reigning champion Christian Brothers Academy Brothers pulled off a miraculous, 35-34 overtime win against the Shaker Blue Bison.
Despite coming into Friday night’s matchup as the top dog of class AA last season, the Brothers faced a major challenge in Shaker. The Blue Bison had not lost a regular season league matchup since 2017, and ironically, CBA head coach Bob Burns, who was at the helm of the Troy Flying Horses in 2017, was the last opposing head coach to hand Shaker a league loss in regular-season play.
CBA also hadn’t beaten Shaker since 2014, so a lot was on the line Friday night, and that showed in the play of the Brothers’ junior quarterback, Donald Jones. He orchestrated an over 14-minute touchdown drive in the first quarter—the first possession for either team—that he capped off himself with his first of three rushing touchdowns on the night.
The second touchdown scamper came from one yard out with 8:45 to play in the second quarter, extending the CBA lead to 14-0. But Shaker had an answer; on the ensuing kickoff, junior Nick Cerrone took a 94-yard return to the house, cutting the Brothers’ lead in half.
CBA responded late in the second frame, though. Jones charged to pay dirt from two yards out on yet another quarterback power play, giving the Brothers a 14-point edge heading into the locker room at halftime.
Blue Bison head coach Greg Sheeler must have given his team a Vince Lombardi-caliber halftime speech, because Shaker came out in the second half with newfound life. On the opening drive of the third quarter, Blue Bison senior running back Malachi Moore powered his way into the end zone to get the deficit back to seven points.
After stopping CBA on fourth and one on the Brothers’ following drive, Sheeler dialed up an aerial attack on second down and long during Shaker’s next possession. Junior quarterback Jake Iacobaccio linked up with senior running back Kyle Yusuf, and the game was knotted up at 21.
Despite struggling on offense throughout much of the second half, Jones and the Brothers found a rhythm when they needed it most. Moving down the field late in the fourth quarter, Jones fired a strike to junior running back Jahmir Pitcher, who scored on fourth and 11 to put CBA back on top by seven points.
But Shaker simply wouldn’t quit. Iacobaccio led a remarkable, game-tying touchdown drive with 17 seconds to play, punctuated by a pass to senior running back Anthony Luciano that tied the contest back up at 28.
In overtime, both teams had a possession starting from their opponent’s 20-yard line. Jones carved up the Blue Bison defense on CBA’s possession, and found senior tight end Chuck Volans in the back of the end zone for the go-ahead pitch-and-catch. Iacobaccio and Shaker answered right back, as the junior signal caller called his own number on second and goal from the one-yard line, and scored to make it 35-34 CBA.
Coach Sheeler rolled the dice, electing to go for the two-point conversion after the touchdown. CBA pressured Iacobaccio in the backfield; he got a pass off that was intended for senior tight end Collin Johnson in the end zone, but the pass was tipped by the Brothers’ defensive line, fluttered in the air, and fell harmlessly to the ground, securing CBA’s remarkable, 35-34 victory.
After the game, Coach Burns raved about the play of his junior field general, Jones.
“He is an unbelievable warrior at 155 pounds,” said Burns. “I told him early; I go, ‘Look, buddy, it’s ride or die with you.’ So—and the other kids fought hard, and grinded too defensively, but Donald was special tonight. I mean, I don’t know if I’ve ever had a kid that had a performance like that. I don’t know how many yards he had. I don’t know how many carries he had, and I don’t care. I know how many points we had, and that’s all that matters.”
CBA beat Shaker for the first time since 2014, improving its record to 3-0. The Brothers return home for the first time this season next Friday after a three-game road trip to start the year. They welcome in Schenectady.
Shaker loses its’ first league regular season game since 2017, falling to 1-2 on the year. The Blue Bison hit the road for their week three matchup with Colonie Central next Friday.