CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Shenendehowa head football coach Brian Clawson said Wednesday he was excited to see how his team would come out in its’ season opener with Niskayuna. It’s safe to say Clawson liked what he saw out of his guys Saturday afternoon, as the Plainsmen dropped 28 first-half points, en route to a 28-12 victory.

“I mean, the first half was awesome,” said Clawson. “Obviously the opening kickoff, you know, they scored on that. So, we really responded to adversity right there. Our offense was clicking on all cylinders. Our defense kind of held them in check in that first half. And especially, if you look at where they (Niskayuna) started the ball, they were inside their own territory for the whole first half.”

Clawson and the Plainsmen, runners-up in Class AA each of the last two seasons, knew they’d be in for a battle, even with the Silver Warriors coming in from Class A. Nisky, the reigning A champs, hung a 47-0 win on Section III’s Auburn in Week 0.

And the Silver Warriors landed an uppercut right out of the gate; sophomore wide receiver Cameron Grasso returned the opening kickoff 98 yards – which Clawson eluded to – giving his team the early, 6-0 edge.

But that didn’t phase the Plainsmen. They punched right back with standout junior running back Ihsaan Alozie, who raced 59 yards to the house for a game-tying touchdown, and after Joshua DuBray tacked on a PAT, Shen took a 7-6 lead, and never looked back.

The Plainsmen wasted no time growing that margin. On their next drive, senior quarterback Michael Whatley connected with his favorite target, senior wideout Luke McAuliffe, on a 20-yard scoring strike.

And there was no let-up in the second quarter. Junior tailback Anthony Diaz powered in a five-yard rushing touchdown out of the Wildcat formation, and on Shen’s next drive, Alozie broke off another massive run, finding the end zone from 53 yards out. The Plainsmen scored touchdowns on four of their first five possessions to race out to a 28-6 advantage.

They were derailed, however, but an injury to Whatley in the late stages of the second quarter, and he sat out for the remainder of the game.

Senior wide receiver Blake Mello stepped right up, though, to assume the signal calling duties, and while Shen didn’t score again following Alozie’s second touchdown scamper, Mello and the run game managed to chew up a lot of game clock throughout multiple drives in the second half.

The Plainsmen defense bowed up as well, allowing just one touchdown: a seven-yard pass from Grasso to Garrett Gilooley on a brilliantly executed fourth-down trick play. But even that was set up by a short field following an errant snap on a Shen punt try deep in their own territory.

Alozie churned up 125 yards on just six first-half carries, but he was sure to credit his success to the big fellas up front.

“I gotta say our O-line did a hell of a job,” said Alozie. “Those holes were massive, and I couldn’t be more grateful for them. (The win) feels really good. It really gives us a boost, so we can go into next week, and have that same confidence, and just improve on everything that we’ve worked on so far.”

McAuliffe also put together a standout performance, hauling in six catches for 115 yards, fueling his status as arguably the top wideout in Section II. Whatley and Mello combined for 127 passing yards, meaning McAuliffe accounted for 91% of the team’s receiving yards.

Shenendehowa (1-0) opens up league play Thursday with a road trip to Schenectady at 7:00 p.m. Niskayuna (1-1) will begin preparations for a massive game Thursday. Brian Grastorf’s squad returns to Class A competition, hosting against Averill Park in a rematch of last year’s Super Bowl. Nisky won that game 35-6 to claim the program’s first-ever sectional championship. Kickoff with the Warriors is set for 7:00 p.m.