Latham, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Shaker has been here before. As the undefeated top seed, that’s how they entered the playoffs each of the past two seasons, but that didn’t seem to matter.
Those runs ended with a loss, not a title. The Blue Bison were looking to write a new story Friday night when they hosted Shenendehowa in the Class AA sectional semifinals, a team they hadn’t lost to in a decade.
This one was scoreless late in the first when Shaker quarterback Jake Iacobaccio was intercepted by Michael McElrath to set up the Plainsmen in Blue Bison territory. McElrath brought the Plainsmen down to the one yard line with a big run, and Patrick House finished off the drive to give Shen a 7-0 lead just before the second quarter.
Iacobaccio remained a threat on the ground for the Blue Bison. Later in the second quarter he broke free from 26 yards out to tie the game at seven, but Shen held a 10-7 lead into halftime thanks to a field goal with no time remaining in the quarter.
Shaker ran a methodical drive out of the gate in the third quarter, getting deep into Shen territory when a miscommunication on a hand off put the ball on the ground and turned into a Shaker turnover. House took another to the house from there, punching it in from three yards out to give Shen a 17-7 lead.
Shaker quickly struck back. Iacobaccio got it going through the air, hitting Malcolm Robinson from 28 yards out on the first play of the fourth quarter to cut the Shen lead to 17-14.
Then with 30 seconds to go in the game and Shaker facing a 4th and 23, Iacobaccio heaved a potential game-winning touchdown to the endzone but Dwayne Newkirk couldn’t come down with it, helping Shen survive with a 17-14 sectional semifinal win.
The win was Shen’s first over Shaker since 2011, as the Plainsmen now move on to face CBA in the Class AA Superbowl.