Heath Furbeck's helmet was over the goal line when Shaker's Mike Hayes stopped him. The football he was carrying was not.
That miniscule difference was all the Blue Bison needed to pull out a 20-19 victory over Colonie in last Friday's Colonie Cup game in Latham.
Furbeck caught a screen pass from quarterback Tom Duff and ran into the end zone for an 11-yard touchdown that pulled the Garnet Raiders within a point with 1:04 left. Colonie coach Mike Ambrosio went back to Furbeck for a two-point conversion run, but Hayes stopped the tailback at the goal line to maintain its lead.
We went with our strength see what happens," said Ambrosio.
"We have confidence whether our defense is on its heels at our 1-yard line or at the 50," said Shaker coach Dennis Bender.
Last Friday's performance was a far cry from the efforts both teams had in their season openers. Shaker's offense operated with an efficiency not seen in its 26-13 loss to Guilderland one week earlier, while Colonie's offense stumbled under heavy pressure from the Blue Bison's pass rush.
"Our juniors really stepped it up," said Shaker tailback Sean Fruscio, who scored two of the Blue Bison's three touchdowns. "Coaches made great calls and great plays."
"When you only play half a game, you can't expect to win," said Ambrosio.
Fruscio got Shaker (1-1) on the scoreboard early in the second quarter by capping a Blue Bison drive with a 4-yard touchdown run. Furbeck tied the game with a 2-yard scoring run, but junior quarterback Ryan Gifford connected with Brian Tourtellott on an 11-yard touchdown pass with less than 20 seconds left before halftime to put the Blue Bison ahead 14-7.
Duff rebounded from a tough first half by turning to Furbeck as a receiver in the third quarter. The senior signal caller completed a pass over the middle to Furbeck, who broke free for a long gain to Shaker's 15-yard line. Two plays later, Furbeck took the handoff, swept left and scored a 7-yard touchdown to pull the Garnet Raiders (1-1) within a point. A bad snap on the extra point attempt helped Shaker maintain its slim advantage, though.