The Shaker football team passed its first test while playing short-handed.
Quarterback Ben Capeless threw two touchdown passes, and tailback Ryan Griffin rushed for two more to lead the Blue Bison past crosstown rival Colonie 34-0 in last Thursday's Liberty Division opener in Latham.
I was very happy with the way the kids played, said Shaker coach Greg Sheeler. "They had to face some adversity, and they stepped up and shouldered the load well."
The adversity was playing without three starters " tailback Conor Alund, tight end Chris Sherwin and lineman Carlos Mendez. All three players suffered injuries during the preseason, which kept them out of the opener.
"Sherwin will hopefully be back by the fourth week," said Sheeler. "Alund and Mendez are week to week. But we're trying not to focus on who's not there. We're trying to focus on who is there."
Capeless gave Shaker an early boost. After completing a 21-yard touchdown pass to Sam Hyatt to start the scoring, the senior threw a 95-yard touchdown pass to Adrian Valentino to give the Blue Bison a 14-0 lead.
"He made some good decisions out there, and that's what we've been working on with him in the preseason," said Sheeler.
Meanwhile, Shaker's defense never let Colonie's offense get going. The Garnet Raiders managed only 61 total yards against the Blue Bison's stingy defense.
Griffin carried the ball 10 times for 54 yards and scored on runs of one and six yards while shouldering some of the load normally reserved for Alund. Bernard Maxwell also rushed for more than 50 yards and added a touchdown for Shaker.
The Blue Bison go after their second divisoinal win of the season Friday when they visit Schenectady, which is coming off a 32-28 loss to Niskayuna last weekend.
"Schenectady is very athletic, and their coach does a very good job of preparing them each week," said Sheeler, who earned his first win as Shaker's varsity coach. "It's going to be a challenge, especially going on the road."
Colonie has an equally tough task this weekend, as the Garnet Raiders visit Troy Saturday. The Flying Horses began their season with a 55-0 victory over LaSalle Friday. ""