Shenendehowa's football season and Brent Steuerwald's coaching career ended one game short of the Plainsmen's ultimate goal.
Newburgh Free Academy scored all of its points in the first half and fended off a Shen rally to beat the Plainsmen 16-6 in Saturday's state Class AA semifinal game at Kingston's Dietz Stadium.
"They've had a great season, and they've done a great thing to get to this point," said Steuerwald, who is retiring after a 44-year career at the Clifton Park school.
Shen (11-1) had a hard time moving the ball against Newburgh's defense. The Plainsmen didn't register a first down until the second quarter and didn't move into Goldbacks' territory until the third quarter.
"They had a very tough defensive line, and everyone was swarming to the ball," said Shen tailback Tony Fusco.
"That's how we're built," said Newburgh coach Bill Bianco. "We run the ball, we play good defense and we play good special teams."
Still, Shen had a couple of chances to get back in the game. The Plainsmen drove to Newburgh's 15-yard line midway through the fourth quarter, only to be stopped when quarterback Teddy Van Galen was sacked for a 16-yard loss on second down. Two incomplete passes later, and Newburgh (10-1) had the ball back.
The Plainsmen tried one more drive late in the fourth quarter. Van Galen threw a pass to Ryan Buss down the left side. Buss got the ball into Newburgh territory, but a Newburgh defender jarred the ball loose as Buss tried to go out of bounds. Another Newburgh player pounced on the fumble to end the drive.
"Big plays happened against us," said Fusco. "Some things that usually go right for us went wrong on our side."
Newburgh's defense set up the first Goldbacks' touchdown drive early in the first quarter. Van Galen had a pass tipped into the air by Terrel Moore and intercepted by Jalen Williams, who returned it to Shen's 8-yard line. Quarterback Mark Risio scored two plays later on a 4-yard run to give Newburgh a 7-0 lead.