Shenendehowa football coach Brent Steuerwald addresses the crowd during a pre-game ceremony Oct. 8.
Clifton Park During a pre-game ceremony honoring his long career, Shenendehowa football coach Brent Steuerwald concluded his speech by saying, "Let's go play some football."
Steuerwald's players did more than that. They played inspired football.
Tailback Tony Fusco rushed for three first-half touchdowns, and Shen's defense recorded its fifth shutout in six games as the Plainsmen defeated Christian Brothers Academy 42-0 in Saturday's Empire Division game.
"All week, we practiced really hard," said Fusco, who gained 145 yards on 14 carries in the first half alone. "We were just focused on winning this for our coach."
"They gave us a great effort," said Steuerwald after the game. "It was a good experience. There was a lot of tension and a lot of stress."
The game pitted the two remaining undefeated teams in Section II Class AA, but it didn't take long for Shen (6-0) to establish dominance over CBA (5-1) on its way to clinching the Empire Division title. The Plainsmen didn't allow a CBA first down until the second quarter, and they thwarted a pair of scoring chances the Brothers had with solid coverage on pass plays into the end zone.
"We knew they were going to throw a lot of stops where they would go five yards on a pass play and then stop," said Steuerwald. "What we didn't want them to do was pass it five yards, stop and then get more yards after the catch. And I think we did a really good job of preventing that from happening."
"We moved the ball at times, but we never did put enough plays together to keep our drives going," said CBA coach Joe Burke.
Meanwhile, CBA's defense had a hard time bottling up Fusco and the Shen offense. Even when the Brothers thought they had stopped Fusco on a run, Fusco would slip out of a tackle and continue on for more yards. One such play in the second quarter netted 27 yards and set up a 17-yard touchdown run by Fusco.