Football: Shaker outlasts Niskayuna in Liberty shootout

Griffin scores four touchdowns to give Bison division-clinching win

— The Shaker football team had a difficult time stopping Niskayuna's offense Friday night.

Niskayuna's defense had a more difficult time stopping Shaker's offense, though.

Tailback Ryan Griffin ran for 194 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Blue Bison (3-0 division, 6-0 overall) to a 48-34 Liberty Division victory over the Silver Warriors in Latham, which also clinched the division title for Shaker.

"I was happy with how the guys played (on offense) tonight," said Shaker coach Greg Sheeler. "We played well up front."

Niskayuna's spread formation created match-up problems for Shaker's defense in the first half, but the Silver Warriors (1-3, 3-3) couldn't keep up with the Blue Bison's big-play offense.

"The resistance was different tonight," said Niskayuna coach John Furey. "They're a great football team."

Shaker's starting offense failed to score on only one drive -- its opening possession. The Blue Bison drove into Niskayuna territory before turning the ball over on downs.

The Silver Warriors systematically moved the ball the other direction and got on the scoreboard when tailback Aidan O'Brien scored on a 2-yard run. The sophomore added a two-point conversion to give Niskayuna an 8-0 lead.

Shaker's response time was quick. Tailback Kenny Jackson took the first hand-off from Chris Landers and scampered 65 yards for a touchdown. Backup quarterback Brian Planz then threw a conversion pass to Patrick Hoey on a fake extra point to tie the score at 8.

O'Brien capped Niskayuna's next offensive series with a 3-yard touchdown run, but a failed conversion attempt left the Silver Warriors with a 14-8 lead. Once again, Shaker answered with a big play -- this time, it was a 64-yard touchdown run by Griffin. Garret McClanahan's extra point kick gave the Blue Bison a 15-14 advantage entering the second quarter.

"I saw great blocking in front of me," Griffin said of his first touchdown run. "My linemen, my fullback and my receivers all got downfield to give me the blocks I needed."

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