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Football: Shaker outlasts Niskayuna in Liberty shootout

Griffin scores four touchdowns to give Bison division-clinching win

— Niskayuna's offense continued to find ways to aggravate Shaker's defense, though. A 23-yard pass from Chris Herman to Uwem Akpanikat on fourth-down-and-long gave the Silver Warriors a first-and-goal at the Blue Bison's 6-yard line. O'Brien scored on a 2-yard run two plays later, and Herman connected with Akpanikat on a two-point conversion pass to put Niskayuna ahead 22-15.

Shaker regained momentum in the final four minutes of the first half. Tyler Oppelt scored on a 20-yard touchdown run to pull the Blue Bison within one point. A shanked Niskayuna punt then gave Shaker the ball at the Silver Warriors' 25-yard line. Three plays later, Griffin scored on a 6-yard run to put the Blue Bison ahead 27-22.

Shaker's momentum carried over into the third quarter. Griffin took off on a 50-yard touchdown run less than four minutes into the period, and he added the extra point kick following two missed attempts by McClenahan to make the score 34-22.

Herman threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Akpanikat later in the third quarter to cut Shaker's 12-point lead in half, but Griffin bulldozed his way into the end zone from one yard out on the Blue Bison's ensuing series to give Shaker a 41-28 advantage.

In the midst of the offensive fireworks, a key defensive play sealed Shaker's victory. Jackson intercepted Herman on the first play of the fourth quarter and returned the ball to Niskayuna's 45-yard line. Nearly four minutes later, freshman tailback Andrew Bolton scored his first varsity touchdown on an 8-yard run to give the Blue Bison a 48-28 lead.

Bolton carried the ball seven times for 53 yards, and Jackson ran three times for 84 yards in support of Griffin's big night for Shaker.

"Our offense executed well tonight, and it's not always going to be like that for us," said Sheeler.

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