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Football: Blue Bison block their way past Shen

Special teams plays help Shaker advance to semifinals

Shaker’s Mike Mainella dives to tackle a Shenendehowa player during last Friday’s Section II Class AA quarterfinal game in Latham.

Shaker’s Mike Mainella dives to tackle a Shenendehowa player during last Friday’s Section II Class AA quarterfinal game in Latham. Robert Goo

— It took a blocked field goal to get the Shaker football team into the Section II Class AA semifinals.

Patrick Hoey stuffed Matthew Drum’s kick as time expired to preserve the Blue Bison’s 23-21 quarterfinal victory over Shenendehowa in last Friday’s quarterfinal game in Latham.

The Plainsmen (5-3) rallied from a 20-7 deficit to take a one-point lead in the fourth quarter on Oliver Robinson’s 1-yard touchdown run and Drum’s extra point. Shaker drove to Shen’s 20-yard line later in the period, where Will Halpin drilled a 37-yard field goal to put the Blue Bison ahead by two points.

Shen still had a chance to win the game. The Plainsmen reached Shaker’s 10-yard line with less than five seconds left in the fourth quarter to set up Drum’s field goal attempt. But, Hoey crashed through Shen’s offensive line and made a clean block on the ball to seal the Blue Bison’s victory.

Shaker stormed out of the gate when quarterback Matt Woods connected with wide receiver Lloyd Smalling on an 85-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter. Woods later added a 1-yard scoring run to give the Blue Bison a 14-0 lead on Shen.

The Plainsmen cut Shaker’s lead in half on Drum’s 4-yard touchdown run and extra point in the second quarter, but tailback Michael Tanu scored on a 7-yard run for the Blue Bison. A missed extra point by Halpin kept the score at 20-7 going into halftime.

Two Shen touchdowns in the fourth quarter put the Plainsmen ahead 21-20. Matt Taft scored on a 3-yard run, and Robinson added a 1-yard scoring plunge a short time later.

Shen’s lead didn’t last long, though, as Shaker put together one more scoring drive to advance into the semifinals.

The Blue Bison host Saratoga Springs (7-1) in Friday’s Sectional playoffs. The Blue Streaks fended off a late charge by LaSalle to defeat the Cadets 48-27.

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