By: Aidan Joly
Having to retain a late lead and hold down a hard-charging offense, Saratoga did just that en route to a victory over Shenendehowa on Friday night at Saratoga High School by a final score of 28-14.
Saratoga went into the second half with a 21-point advantage. As sports go, the game was not over yet. It took just over three minutes into the second half for the Plainsmen to put points on the board, scoring via a three-yard rush from Kiernan Shanahan to make it 21-7. Late in the third, however, is when things started to get crazy. On the first play of a Shenendehowa drive, quarterback Brendan Belott threw a bomb to Cole Vincenzi who found the end zone for an 89-yard touchdown pass, part of a 183-yard passing night for Belott.
On the first play of the ensuing Saratoga drive, Wes Eglintine found Carter Steingraber for a 69-yard touchdown pass to bring the lead back to two touchdowns at 28-14 with a minute left in the third quarter. That was the second of Steingraber’s two touchdowns on the night, and he came up big with 156 yards on just four receptions.
“I was wide open, and Wes (Eglintine) did the rest,” Steingraber said.
“Wes threw a hell of a pass to Carter that beat him over the top and got momentum back to our side. We knew that there was potential for some big plays, we felt confident coming in that we could throw the football, and we knew that we had to throw the football to get (Shen) off of coming after us,” Saratoga head coach Terry Jones said.
Saratoga had grabbed a big lead early, with Chris Klimek intercepting a pass and scoring just 22 seconds into the game to give the Blue Streaks the first lead. Later in the first quarter it was Cam Adams running into the end zone from 15 yards out to make it 14-0. Two minutes into the second quarter was when Steingraber had his first touchdown catch of the night, a 49-yarder. That gave Saratoga a big 21-0 advantage heading into the locker room at halftime as well as a big confidence boost.
“We were fortunate to get the interception to start the game. That was really a huge difference because that’s what gave us that separation,” Jones said.
With the win, Saratoga starts the season with a record of 2-0. They will play again on Friday, September 15 as they face Guilderland at home. That one will start at 7 p.m.
Shenendehowa falls to 1-1. They are also back in action that same day as the host the Falcons of Albany. That one is also set for a 7 p.m. start.