By Tyler Charnik and Jared Nightingale
The Saratoga Blue Streaks defeated the Shenendehowa Plainsmen on Friday October 26 with a final score of 34-26, despite a late comeback attempt from the Plainsmen.
Junior Quarterback Jake Williams’ opened the scoring for Saratoga in the first quarter with his first of two touchdowns. The first was caught by junior receiver Christian Kondo putting the Blue Streaks ahead early in the game, 7-0.
The Saratoga offense tended to throw the ball more than their usual run-based game plan. “I thought Jake played outstanding, he made some great throws under pressure” Coach Jones said postgame.
The plainsmen responded with a touchdown of their own as the first quarter was winding down with a 1-yard rush from Shen senior Patrick McCane but missed the extra point attempt, failing to tie the game at seven.
Saratoga senior Carter Steingraber returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown to increase the Blue Streak lead to 8 points over the Plainsmen. Steingraber said “We knew we really wanted to get our revenger from last week.”
The Blue Streak defense forced multiple punts along with key turnovers including two pick sixes, by seniors Chris Klimek and Will Bonacio. The defense was strong to start off the game, but the Shenendehowa comeback in the tail end of the game tested the strength of the Blue Streak defense.
Penalties plagued scoring opportunities for the Blue Streaks and increased the opportunities for the Plainsmen. Coach Jones said, “We need to clean up the penalties, but I also think there were some things missed on the other side.”
Shenendehowa cut the deficit to 8 after a touchdown pass from junior Evan Bean to senior James Altenburger, making the score 20-12 in favor of Saratoga, after a missed extra point by the Plainsmen.
The score remained 20-12 when the teams headed to the locker room at halftime. The third quarter lacked offense, both sides failed to score.
The Streaks opened the fourth quarter with a pair of touchdowns before Shen’s response. The Plainsmen mounted a comeback after Saratoga raised the score to 34-12. Shen’s first touchdown arrived thanks to quarterback Evan Bean, who connected with Carson Singh to cut Saratoga’s lead to 34-19.
Shenendehowa executed a perfect onside kick, which they recovered, allowing for a drive that resulted in a rushing touchdown from junior Billy Beach. Shenendehowa moved within one score with just under seven minutes in the final quarter. The Plainsmen defense forced a turnover on downs, but Bean threw an interception on his first throw of the drive, giving the ball back to the Streaks.
Saratoga turned over the ball on downs again, giving Shen 23.8 seconds to tie up the game. They drove down the field, but a pass deflection by Bonacio sealed the victory for the Blue Streaks.
Shenendehowa’s loss ends their season. “We fought hard, it didn’t go our way, but we had a good year,” quarterback Evan Bean said after their season ending loss.
The Saratoga Blue Streaks face off against Shaker on Friday, November 2 at the University of Albany at 7:00 p.m.