By Isabelle Kelly and Julian Silva-Forbes
On Saturday, the Shaker Blue Bison marched into Saratoga’s home turf with a mission: to continue their undefeated season. The Bison did not only secure the win but dominated the game, winning 49-0.
“Everybody was really involved; we all were just watching a lot of film this week and getting ready for [Saratoga],” said Shaker senior defensive back John Graney. “We knew they had some big players, so we had to lock those guys down.”
Shaker’s dynamic backfield, led by Porter Ninstant and Donovan Deguire, set the Blue Bison up for early success and contributed to the team’s seven touchdowns on the ground. “We were disciplined, and we came out with energy from start to finish. We looked at the score but didn’t ease off at all. We just kept the energy and built off it,” said Shaker senior halfback Daniel Iyok.
Despite the score, Saratoga kept their poise in the first half. On several plays, senior quarterback Sean Hudson danced his way out of the pocket, hoping to find another blue jersey on the receiving end of the ball. “On offense, our pass plays were good … Sean [Hudson] was really good. With minimal time, he was able to scramble well,” said Saratoga junior defensive lineman Dylan Murphy.
In the drive preceding halftime, the Blue Streaks advanced into Shaker territory with the help of Hudson’s mobility and athleticism. Saratoga was able to keep the ball after a fake punt facilitated by Hudson. Though Saratoga seemed to finally find their groove, an intentional grounding penalty put the Blue Streaks’ drive to a halt, ending their hopes of scoring points in the first half.
“We had to work on our [defensive] line to contain [Hudson],” said Graney. “We had some trouble early on containing him, but he had a good game. He’s a good player.”
After halftime, Saratoga continued to struggle in offensive production. Spending most of their time in their own territory, the Blue Streaks could not seem to solve Shaker’s defensive schemes. Low snaps, missed catches, and defensive pressure left Saratoga scoreless.
Shaker was able to capitalize off Saratoga’s mishaps, adding three more rushing touchdowns in the second half, scored by Ninstant, Deguire, and senior Marquis Potts, ensuring that their record improved to 3-0.
Though Saratoga was unable to succeed at home, getting the opportunity to play a season was a win in itself. “Some of us seniors thought we were gonna lose this season. All of us care about this sport so much… It just feels great to actually be out here playing,” said Saratoga senior center Ian Whitcomb.
The Blue Streaks will conclude their condensed season away against Colonie on April 10.
Edit: A previous version of this post mistakenly contained a photo from Saratoga’s game against CBA on March 20th.