Thursday, September 2, 2010

Shaker socks Colonie, Bison reclaim Town of Colonie Cup

LATHAM — For the sixth straight year, the Town of Colonie Cup was thrust into the hands of a new owner.

Yet for the first time in a decade, the game wasn’t even close.

Shaker High School senior quarterback Ben Capeless passed for 172 yards and a pair of touchdowns, the Blue Bison running backs gained 249 yards on the ground and archrival Colonie was limited to 31 rushing yards on 29 attempts as Shaker posted a 34-0 Class AA Liberty Division victory on Arthur E. Walker Field.

“It’s always a close game and we did not expect this,” said first-year Shaker head coach Greg Sheeler. “Colonie is a good team and they’re going to get it going. I’m sure they’re going to get it going during the year. We just executed very well and we planned on getting this.”

Shaker High School's Steven Brown goes end over end during Thursday's victory over Colonie. (Photos by J.S. Carras - The Record).

Following the game, Town of Colonie Supervisor Paula Mahan handed Sheeler the Town of Colonie Cup, but that wasn’t all. Ed Dopp, the Athletic Director at Shaker High School, handed Sheeler the game ball and promised that all players would sign it in honor of his first victory with the Bison.

The drive of the game came late in the first quarter. Starting the drive on his own seven yard line, Capeless was sacked on first down and taken down at the two-yard line. Following a three-yard run by Bernard Maxwell, the Bison faced a third-and-twelve situation in the shadow of the end zone.

With a pass play called, Capeless liked what he saw on the outside with wide receiver Adrian Valentino, the pair changed the route at the line. 95 yards later, Valentino was in the end zone on the receiving end of Capeless’ second touchdown pass of the game.

Shaker High center and linebacker Bryan Egan (61) celebrates a play with teammates during Thursday's 34-0 victory over archrival Colonie. (Carras photo - The Record).

“I saw they had tight coverage on my main receiver Adrian Valentino and whenever you see that, you max check and check a route,” Capeless said. “Adrian, on tight coverage, he’s a fast kid. He got right by the guy, I put the ball up in the air, and he made his play.”

With 1:52 to play in the first quarter, the Blue Bison had taken a two-touchdown lead, a rarity in recent play in the Town of Colonie Cup series. The previous 10 games had all been decided by 10 or fewer points.

“I think that was the big move for us,” Sheeler said. “Adrian made a big move down the sideline and Ben could not have thrown a better ball.”

Colonie still holds the all-time edge in the series, which dates back to 1980, 22-9.

Thursday’s game, always a passionately played, featured five unsportsmanlike conduct penalty calls, one late hit call and one roughing the passer penalty.

Shaker’s Michael Monfils and Schuyler Huntington provided sacks on the defensive side of the ball. Colonie’s offense struggled to gain traction in the hot and humid weather Thursday evening, managing just four first downs not including those caused by Shaker penalties.

Shaker's Sam Hyatt (1) and Jon Hewitt (72) attempt to tackle Colonie's Davion Brink during Thursday's annual Town of Colonie Cup game. (Carras photo - The Record).

Colonie’s Davion Brink, who also led the team with 21 rushing yards on 10 attempts, intercepted a pass thrown by Capeless late in the second quarter.

Shaker played without senior running back Conor Alund and senior tight end Chris Sherwin, both of whom are currently week-to-week while they deal with injuries, Sheeler confirmed.

The running back trio of Kyle Bernard (93 yards), Bernard Maxwell (53 yards, one touchdown), and Ryan Griffin (52 yards, two touchdowns), certainly played the part in Alund’s absence.

“When Conor got hurt, we had to step up,” Griffin said. “Just like when Christian Sherwin, our tight end, got hurt, freshmen stepped up. Everyone fills in their places and we have a real team.”

“I don’t think it could be any more perfect,” Capeless said. “It’s the way we wanted to start off our season and we can’t wait to go in Week Two. We’re already thinking about Schenectady. Colonie is off our minds. It’s all about Schenectady now.”

"I think we take it for what it is," Sheeler said. "Tomorrow we have to have a short memory because we have Schenectady next week and they’re going to be a bear. We’ll make sure we have a short memory and come ready to play."

Shaker's Kyle Bernard is tackled by Colonie's Rich Bell during Thursday's Class AA Liberty Division game in Latham. (Carras photo - The Record).

Colonie (0-0, 0-0) 0 0 0 0 - 0
Shaker (0-0, 0-0) 14 7 7 6 - 34
First Quarter
S - Sam Hyatt 20 pass from Ben Capeless (Ryan Griffin kick) 6:46
S - Adrian Valentino 95 pass from Capeless (Griffin kick) 1:52
Second Quarter
S - Griffin 1 run (Griffin kick) 3:28
Third Quarter
S - Griffin 6 run (Griffin kick) 1:40
Fourth Quarter
S - Bernard Maxwell 10 run (Griffin kick blocked) 4:13
Individual Statistics
Rushing: Colonie (29-31): Brink 10-21, Hirsch 3-15, Monin 3-10, Cuoccio 2-6, Schroeder 1-4, Williamson 5-(-9), Wutzer 5-(-16). Shaker (41-249): Bernard 12-93, Griffin 11-52, Maxwell 8-53, Kisselbeck 1-24, O’Brien 4-28, Hyatt 1-3, Souza 1-5, Capeless 3-(-9).
Passing: Colonie: Wutzer 3-10-13-0-0, Schroeder 1-1-14-0-0. Shaker: Capeless 6-9-172-2-1.
Receiving: Colonie (4-13): Sainato 1-14, Allen 1-14, Brink 1-0, Cross 1-(-1). Shaker (6-172): Valentino 4-132, Hyatt 1-20, Canfield 1-20.

Town of Colonie Cup recent history
2010, Shaker 34, Colonie 0
2009, Colonie 27, Shaker 19
2008, Shaker 44, Colonie 34
2007, Colonie 31, Shaker 28
2006, Shaker 20, Colonie 19
2005, Colonie 17, Shaker 14
2004, Colonie 20, Shaker 13

I've been experimenting with a new digital still camera lately, so here are a few images I was able to snag during Thursday's game.

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