Shenendehowa Football Coach Brent Steuerwald Preps Team For Meeting With CBA – Week 6 High School Football Preview
For the second straight week, Shenendehowa football will be involved in another game with an unbeaten team. This time it's CBA of Albany. The two will clash in a big Class AA Empire Division game on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Steuerwald Stadium on the Shenendehowa campus.
Shenendehowa faced previously unbeaten Ballston Spa a week ago and prevailed, 37-20, to stay tied with CBA atop the standings.
The Empire Division shows CBA and Shenendehowa sharing first with 4-0 records, and 5-0 overall, while Ballston Spa is right behind at 3-1, 4-1.
Shenendehowa has beaten Bethlehem (50-0), Guilderland (27-0), Shaker (34-0), Albany (48-0) and Ballston Spa (37-20).
CBA's victories came against LaSalle (43-29), Albany (40-6), Bethlehem (53-3), Guilderland (26-25) and Saratoga (41-14).
"I know its an old cliche, but all the games really are important. The championship caliber teams are the teams that can remain mentally and physically sharp each week, continue to overcome the sudden change or adversity that a football game brings each week. Regardless of the opponent, we continue to work hard, try to get our kids not take short cuts and to get better at taking care of the little things," said CBA head coach Joe Burke.
Cameron Wynn leads the way for CBA with 11 touchdowns this season and gets plenty of support from Earl Ricketts, who has scored six TDs.
Burke is well aware of the kind of season that Shen has experienced already, but also knows there is a lot of football to be played.
"Regardless of the outccome, it is only a week 6 game and while it is big, and will help to clear the dust for playoffs, it is the manner in which we handle the win or loss that will have a huge impact on whether or not we make it past the first week of the playoffs. This will help with our growth as a team. With all this said...this is a big game for our kids and for our school and its community, and they deserve it. Every year there are many late-season big games in every classification. We will prepare to win and do our best not to disappoint. Our kids expect to win this game," said Burke.
Much of the attention for Shen was on its defense and not allowing a point in the first four games. They outscored opponents, 159-0. Steuerwald knew he wasn't going to silence Ballston Spa. It took the Scotties less than two minutes to reach the scoreboard.
"We responded very well to the score. That was an awakening call. I'm kind of glad that part is over," said Steuerwald. "I think they're (CBA) one of the most talented teams we'll face. We have to prepare for both pass and run."
Burke has considerable praise for Steuerwald and the Plainsmen football program.
"I respect the Shen tradition. They play the game the way it was meant to be played. Each week it is difficult to guage our opponents since we rarely get to see the team in person. All we have to go by is the results of the games which is rarely indicative of the type of game we are in for. The best guage is the live version, actual size, speed and physicality," he said.
Both coaches realize the Class AA schedule doesn't allow a breather week-to-week and the games become more important.
"Our schedules have not permitted us to see them live. I have watched three games on film and have reviewed last year's tape. We had a classic game with Shen last year. Very physical, low scoring defensive dominated game...6 point game. I am hopeful it will be a similiar game with a different outcome. They are fundamentallly sound on defense with very good team speed. They seem to do the right things and their skilled kids find the end zone rather quickly each week. We must stop the run, all the runners, and be sound in pass defense," said Burke.
Shenendehowa beat CBA, 20-14, a year ago.
Tony Fusco takes the spotlight for Shenendehowa in the scoring department with 12 touchdowns. Marcelino Christie has been very productive reaching paydirt five times. Corey Acker adds to the scoring with one touchdown, seven field goals and 14 extra points.
"Each team will know how to handle their drives. What you do has a big impact on the game. Eliminating errors that cost you a possession is a major factor. CBA is a different type of team than Ballston Spa. It's important to move the ball and convert the score. The winner will have a major leg up on the league's championship and No. 1 seed in the playoffs," said Steuerwald.
Steuerwald, who will retire after 44 years on the Shen sidelines, also pointed out this is a critical time of season with the head-to-head matchups in the next two weeks.
A look at the Class AA schedule has CBA playing Ballston Spa and Shenendehowa against Saratoga in Week 7.
This will also mark Steuerwald's final regular-season home game and both coaches realize the extra attention that will be present.
"There will be some distractions I am sure; Senior Night, Homecoming, Brent's last (regular-season) game. Brent, his staff and his kids will shoulder the emotions tied to all of the above. Brent is Shen, but equally important are his contributions and accomplishments to high school football in Section 2 and NYS State. Our preparation will not be interrupted. I will find time to honor coach in my own quiet and personal way," said Burke.
Obviously, Steuerwald has mixed emotions about the evening and thanked the school and community for their support throughout the years.
"It's been 54 years of football in my life. That's not easy to give up. I need to focus on the football game. I try to minimize the other things. I appreciate everything people have done for me. It will be a positive and pleasant experience," he said.
In a Class AA Liberty Division game, Niskayuna travels to Schenectady on Thursday at 7 p.m.
Schenectady enters the game with a 2-1 divisional mark and 2-3 overall and would like nothing better to reach the .500 mark.
"As a team, we are focusing on being as consistent as possible. We believe that we are a good football team.
Niskayuna presents matchup issues because of their spread offense. Yes, they do throw the ball, but people take their run game for granted. We know first hand that their run game is very good and we must focus to minimize their production on the ground and make them one dimensional. Niskayuna is always tough and well- prepared with their special team units and their defense flys to the football," said Schenectady head coach Jim Kramer.
On the other hand, Niskayuna is 2-2 in Liberty action and 2-3 overall. So, it will be a big game for the neighboring schools.
"We expect a hard-fought game between two good teams who are battling for a playoff spot. Coach (John) Furey will have his kids well prepared and ready to play. We are excited to be home after three straight weeks on the road," said Kramer.
There are eight schools still unbeaten and Troy is one of them. The Flying Horses are leading the Class A Southeast Division with a 4-0 record (5-0 overall) and make a short visit to neighboring Lansingburgh (3-1, 4-1) on Friday at 7 p.m.
"We'd like to build off the momentum from last weeks game vs. Maginn. This is a big game as far as seeding for the playoffs. The winner has the inside track for the number one spot from our division going into the Class A playoffs," said Troy head coach Jack Burger.
Contact the respective schools for the official day and time of a game. Many have been changed because of the Jewish holiday.
Article by Mike Collar