Feeling Blue


After starting undefeated in the regular season for the fourth year in a row, the Shaker football team lost in the first round of the sectional playoffs to Shenendehowa; the first time the Blue Bison lost to Shen in a decade. The Bison now go back to the drawing board in the offseason to figure out what is going on in the playoffs.

After a shortened season that ended just last April, and two straight home playoff losses to Guilderland in back to back years, there was thought inside the program that this year may be different. There was a good mix of some new blood seeing the field for this football team, highlighted by sophomore quarterback Jake Iacobaccio. In week one, the Bison came out strong at home against Burnt Hills, with a commanding 28-7 win. This win showed the Blue Bison’s explosiveness across the board on offense and defense. The next week, Shaker started league play with a bang, crushing Schenectady 62-26. The Bison would then run into a very tough stretch in their schedule, with three of their next four games being decided by 14 points or less. The Bison would beat Shen 28-14, then blow out Colonie on homecoming weekend 44-0. After that, the Bison would play two scarily close games against CBA and Guilderland, winning 19-13 and 14-12, respectively. Shaker would then handle Bethlehem and Saratoga to finish out the regular season 8-0, undefeated for the fourth year in a row.

The Blue Bison would enter the playoffs against bitter rival Shenendehowa with a new found energy. Senior linebacker and guard Ryan Mazzariello would return after missing two games and junior tackle Anthony Schrom would make his season debut. The Bison had a lot of confidence, but for good reason as they already took down Shen once this season. Shaker would come out very slow, as they weren’t able to find the endzone until late in the second quarter and would trail at halftime 10-7. Although the defense was showing up big time, the offense could not get going. The balanced rushing attack was being contained and Iacobaccio threw an uncharacteristic interception. The second half was more of the same as the offense would come out slow again. The defense kept Shaker in the game as they trailed by 10 heading into the fourth quarter. The sense of urgency within the offense increased and they needed a big play. This would be delivered by senior wide receiver Malcolm Robinson as he made a beautiful catch in the back corner of the endzone to bring the Bison within three with about four minutes left. It wouldn’t be enough, however, as this would be the last points the Bison would score. Mistakes on key plays and a hail mary prayer on fourth down that was not answered kept the Bison from advancing to the finals.

Now, as the offseason begins once again with no new hardware, head coach Greg Sheeler and his staff are left searching for answers. With a smaller graduating class and a majority of starters returning for 2022, the Bison are set up well for next year. Someone needs to figure out how to flip the switch by playoff time as the narrative that Shaker is a regular season team is continuing to be built.