CANAJOHARIE - It was a successful homecoming game for the Canajoharie football team.
After suffering their first loss of the season last week to Rensselaer, the Cougars lined up again in front of their home fans Friday night and delivered a dominating 41-0 shutout against Notre Dame Bishop Gibbons
"Anytime you get the momentum going your way after a tough loss like that is important," Canajoharie coach Ken Sullivan said. "They moved the ball on us at first but we bent and did not break. We stepped up and got the breaks to get us going in that direction."
Josh Kost (32), Justin Braemer (5), Zach Folts, back, and Trever Brownell, right, bring down Bishop Gibbons’ David Haskell during Friday’s Class D South Division game at Canajoharie High School. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)
The Golden Knights (0-5 overall) put the ball in the hands of halfback Jaylen McIntyre five straight times and moved the ball to the Canajoharie 32. Then the Cougars' defense stepped up, sacking quarterback David Haskell and then recovering a fumble on a bad snap to take possession on the Bishop Gibbons 45.
On the second snap from scrimmage, Kevin Shannon ran to his right only to be met by a wall of defenders. He switched fields, got a key block from Dillan Veeder, and sprinted around the left side for a 45-yard touchdown run.
A second Bishop Gibbons fumble led to a second first-quarter touchdown for the Cougars.
Alex Renzi carried the ball 22 yards, setting up Shannon's second touchdown of the game, a 12-yard run, to help build the Cougars' lead to 14-0 after a pair of Jordan Griswold extra-point kicks.
The Cougars suffered a setback as Bishop Gibbons' Chris Krause recovered a Renzi fumble on their 15 yard line. The Golden Knights possession was shortlived as Jordan Brownell stepped in front of a Haskell pass to give the Cougars possession on the Bishop Gibbons 33.
The Cougars capitalized on the interception when Nick Taylor found Zach Folts open over the middle for a 33-yard touchdown strike and a 21-0 halftime lead.
It did not take long for the Cougars to extend their lead to 28-0 as Seth Ferguson took the second-half kickoff back 75 yards for a touchdown. Griswold's kick bumped the score to 28-0.
The first offensive possession of the second half was successful for the Cougars. After a pair of incomplete passes, Taylor handed the ball to Shannon who broke an 85-yard touchdown run down the right sideline to help extended the Cougars lead to 35-0.
"He makes the most of his runs," Sullivan said of Shannon. "He gets through level one and then he makes people miss."
The Cougars' defense set up the final touchdown of the game. Ian O'Neil recovered a Brendan Maloney fumble on the Bishop Gibbons 45.
After the Golden Knights stopped Shannon for a loss, backup quarterback Jace Fox connected with Dillan Veeder for a 56-yard touchdown pass to put the final score at 41-0.
"You want to give your senior players touches to keep them in the game but you also want to get the underclassmen in . . . that is what keeps you program going," Sullivan said. "I am proud of how hard the kids worked. I am happy with the line and how everybody did."
Shannon finished the game with 185 yards and three touchdowns on eight carries. Renzi picked up 60 yards on four carries.
The Cougars' defense recovered five fumbles and pulled in an interception.
Canajoharie (4-1 overall, 1-1 Class D South) will travel to play Catholic Central next Friday before hosting Cambridge on Oct. 12.
"If we can get our blocking situated and we worked on our passing game a bit tonight," Sullivan said. "If we can get that going a little bit better, hopefully things will fall into place as the season goes on."
Canajoharie 41, Bishop Gibbons 0
Bishop Gibbons0 0 0 0 - 0
Canajoharie14 7 14 6 - 41
C - Kevin Shannon 45 run (Jordan Griswold kick), 6:49.
C - Shannon 12 run (Griswold kick), 4:33.
C - Zach Folts 33 pass from Nick Taylor (Griswold kick), 10:09.
C - Seth Ferguson 75 kick off return (Griswold kick), 11:38.
C - Shannon 85 run (Griswold kick), 7:17.
C - Dillan Veeder 56 pass from Jace Fox (kick wide), 8:20.