CANAJOHARIE - Dillan Veeder returned two punts for touchdowns and the Canajoharie Cougars punched in four more on the ground as they shut down the Schoburg Indian Eagles, 40-0, Friday.
The Cougars (4-1 overall, 4-1 Class D South) dominated the Indian Eagles (2-3 overall, 1-2 Class D South) wire-to-wire, outperforming the inexperienced upstart in nearly every phase of the game while holding them to minus-3 yards of total offense.
Schoburg hung with Canajoharie early, allowing just one field goal to the Cougars through one quarter after fumbling and turning the ball over on their first drive of the evening. Canajoharie would march down the field on their ensuing drive using a steady rushing diet of Nathan Ferguson, but Jordan Griswold's 38-yard field goal attempt was blocked. The Cougars, however, seemed to find their offensive rhythm after Griswold converted a 31-yard field goal just before the start of the second quarter.
Canajoharie’s Alex Dilorenzo, left, runs for a gain during Friday’s Class D South Division game against Schoburg. (The Leader-Herald/Shaun Anich)
Starting their first drive of the quarter from Schoburg's 44-yard line, the Cougars ran the ball seven times before Ferguson found the end zone for his first of two touchdown rushes on the night. Schoburg returned the kickoff to midfield but fumbled and lost the ball for the second time in the game. The Cougars went 49 yards in eight plays, the final of which was a 1-yard punch-in by Ferguson.
One of the few standout plays for the Indian Eagles came late in the second quarter when Drew Rice intercepted Canajoharie quarterback Jace Fox in the end zone. Schoburg went three and out before punting to Veeder, who returned the ball 47 yards for Canajoharie's third touchdown of the quarter. While Fox didn't have a big game throwing the ball for Canajoharie, the Cougars used their speed to exploit Schoburg on the ground as often as possible.
Showing desperation, the Indian Eagle's attempted an unsuccessful onside kick to begin the second half. Zach Ruszkowski ran in a touchdown for the Cougars in the quarter, and Veeder outdid himself with a 68-yard punt return that gave Canajoharie a 34-0 lead and officially put the game out of reach for Schoburg.
The Indian Eagles blocked another Griswold field goal in the fourth, but the bad far outweighed the good for Schoburg on Friday. Schoburg put four fumbles on the ground, losing two of them. Lack of blocking on the part of the Schoburg offensive line meant very little running room for running back Connor Brown. Starting quarterback Colin Kenyon also struggled, completing just two of four passes for 21 yards before losing snaps to Zackary Thorington midway through the second half.
Robert Clouthier added a late touchdown for the Cougars to seal the rout. Zach Folts recored two sacks for Canajoharie and Trevor Brownell added one.
Ferguson finished with two touchdowns and 104 yards on 23 carries for the Cougars. The Canajoharie defense held Schoburg to minus-21 yards rushing on 31 attempts.
The Cougars will look to push their winning streak to three games next Friday when they welcome Hoosic Valley. Schoburg will host Bishop Gibbons/Spa Catholic at Duanesburg High School next Saturday.
Canajoharie 40, Schoburg 0
Schoburg0 0 0 0 - 0
Canajoharie3 18 3 6 - 40
CAN - Griswold 33 field goal
CAN - Ferguson 3 run (kick failed)
CAN - Ferguson 1 run (run failed)
CAN - Veeder 47 punt return (pass failed)
CAN - Ruszkowski 1 run (kick failed)
CAN - Veeder 68 punt return (Griswold kick)
CAN - Clothier 21 run (kick blocked)