When the restaurants and the family owned businesses in downtown Alden sport the “Lets Go Bulldogs” and “Bulldog Nation” posters in their front windows, you know it’s homecoming season. All of the residents in Alden are diehard Bulldogs fans, even when they are matched up with the best team in the entire state, the Canisius Crusaders. On a brisk autumn Friday night, the Crusaders came in and spoiled the Bulldogs’ homecoming game winning big, 55-7.
“Alden was fired up – what a great atmosphere,” Canisius head coach Rich Robbins said following the game. “When we pulled into town, signs were all over the restaurants and the stores coming down Main Street, so they were really excited for their homecoming.”
Canisius, who scored exactly 55 points for the second consecutive game, was led offensively by their run game, especially by Cole Burniston and Kenyatta Huston. Burniston and Huston both contributed 100-yard performances in the Crusaders non-league victory. This is also the fifth consecutive game where Canisius has had at least four different players register a touchdown.
Huston rushed over the century mark for the second straight game in the win. He unofficially ran for 104 yards on five carries and was one of six players to score on the ground for the Crusaders.
“They had really good blocking,” Huston said about his offensive line. “Without them I wouldn’t be able to get the yards and the touchdowns that I get.”
Other notable offensive players for the Crusaders attack were RaeQwon Greer who ran the ball unofficially six times for 66 yards and scored once, and quarterback Jayce Johnson was 7-for-10 passing, 88 yards and two touchdowns, while scoring once on the ground.
“(Alden) came out on fire and we got a little bit of a slow start,” Coach Robbins stated. “It’s our first night game and first time playing on grass. Once we blocked out the distractions in the elements we got rolling after that.”
Alden, who could not muster anything on offense, was led primarily by Christian Snell who scored a 76-yard rushing touchdown with five minutes left in the 4th quarter to eliminate the potential of a Canisius shutout. Snell unofficially ran the ball 21 times for 155 yards, which is quite impressive, especially against a very solid Canisius defensive squad.
“That’s a class program over there,” Alden head coach Rob Currin stated. “At the end of the day, this experience is going to make us better. We just saw first-hand what the upper assailant of New York State football is and now we know what to do to get better.”
Canisius (5-0) will be handed an extremely tough set of games coming up as they will travel to Youngstown, Ohio next weekend to face Cardinal Mooney before coming home to play road games against St. Joe’s and Timon. They will then face off with Erie Cathedral Prep, from Pennsylvania, to close out the regular season.
“We’ve got a tough stretch coming up. We have four road games in a row,” Coach Robbins said about the road ahead. “We go to Cardinal Mooney at Youngstown State University next week, then we’ve got two out of state monster opponents, with Timon and St. Joe’s sandwiched in between. We’re about to go on a four-game stretch where we’re really going to be tested and I think it will be good for us.”
Alden (3-2) was eliminated from claiming the Class B East title following Medina/Lyndonville’s 50-15 win over Depew on Friday night. The Bulldogs, however, will vie for second place, as they will play in a critical final divisional game next Friday against Lackawanna. They will the play Section V’s University Prep to close out their season.
“We have two good football teams on the schedule next,” Coach Currin said. “I find it hard to believe if anybody is this caliber that’s left on our schedule, or in all of Class B in Section VI or in all of Class B in the state. I can’t see a way out of this doing anything other than making us better.”