Thursday, September 4, 2008

Week one games to watch

Class AA
Colonie (2007: 4-2, 5-4) at La Salle (6-0, 9-2), Friday, 7 p.m.
About Colonie: Head coach Mike Ambrosio is taking a year leave to watch his son Mark play at Shaker, with John Preston holding the interim reins. Ishmal McCann is the main man in the backfield, with fellow team captain Billy Westfall leading the way on the offensive line. The Raiders qualified for the playoffs last year, but lost in the first round to Shenendehowa, 28-14.
About La Salle: The defending Section II champions are counting on underclassmen to step up in 2008. Junior Mike Murray takes over at the quarterback spot and senior tight end Mike Blais and junior wide receiver R.J. Williams may be his biggest targets. Senior running back Marquis Terrell ran for 1,926 yards in 2007, the ninth-highest single season total in Section II history.
Notable: La Salle head coach Al Rapp has 74 career victories in his career, which also included a stint at Cambridge. The Cadets begin the season with three con¬secutive home games before hitting the road for three straight. Monroe-Woodbury (Section IX), who knocked La Salle out in the New York State Class AA quarterfinals in 2007, travels to Troy for a game on Sept. 19.

Niskayuna (2-4, 2-6) at Columbia (0-6, 1-8), Friday, 7 p.m.

About Niskayuna: The Silver Warriors missed the playoffs in 2007 and will rely on two sophomore starters this year. Nick Schuler, 6-foot-0, 190, will make some noise at linebacker and Mitchell Russell, 6-1, 290, is a starter on the offensive line. Danny Peters, senior quarterback, created over 1,500 yards of total offense a year ago and should be even more comfortable with another year of experience under his belt.
About Columbia: Seniors Bobby Peluso, fullback, and Jim Madden, tailback, will lead the Blue Devils’ rushing game, while seniors Ian Bridegroom and Dan Maloney will pave the way on the offensive line. Columbia did not win a game in Section II last season, defeating Valley Central of Section IX, 12-3, for their only victory of the season. Shane Reed and Joe Viola will be a strong pair of wide receivers and defensive backs for Columbia.
Notable: This is the first game on the brand-new field turf surface at Columbia High. Tom Arcidiacono, a former Columbia High and Union College standout running back, is an assistant coach for the Blue Devils. Scott Sabourin, the head coach at Mohonasen for 12 years, is now an assistant with Niskayuna. Sabourin left his post at Mohonasen in May.

Class A Glens Falls (3-1, 4-5) at Lansingburgh (4-0, 11-2), Friday, 7 p.m.
About Glens Falls: The Indians should have an explo¬sive backfield with quarterback Kyle Kelly and running back Dan Morrison back for their senior seasons. Kelly was one of the leagues top passers last year and Morrison, a pow¬erfully built back at 5-10 180 pounds, ran for over 900 yards and scored 13 touchdowns. The Indians are coached by Pat Lilac, who has built an impressive 50-25 record in eight years. The Indians lost to Bishop Maginn 27-0 in the class A quarterfinals last year.
About Lansingburgh: The Knights graduated most of last year’s Class A championship team that made it to the Carrier Dome for the state championship game. Quarterback Connor Gallo, running back and class A player-of-the-year Kenny Youngs, Nyquan McGirt, and The Record’s 2007 defensive player of the year Chris Sawyer have all graduated. Marcus Hepp, the third option behind Youngs and McGirt last year, will be the No. 1 back this year. Hepp should do just fine being the featured back, the stoutly built back ran for 1,029 yards and 14 touchdowns as a jun¬ior. T.J. McLaughlin takes the reigns at quarterback and is comfortable in coach Pete Porcelli’s double wing system.
Notable: The most intriguing match up could come in the trenches. Glens Falls has an experienced offensive line with four starters returning and will be going up against a new Lansingburgh defensive unit. If the Indians are going to have a chance in the game they’ll have to control the line of scrimmage and give Morrison holes to run through. The Knights will counter with a line of Daquan Davis, Mike Caro, Santell Mauzon and 6-foot-7 230 pound transfer Tyler Hammett.

Amsterdam (3-1, 7-2) at Bishop Maginn (3-1, 6-3), Friday, 7 p.m.
About Amsterdam: The Rugged Rams will rely on a mostly untested and inexperienced group in 2008. Quarterback Frank Peluso has seen limited real game action at the varsity level and will have an offensive line with mainly junior varsity experience in front of him. The key for the Rams will be depend the success of its backs, Ben Miseikis, Dan McNamara and Tom Regal. Amsterdam made it to the 2007 class A semifinals before falling to Burnt Hills 22-19.
About Bishop Maginn: All signs point to a big season for the Golden Griffins this year. The key will be having that tal¬ent on paper translate to success on the field. Quarterback Bunduka Kargbo was a 2007 all-state selection at defensive back and is experienced under center. James Torres, The Record’s third team all-area tight end, brings size and speed to the Maginn offense along with wide outs T.J. Jefferson, Jarel Turner and Rohan Rose. The Griffs lost to Lansingburgh in the 2007 class A semifinals 40-20.
Notable: This week one match up pits two of the top coaches in all of Section II against each other, Joe Grasso at Bishop Maginn and Pat Liverio of Amsterdam. Grasso is currently second on the winningest active coaches list with a 172-128-6 record. Grasso is entering his 33rd season having coached at Vincentian Institute and Maginn. Liverio has made Amsterdam one of the premier programs since his start in 1996. He is fourth on the active wins list with a 107-21-1 record.

Class B Cohoes (3-2, 4-5) at Johnstown (1-4, 3-6), Friday, 7 p.m.
About Cohoes: Senior quarterback Mark Gallerie took over as signal caller midway through last season and has a big target in senior tight end Sean Littlejohn. While their skill players are poised for an impressive season, they will owe it all to the offensive linemen, who won the 2008 Linemen Challenge competition at the University at Albany.
About Johnstown: Craig Cook and Marcus Whitman combined for just under 1,000 yards rushing as juniors and will form a two-headed running attack for the Sir Bills in 2008. Johnstown did not qualify for the playoffs in 2007, but senior quarterback Jake Arrunategui will be expected to lead a new wingback system the Sir Bills installed a year ago.
Notable: The Sir Bills have not had a winning season since 1995, when they went 7-2 but lost in the Section II Class B semifinals to Albany Academy 21-20 in overtime. Cohoes’ last winning season was 2002, when the Tigers went 5-4.

Class C
Watervliet (6-1, 7-2) at Chatham (6-1, 7-2), Friday, 7 p.m.
About Watervliet: The Cannoneers had a breakout season last year under first year coach Erick Bernard. The Record’s all-area selection Caleb Gleason is back for his senior season and will see action at running back and line¬backer. Chris Hughes replaces the graduated Mike Cooney at quarterback after spending last year in the Cannoneer secondary. Erick Bernard, who was named The Record’s coach of the year, has revitalized the Watervliet program after back-to-back losing seasons in 2005 and 2006. Watervliet lost to Schuylerville 6-0 in the 2007 class C semifinals.
About Chatham: The Panthers lost their leader and class C player of the year Zach Kraham to graduation. Kraham will play baseball at UAlbany. Head coach Mark Dwyer feels this year’s team is deeper than the 7-2 squad of a year ago. Parker Niles takes over at quarterback after backing up Kraham for three years and has to take advan¬tage of the speed Chatham possesses at the skill positions. The Panthers were the 2007 South Division champions and lost to Cambridge 2-0 in the class C championship.
Notable: This game will be interesting in that both schools will be replacing its respective standout quarter¬backs. Kraham was a staple under center for Chatham and a major reason the program has been successful in recent years. Parker Niles may not have the game experience but he’s bound to benefit from being the back up for three years. Watervliet’s Mike Cooney was the unquestioned leader for the Cannoneers and his name is dotted through¬out the schools record book. Hughes has all the tools to succeed himself, rangy, athletic and confident. Both quar¬terbacks would love to kick things off with a win.

-- Complied by Ryan Kircher and Will Montgomery

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

looking forward to a match-up between Troy and BH

September 16, 2008 at 1:01 PM 

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