Thursday, October 30, 2008

Semifinal weekend: a look ahead


Class AA semifinal

L3 Niskayuna (3-2, 6-2) at L 1Schenectady(4-1, 7-1) Friday, 7 p.m.



About La Salle: The defending Section II Class AA champions used a 239-yard rushing performance from senior tailback Marquis Terrell to defeat Bethlehem 40-14 in a quarterfinal game last week. The Cadets have won seven consecutive Section II Class AA playoff games, including Class AA Super Bowl victories in 2005 and 2007. Junior wide receiver Lou DiNovo bounced back from an injury to grab three passes for 52 yards and two touchdowns against Bethlehem. Junior quarterback Mike Murray has completed 57% of his passes for 862 yards and ten touchdowns, eight of those going to DiNovo.
About Saratoga: The Blue Streaks, ranked No. 19 in New York State, have not lost to a Section II opponent this season. Saratoga defeated Columbia in a quarterfinal game 40-21 thanks to two touchdowns apiece from Leejay Pollacchi and Tony DeLoatch. Running backs DeLoatch (578), Pollacchi (505) and Ben Cook (486) have combined to rush for 1,569 yards. Senior quarterback Collin Mulholland has thrown for 614 yards and six touchdowns. Saratoga is 21-12 all-time in Section II postseason play and have won four Section II titles.
Notable: The last postseason meeting between the two schools was in the 2005 Class AA Super Bowl, which La Salle won, 32-20. Both Saratoga and La Salle have allowed a Class AA-low 120 points, but the Blue Streaks have outscored the Cadets, 305-221. The last school to repeat as the Class AA champion was Shenendehowa, which won titles in 2002 and 2003.







L3 Niskayuna (3-2, 6-2) at L 1Schenectady(4-1, 7-1) Friday, 7 p.m.




About Niskayuna: The Silver Warriors put up 475 yards of offense and held on for a 34-28 victory over Shenendehowa last week for their first sectional win since 2000. The Niskayuna offense is loaded. Quarterback Danny Peters has thrown for 1,702 yards, 26 touchdowns and just five interceptions. Wide outs Kadeem Miller (9) and Peter Furey (10) have combined for 19 touchdowns. Miller caught three touchdown passes against Shenendehowa including the game winner with 1:46 remaining.
About Schenectady: Head coach Carm DePoalo has led a football renaissance in the Electric City this season. The Patriots are the No. 18 ranked Class AA team in the state and are in search of the first Super Bowl appearance in school history. The only blemish on the Patriots schedule is a surprising 17-7 week 7 loss to Shaker. Quarterback Nick Ottati is 72 of 131 for 1, 106 yards, 14 touchdowns and two interceptions.
Notable: The may need to add more numbers to the scoreboard in Schenectady for this one. The Patriots took round one of this match up scoring 21 fourth quarter points for a 64-42 victory over the Silver Warriors. Expect more of the same tonight as these are two of the most potent offenses in Class AA. The Patriots have never made a Super Bowl appearance while Niskayuna hasn’t captured a title since 1996.





Class A semifinal
N2 Amsterdam (5-3) at S1 Bishop Maginn (8-0) Friday, 7 p.m.


About Amsterdam: The Rams have qualified for postseason play for 15 consecutive years, the longest active streak in Section II. Amsterdam is 32-15 all-time in Section II postseason action and the Rams won five straight Section II Class A titles from 2001-05 and they own nine Section II titles in total.
About Maginn: The Griffins defeated Gloversville in a quarterfinal game last week, The record for victories at Maginn is ten, as the Griffins finished 10-0 in 1978 and 1983 and won Section II titles each time.
Notable: The last time these two schools met in the postseason was the 2004 Section II Class A semifinals, a game Amsterdam won 28-13 en route to a Class A title.




Class B Semifinal
W2 Hudson Falls (7-1) at R1 Cohoes (8-0) Saturday, 1:30 p.m.

About Hudson Falls: Senior running back Joe McMurry is the top runner in Section II this season, having gained 1,769 yards on 229 carries. With 4,431 career yards, he holds fourth place on the all-time Section II career rushing list. The Tigers lost to Schalmont in week three (the Sabres held McMurry to 55 yards on 20 attempts) but Hudson Falls has won five straight, including a 36-6 victory over Albany Academy in a quarterfinal game last Saturday. Isaiah Thomas, a senior tight end, leads the Tigers receiving corps with 267 yards and four touchdowns. Senior quarterback Bret Mellon has thrown only 57 times for 436 yards and six touchdowns.
About Cohoes: The Tigers broke a school record for victories in a season with last Saturday’s 26-14 quarterfinal victory over Broadalbin-Perth. The old record was seven, set by the 1996 team that finished 7-2. Senior tailback Steve Weaver eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark with 204 yards on 30 attempts against Broadalbin. Senior quarterback Mark Gallerie has been accurate on his throws, completing 55% of his passes for 538 yards and seven touchdowns. Wide receiver Gary Gill (137 receiving yards) and tight end Sean Littlejohn (132 yards) have been Gallerie’s main targets.
Notable: The two teams have never met before in a postseason contest. Hudson Falls has appeared in the Class B Super Bowl six times and has won three Section II titles, most recently in 2000. Cohoes has never appeared in the Class B Super Bowl, bowing out in the semifinals in 2000 and 2002.





Class C semifinal
S3 Watervliet (6-2) at S1 Chatham (8-0) Saturday, 7 p.m.

About Watervliet: The Cannoneers are 18-11 all-time in Section II postseason play, including a 22-19 quarterfinal victory over Hoosick Falls last Friday. Justin Chludzinski made a game-saving tackle on a goal line stand with second remaining to preserve the victory. Cannoneers quarterback Chris Hughes has thrown for 780 yards and eight touchdowns this season and ran for 110 yards and a touchdown in the victory over Hoosick Falls.
About Chatham: The Panthers, ranked No. 12 in New York State, have outscored opponents by an average of 35 points per game. Chatham defeated Corinth 70-20 in a quarterfinal game last week. Running back Josh Keyes has rushed for 837 yards and 12 touchdowns on 73 carries, while quarterback Parker Niles has gained 377 yards on the ground and scored seven rushing touchdowns. The Panthers have won eight games in a season four times (2008, 2006, 2004 and 1975) but have never won as many as nine. Chatham bowed out in the Class C semifinals last year in a 2-0 loss to Cambridge.
Notable: These two teams met in week one of the regular season and the Panthers survived a late Watervliet score to escape with a 14-6 victory. The two schools have never met before in postseason play.


S2 Fonda (6-1, 7-1) at N1 Schuylerville (6-0, 8-0) Friday, 7 p.m.



About Fonda: The Braves knocked off defending Class C champ Cambridge last week behind Josh Nethaway’s 288 yard, four touchdown performance. Nethaway has completed 94 of 159 passes for 1, 846 yards and 27 touchdowns. Perhaps even more impressive is the senior has thrown just three interceptions in 159 attempts. Fonda is the No. 16 ranked team in the state and is at full strength since the return of its suspended players.
About Schuylerville: The Black Horses dropped 60 on Tamarac in the quarterfinals with quarterback Austin Bateman accounting for seven touchdowns. Bateman ran for four scores, threw for three and converted two extra points. Schuylerville is the No. 6 team in the state and has the third most prolific offense in Section II with 349 points scored.
Notable: This is another match up featuring two high scoring offenses with Schuylerville averaging 43.6 points a game and Fonda at 43.1 a game.

--
Class AA
Team League, Overall Last Week
1. Saratoga Springs 6-0, 7-1 1
The Blue Streaks have a three-headed rushing attack, led by Tony DeLoatch and Leejay Pollachi, who have rushed for over 500 yards each. And Ben Cook (486) isn't far behind.
2. Schenectady 4-1, 7-1 2
The Patriots host Niskayuna in a semifinal game tonight and the first time they met this season, the teams combined for 106 points.
3. La Salle 4-1, 6-2 3
Marquis Terrell picked up 239 rushing yards last week, bringing his career total to 4,011, making him one of only eight players in Section II history to accumulate over 4,000 rushing yards.
4. Niskayuna 3-2, 6-2 5
Danny Peters is the only quarterback in Section II to have attempted more than 200 passes thus far.
5. Shenendehowa 5-1, 5-3 4
The Plainsmen dropped a close decision to Niskayuna last week but junior tailback Suhyab Banks is one of only four players in Section II to have scored 20+ touchdowns in 2008.

Class A
Team League, Overall Last week
1. Burnt Hills 6-0, 8-0 1
The Spartans have rolled to eight consecutive victories by an average margin of 50 to 4 but have yet to face a team the caliber of Troy High. The Burnt Hills defense has posted four shutouts and the most points it allowed all year was 14 to Lansingburgh in week 2.
2. Bishop Maginn 6-0, 8-0 2
The Griffins ground game pounded Gloversville for 354 yards in a 35-14 Class A quarterfinal victory. Tymear Mallory ran for 124 yards and two touchdowns and Josh Panasik had 90 yards and a touchdown.
3. Troy 5-1, 7-1 3
The Horses ball control style will go a long way in deciding the winner of the Troy-Burnt Hills semifinal match up. Troy must move the ball and eat up clock to keep the ball out of the hands of Paul Layton and the Spartans high powered offense.
4. Amsterdam 5-1, 5-3 4
The Rams got three touchdowns from Ben Miseikas in a 21 point third quarter to beat defending champion Lansingburgh in the quarterfinals last week. Their semifinal match up with Maginn is a rematch of week 1 in which the Rams played the Griffins even for three quarters before losing 27-13.
5. Lansingburgh 3-2, 4-4 5
Injuries to running back Marcus Hepp and quarterback TJ McLaughlin contributed to the Knights quarterfinal loss to Amsterdam last week. The loss prevented Lansingburgh from making its seventh consecutive Super Bowl appearance.

Class B
Team League, Overall Last Week
1. Cohoes 5-0, 8-0 1
The Tigers, ranked No. 11 in the state, will put their vaunted run defense and undefeated record to the test Saturday afternoon against Hudson Falls' Joe McMurry.
2. Hudson Falls 3-1, 7-1 3
Joe McMurry (4,431 yards) holds fourth place on the all-time Section II career rushing list. His 370 career points scored rank him seventh all-time in Section II history.
3. Ravena 4-1, 6-2 4
The Indians host Hudson tonight in a Class B semifinal. Ravena beat the Bluehawks 40-6 in their first meeting in Ravena on Sept. 19.
4. Hudson 2-3, 3-5 -
The Bluehawks stunned top-seeded Schalmont with a 13-12 victory last Friday thanks to 76 total yards from quarterback Talib Barksdale.
5. Schalmont 4-0, 6-2 2
Vince Gallo had an outstanding year for the Sabres, gaining 1,362 yards and scoring 17 touchdowns to lead Schalmont to the postseason for the first time since 2003.

Class C
Team League, Overall Last week
1. Schuylerville 7-0, 8-0 1
The Black Horses poured it on in their 60-20 quarterfinal victory over Tamarac last week. Quarterback Austin Bateman had a career game against the Bengals, rushing for 237 yards and totaling seven touchdowns-three passing and four on the ground.
2. Chatham 8-0, 8-0 2
The Panthers routed Corinth 70-20 in the quarterfinals and host South Division rival Watervliet Saturday at 7 p.m. Chatham beat the Cannoneers in week 1 14-6 and haven’t looked back since. Sophomore Josh Keyes has rushed for 837 yards and 12 touchdowns.
3. Fonda-Fultonville 7-1, 7-1 3
Josh Nethaway added to his section-best totals with 288 yards and four touchdowns in last week’s 47-28 victory over Cambridge. The senior play caller has thrown for 1,846 yards, 27 touchdowns and three interceptions. The Braves are averaging 44 points a game while their semifinal opponent Schuylerville has surrendered an average of just 11 points a contest.
4. Watervliet 6-2, 6-2 5
The Cannoneers hung on for a 22-19 victory over Hoosick Falls in the quarterfinals and now looks to avenge a week 1 loss to Chatham in the semis.
5. Hoosick Falls 5-1, 6-2 4
The Panthers had twice the total yards than quarterfinal opponent Watervliet, but fell 22-19. Senior quarterback Kevin Woods has completed 101 of 160 passes for 1,194 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Class D
Team League, Overall Last Week
1. Rensselaer 4-0, 7-1 2
Mico De Los Santos' 31.8 yards per reception average is the best among wide receivers in Section II. He's also scored 14 touchdowns this season.
2. Canajoharie 2-2, 5-3 5
Four of the Cougars' five victories have been shutouts and the defense has allowed a grand total of only 70 points.
3. Fort Edward 3-0, 5-3 4
The two-time defending Class D champions host Canajoharie in an opening-round semifinal Saturday at 1 p.m.
4. Warrensburg 2-1, 4-4 -
The Burgers allowed 57 more points than they scored this season, yet still earned the No. 2 seed in the North Division.
5. Lake George 0-0, 8-0 1
The Warriors have proven they can beat anyone in Class D, but will not be competing in the Section II tournament because of their Class C enrollment figure.

--
Look for more coverage of Troy High and Watervliet as they prepare for their semifinal games in Friday's edition of The Record.
-- Compilied by Ryan Kircher and Will Montgomery

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