Saturday, November 1, 2008

Troy and Cohoes bounced, Rensselaer gets Fort Edward

Troy quarterback Zach Dolan is sacked by Burnt Hills' Michael Russell during Friday's Class A semifinal game. Burnt Hills won, 35-20, to seal their third consecutive berth in the Section II Class A Super Bowl. (JS Carras - The Record)

Burnt Hills used three rushing touchdowns by senior quarterback Paul Layton to hold off the Flying Horses in a Class A semifinal Friday night in Burnt Hills.

The Spartans (9-0) will meet Bishop Maginn (9-0) in the Class A Super Bowl, to be held Saturday at Christian Brothers Academy in Colonie at 7 p.m.

I saw the Griffins bounce back from three first half turnovers against Amsterdam on Friday and while Burnt Hills is the favorite heading into the Super Bowl, don't count out the Griffins.
Only 22 players dressed for the Griffins - some are injured, slimming an already small roster - but if there was ever a little team that could, this is it.

Senior quarterback Bunduka Kargbo (above) led the Griffins to a Class AA New York State basketball championship in March and he is a calm and confident leader for this team. Isaiah Oliver, Tymear Mallory, Mitchell Dickson and Josh Panasik all split time in the backfield, giving Bishop Maginn a plethora of options.
T.J. Jefferson and James Torres are Kargbo's big targets in the passing game.

Almost all of them play both ways and I think this will be the crucial factor in the Super Bowl. Can the Griffins find a way to play the game at their pace? As long as the time of possession is about even, I think Maginn has enough heart to stick in this one until the end. Five of their victories have been of the come-from-behind variety, including four fourth quarter comebacks.

"We have some talented football players here," said Maginn head coach Joe Grasso. "We probably have eight or nine of the top kids in Section II on one team. That’s saying a lot. But for a small team, we have big players and big talent."

"We know our defense brought us this far," Kargbo said. "We know if we keep playing the way we’re playing, we can beat anybody. And it’s not a matter of being cocky or anything, we just feel that if we keep playing the way we’re playing, we can play against anybody in the state."

"(The offensive line) really came to play," Torres said. "Our offensive line, I can fairly say, they are the best offensive line in the Section."

"We’ve got one more to go, though," Mallory said. "The Super Bowl. That’s the big game."
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Cohoes quarterback Mark Gallerie looks to pass in Saturday's Class B semifinal against Hudson Falls. HF's Bret Mellon tossed three touchdown passes as Hudson Falls moved on to the Super Bowl, 28-21. (JS Carras - The Record)

The key for the Cohoes Tigers on Saturday was to slow Hudson Falls' senior tailback Joe McMurry, the leading rusher in Section II. The Cohoes tacklers did their job, holding McMurry to 183 yards on 43 carries, his second-lowest total of the season.

Mellon, however, took advantage of all the players in the box, throwing for three scores and 101 yards. Hudson Falls (8-1) will face Ravena (7-2) in the Class B Super Bowl, Saturday in Amsterdam at 3 p.m.
Hudson Falls defeated the Indians 35-13 in a regular season meeting on Sept. 5.

Cohoes senior tailback Steve Weaver runs for some of his 192 yards and he scored two touchdowns, bringing his season total to 16. Weaver finished the season with 1,275 yards on 171 attempts, an average of 7.5 yards per carry. (JS Carras - The Record)

"We had a good season," Cohoes head coach James Ducharme said. "To get to this point and to be one touchdown away from getting to the sectional championship is a great accomplishment. I don’t think any of my kids are going to look at this and not wish they had won the game. The moral victory to kids isn’t much. They want to be in that game (the Super Bowl)."

"I give a lot of credit to Cohoes," said Hudson Falls head coach Bill Strong. "It’s a very good football team over there and they were very well prepared. They made us work for everything we got.
"These were two very evenly matched teams. I don’t see us as really better. I think if we play those guys ten times, we win five, they win five. I think it’s a dogfight either way.
"Very similar teams, very similar styles. It was a great football game, it really was."

The Tigers set a school record with 8 victories in a single season and it looks like a strong football tradition is beginning to grow in the Spindle City.

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Fort Edward defeated Canajoharie to set up a rematch with Rensselaer in the Class D Super Bowl. The Rams defeated the Flying Forts 47-14 on Sept. 27.
Fort Edward is the two-time defending Section II Class D champion and Rensselear has not appeared in the Super Bowl since 1995.
It will be a bit of a home field advantage for Fort Edward, as the game is being held six miles away in Glens Falls on Saturday at 1 p.m. (Rensselaer is about 40 miles further down the river).

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Click here for links to brackets containing the Super Bowl matchups, dates and times.

-- Will Montgomery

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