Monday, August 31, 2009

Training camp report: Mechanicville

Mechanicville senior running back David Guynup catches a pass during a recent practice. He and some of his teammates participated in a two-hand touch AAU football league in the offseason, which they believe really improved the team's passing game. (Photos by Mike McMahon - The Record).

When I asked Guynup what he thought what the team's biggest strength was, he didn't waste any time with an answer: "Speed. SPEED!"

The Raiders don't quite have the size that they've had in the past, but they still have the toughness, so they are trying to adapt their gameplan to the personnel. That means Guynup will be racing around the corner a lot this year, looking for a seam up the sidelines.

"We have been going inside quite a bit, but we’re going to see if we can get them going inside and then bounce it out,"he said. "If that doesn’t work, we’re going to come at them like any other team. We’re going to keep coming."

"We have some guys coming up from JV," said senior tackle Sam Chase. "I’m the only returning starter, but I feel like we have good guys coming up."

The Raiders were a feast or famine team in 2008, playing in four shutouts. They won a pair late in the season and lost without scoring a point in the first two games of the year. With a new offensive approach, this Mechanicville team is looking to become more consistent.

"Last year was a little bit frustration because we could have been better," said senior quarterback Nick Gaetano. "We lost some close games. This year, we had a lot of kids in the weight room almost every day and we ran AAU football."

"We have to prove ourselves," head coach Kevin Collins said. "Until we line up and play a game, I really can’t tell you what we’re going to be. We have expectations."

The school is working on installing new bleachers - the Raiders played without seating in 2008 - and lights on the main game field. The project is scheduled to be complete by opening day on Sept. 11 against Granville.

"We haven’t had a night game in years and we’re going to have the stands we didn’t have last year," Guynup said. "And with the field being redone, it’s going to be nice."

Quarterback Nick Gaetano looks to hand off or tuck the ball and run during a recent practice behind the high school.
That wraps up our 2009 training camp reports! Go pick up a copy of 'Kickoff 2009' on your newsstands today for full stories, schedules, rosters, pictures and much more on your favorite team!

Big thanks go out to our photography staff - Mike McMahon, Tom Killips and J.S. Carras - all of whom ran around like crazy for a few weeks trying to get to as many practices as we could to fill the Kickoff section with great shots.
Thanks to staff writers Andy Santillo and Ed Weaver for providing stories on the Albany schools, CBA and Shenendehowa. And of course, thanks to editors Kevin Moran and Tim Martin for helping to put the section together when all the writing was done and pictures had been processed.

I'll post some season predictions, preseason polls and game capsules for week 1 later tonight, so check back soon.

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Training camp report: Stillwater

Brandon Pattenaude works on his technique during a recent practice. (Photos by Mike McMahon - The Record).

The Stillwater Warriors have a lot to look forward to in 2009. Instead of their unique and rustic old home field, the Warriors will play Friday night games under the lights on a brand-new FieldTurf surface.

After a disappointing 3-6 campaign in 2008 - head coach Vince Barber refused to give me 2008 statistics, saying they are only thinking about 2009 - the Warriors have reason to be optimistic. They have five starters returning on both sides of the ball and have drawn a few extra players out for the sport.

Tim Daigle, who played as a youngster, is back on the field after coaches and players urged him to join the team for his senior season.

"To be honest, ever since modified, Coach Barber and all of the Athletic Directors and Phys Ed teachers have been nagging me to come out and get out here," Daigle said. "I figured it was about that time."

Justin Deuel went from the struggles of the football field to starring on the basketball court for the Warriors last winter and while he admitted the football and basketball teams are two separate groups, he thinks some of that momentum can carry over to the gridiron.

"Everybody is more excited and wants to do well," Deuel said. "Once you have a brand-new field and it’s beautiful, you don’t want to go down in the gutters. You want to have a good season. Everyone is working hard and hopefully we’re going to do well."

"Any time you get new facilities is exciting, but I’ve been telling them we’re not playing for anything physical," said head coach Vince Barber. "We’re playing for pride. We got humiliated pretty good last year and it was probably the low point of the five years we’ve been here. We have a lot of pride and respect the game this year."

Former head coach Pat Erano is back this year to assist head coach Vince Barber (background).

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Training camp report: Christian Brothers Academy

CBA senior Jack Reilly was named the No. 2 lacrosse recruit in the nation among players in the class of 2010 - click here for details - but his real love is Friday night football. (Photos by J.S. Carras- The Record).

Reilly will be playing lax for Division I powerhouse Johns Hopkins, but right now he's worried about helping the Brothers score a few wins on the gridiron, especially the week 2 showdown against La Salle Institute.

Our Ed Weaver spoke with Reilly at a recent practice.

"Honestly, my favorite sport is football," he said. "I love Friday nights, especially playing for an institution like CBA. Gearing up, running out of the tunnel, hitting the field and playing some football."

The Brothers won just a single game a year ago, but with plenty of returning talent and a strong tradition at the school, the team is looking forward to a rebound season. Along with Reilly, Zack Zaloga, Dan Sipperly and Nick DeThomasis are figured to be key contributors for the team.

"Obviously, you can’t guarantee anything but I see a fire in these guys," Reilly said. "Our objective is to get better and in the back of our minds, we keep thinking 1-and-8, 1-and-8."

The Brothers host crosstown rival Colonie High in week 1, which is a bit of a payback game for CBA.

"We have 18 returning starters, we only lost four to graduation," third-year head coach Matt Gormley said. "And it you look at the last two games (narrow losses to Colonie and Middletown), those sophomores and juniors played really well. So, we use those final two games as a springboard for this year."

Senior RB-LB Zach Zaloga rallies his team during a recent practice at CBA.

Remember to drop by your local newsstand on Thursday to pick up our 48-page High School Football preview section, which provides in-depth coverage of 21 local teams along with pictures, stats, schedules and rosters.

We'll wrap up the online previews soon with Mechanicville and Stillwater recaps before posting preseason polls and game capsules for Week 1 action later this week. If there is anything you'd like to see on the site this season, please drop me a line or fire away in the comments. I plan on maintaining the quarterbacks rating feature, along with news, notes and stats during the football season.

In the meantime, follow us on Twitter by clicking here.

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Training camp report: Colonie

Chris Cossart is a two-way terror up the middle for the Colonie Garnet Raiders, playing center and nose tackle. A history buff, he's primed for a big senior season. (Photos by Mike McMahon - The Record).

Cossart spends his free time coaching at Colonie Pop Warner and you may be hearing his name in the future as a varsity high school coach, too. He's planning on majoring in secondary education in college and teaching history and coaching after graduation.

After a one-year experiment with the spread, the Raiders are getting back to a power running game under head coach Mike Ambrosio, who spent the 2008 season coaching the freshmen in Colonie while watching his son, Mark, finish his senior season at Shaker.

"It’s exciting. I’m happy," Cossart said of Ambrosio's return. "We have a whole new offense coming in and I like it better. It’s more Colonie than last year. You can’t put in a new offense and expect it to work in one year."

Senior quarterback Mike Branche is a three-sport athlete at Colonie, also participating in basketball and baseball. He's also busy in the summer with AAU hoops and Connie Mack baseball.

It's no surprise the Raiders are geeked about the season - just like any good baseball team, they're strong up the middle. Since Cossart and Branche get things going on every single offensive play, they both admitted their strong relationship makes things much easier.

"I think we have a great relationship," Branche said. "In practice, we split up by positions, so that’s when he gets his chance to lead the linemen when he’s with them and I get my chance with the receivers and running backs. So we’re on the same page leading our specific players and it works out well because we’re great friends off the field too, so we know what each other is thinking."

Colonie's change in strategy on the offensive side will likely cut down on Branche's throwing attempts, but that's fine with him.

"I definitely watch the college games and see them throw the ball all the time and I think that’s great for them, but anything that makes us win, I’ll do," said Branche. "If I have to hand the ball off, I mean, we have plenty of great running backs, so I’ll hand the ball off. I’m just doing it to win."

The Raiders struggled to a sub-.500 record in 2008, but with the return of their head coach and a strong senior class, they're looking to make it back to the Super Bowl, something they believe is a realistic goal.

"Last year definitely frustrated a lot of players and it made a lot of people work hard," Branche said. "We have a great JV group coming up and those players are very talented. We have a lot of hard workers, so we have high expectations for ourselves and we’re just going to keep working hard."

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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Training camp report: Tamarac

Nick Knauer will shift around in the backfield this year, moving from running back to quarterback in the Bengals' spread offense. He's been working in the weight room, too, squatting over 455 pounds and bench pressing over 300. (Photos by Mike McMahon - The Record).

Discipline. Heart. Execution.

That's the motto in Brunswick this year, as the Bengals try to follow up on the 2008 campaign, which was the most successful one for Tamarac in quite some time.

The best explanation anyone had for Tamarac's great 2008 season was that the senior class had started playing football as youngsters in the Brunswick Bulldogs youth programs. Now, Tamarac head coach Erick Roadcap is getting a wave of players every year that have football game experience and the mental edge to push themselves in the weight room and on the practice field.

"The fundamentals are established in our youth program," he said. "Guy Changa, the former President of the Bulldogs, has taken a step back this year after 13 years, but he's still a board member and he helps me in any way I need help. The big thing down there is that they learn discipline and fundamentals. They learn that football is not just going deep in sandlot. They’re learning it’s a lot of running and a lot of hard work."

All of that hard work paid off last year in the best football game that I saw in 2008 - Tamarac at Fonda-Fultonville. The Bengals trailed by 31 points heading into the fourth quarter, but senior quarterback David Fox Fox threw four touchdowns and rushed for another and he also converted consecutive onside kicks as the Bengals clawed their way back into the game.

Fox's rushing touchdown brought the Bengals within two points, and on the ensuing two-point conversion, he rolled out of the pocket looking for Nick Knauer. The pass sailed just beyond Knauer's outstretched hands and Fonda ran out the clock en route to a 41-39 victory - a bittersweet finish for the Bengals.

"We take pride in our special teams and our defense and we run that spread offense," Roadcap said. "One of my coaching philosophies is: the best 11 have to be on the field at all times. We train and the kids run. It was like we played 15 quarters at Fonda. Those kids didn’t give up. That was conditioning. We weren’t necessarily better than Fonda, we were in better shape and we outworked them. I hate that game every time I think about it."

Knauer, however, had a feeling he would be in Fox's shoes this year, so he paid special attention to his quarterback last season.

"I remember all the plays from last year and I made a point to watch Dave because I knew I would have to follow in his shoes," Knauer said. "We know what it feels like to win and we want to keep following that."

Roadcap spent the offseason watching Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute football coach Joe King and University at Albany head man Bob Ford run practices and he's tried to imitate some of the military precision the college teams use into his own practices. Still, he's looking forward to his players being tougher and better conditioned that anyone they play, something that proved true in 2008.

"We're doing the same things. It's the same offense and the same defense. Kids have had it now for three years and they understand it now coming in. Last year took a week and a half to understand system, now, just a couple of days. They bought in to it."

Roadcap (right) addresses the team during a recent practice behind the high school.

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Friday, August 28, 2009

Training camp report: Hoosick Falls

Junior Mike Brewster is set to take over as the Panthers' quarterback, and he's used to the limelight. (Photos by J.S. Carras - The Record).

Mike and his younger brothers, Matt and Levi, are in a band called, of course, The Brewster Brothers. You can check out their YouTube page here.

Hoosick Falls head coach Ron Jones called Mike Brewster a "renaissance man" for all of his off-the-field activities, but he's expected to fall right into the Panthers' pass-happy offense as well.

"He’s a tough son of a gun," Jones said of his junior QB. "He starts at outside linebacker for us and I’d love to get him off the field, but I can’t. I can’t. I don’t know why. He’s too tough. If he gets hurt… The next guys just aren’t quite ready yet, but I might have told you that about him last year."

The Panthers have a great weight lifting facility and a couple of college football alumni that really lifted the program in the offseason. Jason Poore (read more about Poore here on Andrew Santillo's college sports blog) is a wide receiver at the University at Albany and Eric Manning is the starting right tackle at Alfred State. Their presence inspires the next generation of players at Hoosick Falls to work hard in the weight room, whether they are college-level talents or not.

"We had a great weightlifting summer," Brewster said. "We had a ton of kids dedicated to it. We would come out every night and throw routes on the field for an hour, an hour and a half. I worked the footwork, too. I didn’t have the best footwork in the beginning, but I’ve been working on it."

The Panthers return a healthy amount of players, including wide receiver/outside linebacker Kevin McMahon - all 6-feet-6 of him. Brewster is imagining McMahon as his main target on offense, but the two realize that their biggest strength to the team is on the other side of the ball.

"I like the defensive part better, unless I getting the ball thrown to me every time," McMahon laughed.

One of the biggest traditions in town is the yearly practice when the pee wee players in Hoosick Falls join the varsity Panthers for a few exercises and drills. McMahon and Brewster both vividly remembered when they dropped by as youngsters in 2003 - the year the Panthers made it all the way to the New York State Class C championship game.

Now they're hoping to return the favor.

"A couple years ago playing Cambridge, the youth guys surprised us when we came out of the locker room because they made a gauntlet," Jones said. "It really pumped my guys up. Whenever we walked through the crowd at halftime, Poore, no matter the score, or what the game was, give every kid five. These guys remember that and now they're building the tradition and that atmosphere. The little guys want to be at the games because they know the big guys are going to give them five. It’s fun, so we try to have flag football at halftime once a year, fun stuff to get everybody involved."

Hoosick Falls head coach Ron Jones barks instructions to his players during a recent practice.

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Training camp report: Hoosic Valley

Hoosic Valley senior quarterback Justin Meddis works on his form during a practice last week. (Photos by J.S. Carras - The Record).

All the buzz this fall in Schaghticoke will be about the Indians' new multi-purpose stadium, which is just fine with the Hoosic Valley football team.

They're just glad to be home.

The Indians played all nine games on the road last year because their home field for the first two years of the programs' existence - an old overflow parking lot for the Schaghticoke Fair - was unusable as the Hoosic Valley High School was building additions behind the gymnasium.

"Even though we didn’t have home games last year, we still had people from the school and the community come to the games, no matter how far away they were," said Alex McNeice. "We had games hours away in Fonda and there were still tons of people there."

The Indians will host a 2008 Homecoming for last year's seniors during their home opener Sept. 5 against Mechanicville. Without much history - this is only the fourth varsity season in Hoosic Valley history - the Indians are looking to build tradition and traction at any opportunity.

"We want to be known," Meddis said. "All the schools look at us and say Hoosic Valley is trash, but with a new field, new goalposts, new scoreboard and a new baseball field, Hoosic Valley is looking up."

Head coach Jay Garvey ran an angle drill at the end of the Indians' first practice of the season a few Mondays ago. The players, still shaking off the summer rust and already ragged after three hours of practice, gave their coach an inspired effort, sprinting full speed to the ball many times over.

"That was a great sign to see that kind of energy and effort and enthusiasm," Garvey said. "I think the kids realize that we have a chance to do something that we’ve never done before and to be able to go play on a nice field for once in their lives. It’s something that they’re excited for and something I’m excited for and that was nice to see at the end of practice."

Tony Repp, Ian Cary, Justin Meddis and Alex McNeice were all freshmen when the Indians played the first game in school history - a 70-1 loss to Chatham. Now that they're seniors, they hope to leave the program in great shape for the future and also to make a little history along the way.

"The first year was real shaky, but we’ve been getting better consecutively each year," said tackle Ian Cary. "We went from 0 wins to 2, then to 3 and to - I’m hoping it's the playoffs."

Hoosic Valley head coach Jay Garvey checks out a player's helmet during the opening week of practice.

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Training camp report: Averill Park

Zach Gobel, in his first season at Averill Park, brings a fiery intensity to team practices. Here, he instructs defensive backs during a drill last week at the school. (Photos by Mike McMahon - The Record).

It wasn't that long ago, in 2005, when the Averill Park Warriors advanced to the Section II Class A Super Bowl, their first such appearance in school history. In a growing school district that had recently joined the Suburban Council's ranks, it seemed as if the Warriors were destined for a bright football future.

Things didn't exactly go according to plan. Averill Park missed the playoffs in 2006 and was bounced in the first round in 2007 and 2008, but with a brand-new head coach, the Warriors are once again thinking optimistically.

"I love the way he coaches," said senior Justin Collen. "He’s an in-your-face kind of guy. He’s almost like a kid out there with you, but he has that much higher level of respect being your coach."

Gobel, who was a longtime assistant and offensive coordinator at Ballston Spa, was pleased to see big numbers come out this season in Averill Park. The Scotties often played with under 30 athletes on the varsity roster, but he expects the depth to help Averill Park this season.

A former wide receiver at Chatham High School and at Springfield College, ran the flex option to great success at Ballston Spa. Dom Monaco and current QB Mark Seager ran like crazy in that Scotties scheme, but the Warriors may be looking to hand the ball off a bit more than Ballston Spa does.

The Warriors are also adapting B-Spa's 4-3 defense and Gobel jokingly gave all of the credit in learning that to Scotties' head coach John Bowen.

I ran into former Averill Park standout Mike Fil, who was named a captain at RPI for his senior season. He's a wide receiver and kick/punt returner, who is trying to rehab from a torn ACL, which he suffered in week 7.

A current Averill Park senior, Justin Collen, is in much the same boat as his predecessor.

Senior running back and linebacker Justin Collen hops through a drill last week at practice. He missed most of the 2008 football season and all of the 2008-09 basketball season with a torn ACL he suffered in a game against Lansingburgh.

He's spent months rehabbing from the injury but is back and ready to go in a final push to end his high school career.

"In double sessions now, I feel like I’m back where I should be, but I still have ways to go," Collen said. "At the same time, I feel like I’m where I should be and I’m looking forward."

Check out more on Averill Park, as well as 20 other schools from the Capital Region, in our 48-page preview section set to hit the newsstands this Thursday, Sept. 3!

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Training camp report: Columbia High School

Alex Tesoriero does some pre-practice exercises during at recent workout at Columbia High School. (Photos by J.S. Carras - The Record).

Tesoriero excelled in 2008 for the Blue Devils as a kicker and punter, but expects to carry much more of the load on offense and defense as a running back and linebacker.
Ryan Kircher wrote a story about Alex's devotion to the kicking game last season, which you can read here.

Columbia has a new head coach, Drew Romanowski, who takes over for Anthony Servidone, who is now focusing entirely on the wrestling program at Columbia. Romanowksi, a 1992 Columbia alum and an assistant at the school for the past three seasons, is hopeful that a big group of players (over 110 turned out for the first day of varsity and junior varsity practices) can help turn the tide in East Greenbush.

The Blue Devils won a single game in 2007, but made a strong push at the end of last season, qualifying for the postseason.

"It’s an exciting time," Romanowski said. "We have over 110 guys in the high school program and that’s a good thing for us. Our numbers are the highest they’ve ever been and the kids are just having a good time running around. We’ll see how that works when we have full pads on, but it’s a good thing right now."

Beside Tesoriero, Columbia is expecting big things out of Brandon Talar, who was fighting for the starting quarterback job when I dropped by practice last week.

Talar said he's been playing football since he was eight years old and grew interested in the sport watching games on TV and decided to try it out for himself. He's played every position on the field, but seems to have found a home under center.

"I played d-line when I was little because I was stocky," Talar said. "Before high school got started, I was a wide receiver and then I moved to QB because we had no one else and I wanted to help the team. Then I realized I started getting a little better at it and I figured I’d stick with it."

I also ran into former Blue Devils star running back Tom Arcidiacono at the Union College football media day this week. Arcidiacono is the Dutchmen running backs coach after finishing his career at Union as the No. 18 all-time rusher in Division III history.

Along with fellow Columbia coaching mainstays Gary Holtz and Daryl Steverson, Arcidiacono has found a home in the fall on Frank Bailey Field in Schenectady. That doesn't mean the former Columbia coach (he assisted there in 2008) will be turning his back on the program.

"Oh, I will be following them," Arcidiacono said. "I have a lot of loyalty to programs I've been with. Holtz and Daryl Steverson coached me at Columbia and now they're here. I always had a lot of good guys around me. Servidone coached in me JV and Pop Warner and I wanted to make the jump up here (to Union). After training with Chris (Coney, Union running back), it felt like natural progression. It was time to come up here."

First-year Columbia High School head coach Drew Romanowski oversees a recent practice at the school.

Romanowski is a third generation coach at Columbia. His father, Ted Romanowski, taught, coached and served as an administrator for over 30 years and the Blue Devils’ playing field is named in honor of his great uncle, Nicholas Budnowski, who taught and coached for many years.

After defensive assistant coaching stops at Plymouth State College and Springfield College, Romanowski served as the defensive coordinator at South Hadley High School in Massachusetts from 2003 to 2005. South Hadley won the Division 1A Super Bowl and state championship in 2005.

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Monday, August 24, 2009

Training camp report: Watervliet High

Ahshad Thompson runs through drills during the first week of practice at Watervliet High School. (Photos by J.S. Carras - The Record).

With 19 seniors on the 2008 team, the Watervliet Cannoneers had big expectations. Those came to fruition, as the Cannoneers put together an inspired run through the Section II Class C playoffs, earning a 10-6 Super Bowl victory over the Black Horses from Schuylerville.

Only one player returns in 2009 that started every game a year ago - Ian Kelly. Other than that, the Cannoneers are full of question marks heading into the opening weekend, but if there is any school in the Capital Region that always finds a way to field a winner, it's Watervliet.

Few players on the team have varsity-level experience, which makes for an interesting practice session.

"There is a lot of teaching going on," said Watervliet head coach Erick Bernard. "A lot of coaching. As a staff, we’re really going to slow things down and coach these kids. It’s a lot of fitting kids in different spots and seeing what will work and what will fit."

Kelly, who is stepping up his abilities as a leader in only his second year of playing football - he was a soccer player before 2008 - singled out a few of his teammates he is expecting big things from in 2009.

"Jeremy LaMarche, a defensive end," Kelly said. "And James Lockett up from the junior varsity, he’ll step up. Jeremy probably worked the hardest in the offseason and James, he just has the natural ability."

If there is one thing in 'Vliet's corner, it's their defense. Aside from a 25-18 loss at Fonda-Fultonville last season, the Cannoneers' defense was exceptional, making life so much easier for the offense.

Kelly will shift from the defensive backfield to middle linebacker and how that transition pans out will determine much as far how well the Cannoneers do in 2009.

Make sure to pick up a copy of our 48-page high school football preview section on Thursday, September 3 to check out rosters, schedules, pictures and statistics for 21 local teams.

Jeremy LaMarche works on exploding out of his tackle stance during the first week of practice at Watervliet High School.

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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Training camp report: Rensselaer High

Tyler Bishop participates in a conditioning drill at Rensselaer High School during the first week of practice. (Photos by Mike McMahon - The Record).

During a recent practice, the Rensselaer Rams settled in for one of head coach Joel Preston's favorite drills - four quarters.

Captains condense in the center of the group and the rest of the team circles around them, with Preston barking out instructions. Jumping jacks! Situps! Pushups! The players flop around, switching between the exercises after a long day of practice in the sun.

Preston blows the whistle, giving them a respite, but that was only the end of the first quarter.

By the time the third quarter rolls around, Preston has the team playing an imaginary game as their jumping jacks become a bit slower between repetitions, the situps accomplished with immense effort. Down by 10 points in the third quarter, the Rams somehow rally late in the fourth with an inspired set of pushups to score and convert the two-point conversion, stealing a win.

The make-believe game aside, it was Preston's halftime speech about the 2008 club that got through to the winded Rams: Two games short of the Carrier Dome. One game short of Kingston. But right here, in a conditioning drill in the middle of August, we're putting ourselves in position for those fourth quarters in November.

The Rams return nearly all their starters from 2008 and the newcomers and junior varsity callups had a very productive offseason. With the Super Bowl charm rubbing off on everyone in the school district a season ago, winter and spring workouts had an unusual intensity about them, exemplified by Tyler Bishop and his might physique.

Bishop didn't play much in 2008, but Preston said he can't imagine a linebacking corps without him this season. It presents a number of playing time problems for Preston, but those are problems he likes to have.

"We have a lot of strong guys on the team," Bishop said. "My weightlifting coach pushes us hard and that’s why we came in third in the weightlifting competition. It's all about good technique and stuff. I’ve had to make myself stronger."

The Rams placed third in the Columbia High School liftoff in the spring, finishing behind only Troy High and Lansingburgh, two much larger schools just up the Hudson River.

But with the level of returning talent the Rams have, anything short of a first place finish - another Class D Super Bowl win - would be a major disappointment.

Rensselaer lineman Jason Brown (foreground, right) has become one of the Rams' best players after struggling through conditioning drills early in the 2008 training camp.

Read all about Brown and his inspiring personal struggles on and off the gridiron in our 48-page high school football preview section that hits the newsstands on Thursday, September 3.

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Saturday, August 22, 2009

Training camp report: Catholic Central High School

Catholic Central High School senior quarterback Pat Janssen scrambles while looking for a receiver during the first week of practice. (Photos by J.S. Carras - The Record).

Most teams aren't able to carry the momentum from the season before into a new year, but the Crusaders are looking to do just that in 2009. In their final game of the year in 2008, Catholic Central avoided infamy with a 40-18 victory over Whitehall. It was the Crusaders' first win of the year.

"It definitely got our spirits up," Janssen said. "0-9 would have been terrible and it meant a lot to all of us. As a team, it meant so much. Even though our record wasn’t amazing, we had some good games and some games that we lost by one point or one touchdown and it was just nice to finally get an actual win."

Carm Audino has taken over as head coach and some of his coaching methods are interesting, to say the least. For the full scoop on that, you'll have to pick up a copy of our 48-page high school football preview section set to hit the newsstands on Thursday, September 3.

But the Capital Region pigskin veteran has brought a ton of intensity and a refreshed outlook to a downtrodden program.

"I've been very, very pleased with the attitude and the work ethic so far," Audino said. "We just have the same issue as we’ve had in the past with numbers. We have decent numbers this year, but obviously need to improve on that. The players are very positive and so is the staff."

Audino lauded his senior class, but said he also has high expectations for junior Matt Stanton, who plays guard and linebacker.

Janssen said he is particularly excited about watching senior fullback and middle linebacker Andrew Minich do what he does best on the field - "be an animal," according to Janssen.

The Crusaders signal-caller also admitted that Coach Audino has helped to draw extra players to the program. For such a small school in an ultra-competitive Class C, that was just what the doctor ordered for the Seventh Avenue squad.

"We definitely have a lot of more seniors, at least a lot more seniors than usually do," Janssen said. "We have some kids that didn’t play last year but are excited about trying to make the program better. I think that’s really good and I hope all the kids stick with it so we can have more players and more depth. If injuries happen, we’ll be able to deal with it."

First-year CCHS head coach Carm Audino barks instructions to players during the first week of practice at the school.

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Friday, August 21, 2009

Training camp report: Shaker High School

Shaker's Jaquell Chandler leaps to snare a ball during drills at a recent practice behind Shaker High School. He was a team captain in 2008 as a junior. (Photos by Mike McMahon - The Record).

The Blue Bison struggled a little bit in 2008, but they turned it on at season's end with a three-game winning streak. Shaker returns 12 of 22 possible starters, including seven on the defensive side of the ball.

Ami Berger, who is also one of the Blue Bison's top wrestlers, is Shaker's anchor in the middle of the offensive line and along with Kenny O'Connor, looks to solidify the running game up front.

"We have a lot of teamwork and chemistry and it all starts in the weight room," Berger said. "The guys you see at 6 in the morning, lifting weights and talking, those are all the morning guys. Actually, we just went golfing together last Friday."

Shaker head coach Dennis Bender gives all the credit of Shaker's weight room success - a dozen athletes joined the 1,000-pound lift club this offseason - to assistants Greg Sheeler and Danny Gibson, who find a way to motivate the kids and get them out of bed before the sun comes up in the wintertime.

In previous years, Shaker would be lucky to have two or three or four players in the 1,000 pound club, but the program should be even better. According to Bender, another dozen or so lifted over 900 pounds.

"We’re expecting a lot just because of what we did in offseason with weightlifting program," Bender said. "We’re going to push these kids and say, 'you know what, this is what you worked for all offseason pushing around those big weights."

A little postseason success would be quite the event in Latham. Shaker's last championship of any kind came in that magical year of 1969, when we put a man on the moon, celebrated at Woodstock and watched the miracle Mets win the World Series. That year, Shaker went 6-2 and tied for the lead in the Suburban Scholastic Council with Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake and Bethlehem.

Shaker lineman Kenny O'Connor is a two-way terror for the Blue Bison and is also a Division I lacrosse prospect as a goaltender.

Remember to read all about the Bison in our 48-page high school football preview section, which hits the newsstands on Thursday, September, 3.

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Training camp report: Albany Academy

Hunter McCarty rolls out while working on his passing skills during the first week of practice at Albany Academy. (Photo by Tom Killips - The Record)

ALBANY — Hunter McCarty rolled out of the pocket and zeroed in on his target while linemen, linebackers and defensive backs scurried in all directions. He launched the ball downfield to a wide open receiver, who stretched out a pair of palms to grab football’s version of the grand slam – a long, touchdown pass.
Offensive lineman leapt into each other’s arms, running backs high-fived each other and even the members of the Albany Academies’ defensive scout team let out some yelps of happiness over the touchdown pass in a first week practice session.
The joy the passing game creates for players is immeasurable, but the risk of throwing the ball often still scares many coaches into sticking with the running game.
As a freshman, McCarthy, in his first full season of organized football, passed for 1,822 yards – the second highest total among Section II quarterbacks in 2008. Senior wide receiver Jimmer Bennett, who, according to the statistics, is far and a away the most productive pass-catcher in Section II history, certainly had much to do with McCarthy’s success. Bennett caught 77 of McCarthy’s 128 completions and accounted for 61% of the Cadets’ receiving yardage.
In the era of an explosion of spread offenses in the collegiate ranks and a pass-happy NFL, it seemed to be only a matter of time before Section II teams like Albany Academy began to follow suit. McCarthy, however, will likely have a hard time matching his freshman numbers, but that doesn’t bother him at all.
“I like to pass,” he said, “but this year, we adjusted to our personnel more and what will help us is going more toward the run game.
But we’re still looking to mix in the pass. That is what this school has done for the past few years.”
Bennett, Jamel Fields, Prosper Muna and Chris Pelcher – McCarthy’s top targets in 2008 - all have graduated. The passing game might be all the rage in the college and professional games televised every weekend, but for high school coaches, to decision of to pass or not to pass comes down to one issue above all – personnel.
“(McCarthy) still is at the focal point of our offense and we can do a lot of things based on his skill set,” said Albany Academies head coach Tony Fruscio. “We’re going to run the ball and commit to the run a little more, but we’re still throwing 20 times a game. Maybe this year we’re more efficient in the passing game. Hunter can be 12-for-15 and you’re just as effective as he was throwing 25 times.”
Realizing their strength lies in running backs Zay Richardson, Conner Ferris, Renel Potter, Chris Fron and Taylor Clarke, the Cadets are switching to a Wing-T front.

For more on Albany Academy linemen Chris Sainato and Adam Miller, make sure to pick up a copy of The Record's 2009 High School Football Preview section, which hits the newsstands on Thursday, Sept. 3.

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Training camp report: Bishop Maginn High School

Bishop Maginn senior running back Tymear Mallory runs through a drill during the first week of practice at the high school. (Photo by Tom Killips - The Record).

When you arrive at a Bishop Maginn practice, it's hard to think that they are a Class A school.
Longtime coach Joe Grasso said his numbers are bad every year and from a school with only 250 or so kids, that's to be expected, but the practice I was at they had fewer than 30 players for BOTH varsity and JV.
Grasso said the offensive will be mainly a running attack and probably revolve around seniors Tymear Mallory and Josh Panasik.
Grasso said the offensive line has a chance to be as good as last year's and they have decent size and good quickness as a team.
"Defensively, we have a lot of athletes who can run and they're aggressive kids," Grasso said. "I think we'll be pretty good on defense, although you lose some pretty darn good kids that are hard to replace."
The biggest challenge for the Golden Griffins will be replacing Bunduka Kargbo at quarterback.
Last year, he was an electric player on offense and defense and Grasso said that finding someone to play QB is one of the main focuses of preseason camp.
I had a chance to speak with Mallory and he is very excited for the new season, hoping the team can build off of a trip to the Super Bowl last year.
As far as scheduling, Bishop Maginn has it tough. They play at Amsterdam to start and have games at Niskayuna (who just dropped down to Class A) and against Troy (who is always tough).
Grasso said the competition is as ripe as ever in the A's.
"There haven't been too many weak sisters on the Class A schedule over the last five or six years that we've done this," Grasso said. "Every year, it seems like one team is real good and pulling away from the pack and that's kind of what Burnt Hills did last year, but I think we were right there with them."
It'll be nearly impossible to run off a record like last year, but a playoff spot is certainly a possibility for the Griffins this season.

Note: This post is written by Andrew Santillo, who is helping out with our 48-page high school football 2009 preview section, which is set to hit the newsstands on Thursday, Sept. 3.

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Training camp report: Shenendehowa High

Shenendehowa head coach Brent Steuerwald, the only head coach in school history, is five victories away from 300 in his legendary career. (Photo by Tom Killips - The Record).

It's hard not to see how good the new field looks at Shenendehowa. It's the first thing I noticed as I drove by looking for the Plainsmen at practice on Thursday.

After a 5-4 season, the Plainsmen are hoping to look as good as their new field will.

When I mentioned the "struggles" Shen has had in the past three seasons (their record is 15-12 and that's struggling by Shen standards) senior offensive lineman Austin Lane had this to say.

"I'm aware."

Athletic Director Christopher Culnan couldn't stop raving about the field. He told me that they would be rededicating the field during their first home game on Sept. 11 against Schenectady.

The field will have a giant (and I mean giant) scoreboard that was in the process of being put up while practice was going on an adjacent field.

"It's obviously a very special season when you're looking at a refurbished stadium, a turf field and all the things that go with the whole picture," coach Brent Steuerwald said.

Another thing that the team was raving about was how in shape everyone was coming into the season.

"We're really in shape," Lane said. "We put in a lot of extra time in the offseason to get conditioned and that's definitely paying off now."

Steuerwald told me that the team seems to be more balanced this year after last season when 13 of the 22 starters were underclassmen.

He also said he was happy to have hung around this long and is able to coach on this great new facility that he has been provided.

The Plainsmen should be solid on defense, but both players I talked to seemed to think the defensive focus was paramount.

"I think our team needs to step up more on defense if we're going to win and go far this year," said senior running back Suhayb Banks.

"Our big thing is we need to shut down on defense and I think we can do that with this year's squad," echoed Lane.

Steuerwald is just five wins away from 300 and the Plainsmen are hungry to avenge what was a first round playoff exit to Niskayuna last season.

Note: This post is written by Andrew Santillo, who is helping out with our 48-page high school football 2009 preview section, which is set to hit the newsstands on Thursday, Sept. 3

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Training camp report: Albany High

Albany High head coach Pete Porcelli reacts to players during a recent practice at the high school. (Photo by Tom Killips - The Record).

If there was a perfect fit for the Albany football program, they've found it in new coach Pete Porcelli.

Porcelli, who has taught in the Albany district for 17 years and coached the JV team previously, now takes over a varsity program that has won three games in the last three seasons.

From what I saw at practice earlier this week though, he has the players believing and that is probably half the battle.

While it may be easy to doubt Porcelli's ability to turn it around, he's already done it with two schools, Catholic Central for one season and Lansingburgh for eight years.

"You feel like change is going to come," said senior Zine Massey. "That makes us work harder too because we want to impress him (Porcelli)."

The sentiment on the team seems to have changed entirely.

"I'm going wherever the team needs me," senior Bilal Turner said. "That's all of our mentalities right now. If we need to move, we have to move to make the team stronger."

Porcelli put his team through an almost four hour practice and they'll need it as they have to learn a new offense: the double-wing.

The double-wing has been Porcelli's calling card, but there were definitely speed bumps during the practice I saw as players were going in every which way.

Still, they did have a grasp on it and I'm assuming will only get exponentially better before there first game with Schenectady on Sept. 4.

While Porcelli is optimistic about the team's chances this year, he did admit that there's a chance the turnaround could take more than one year, but he's ready for the challenge.

"It would be disrespectful to the seniors to say that this is a three or four-year plan," Porcelli said. "We want to win right now. Realistically can we? — Yes. Will there be bumps along the way? Oh Yeah."

Porcelli should definitely be able to help change the culture at Albany and I think even three wins in a very tough Class AA would be a big step in the right direction.

Note: This post is written by Andrew Santillo, who is helping out with our 48-page high school football 2009 preview section, which is set to hit the newsstands on Thursday, Sept. 3

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Training camp report: Cohoes High School

Marcus Heywood prepares to make a catch during an early practice session at Cohoes High School. (Photo by J.S. Carras - The Record).

The Tigers put together the best season in school history in 2008, so the bar has been set high for 2009. Cohoes, however, loses many members from a talented senior class a year ago, so if they look to make a push into the Section II Class B playoffs again, it will likely be from a new crop of players.

Josh Lemay and Tommy Durrant are two of the key returning players for the Tigers and they'll bring a lot of attitude and fire to the team, but they do it in different ways. Durrant, a fullback and defensive end, is the vocal leader and Lemay is the rock-solid lead-by-example guy on the line.

Josh Floeser and Kyle Farley are also among the players the Tigers are expecting big things from this season.

The success the Tigers had in 2008 certainly pulled a number of new players into the program and that puts this team ahead of the game, especially in practice sessions.

"Last year on the varsity level, didn’t have two full offensive units," said head coach James Ducharme. "This year we have that. Two full groups of linemen, backs and receivers and quarterbacks. That really helps us when we need to go against each other and get good looks."

Cohoes will break out the portable lights yet again in 2009 after such a successful test run in 2008 against Cairo-Durham. This year's home game against Hudson will now be played on Friday night October 2, rather than the originally scheduled Saturday afternoon date.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Training camp report: Lansingburgh High

Lansingburgh senior quarterback T.J. McLaughlin prepares to hand off in a drill as first-year head coach Al McNall looks on in the background. (Mike McMahon - The Record).

T.J. McLaughlin certainly gave his arm a workout this spring on the baseball diamond, tying for the Colonial Council lead with six wins and 72 strikeouts and posting a league-leading 0.78 ERA.

He gave his summer baseball coaches a bit of a headache constantly traveling to football camps and stretching his arm out with the pigskin, but the football season and McLaughlin is ready to keep that arm throwing this fall.

"We’re going to mix things up a little bit, but we’ll still run the double wing," he said.

McLaughlin's also been studying hard, trying to add a mental edge to his physical performance.

"I’ve been watching a few videos on John David Booty, watching his mechanics," he said. "I'm really working on timing."

We'll have more on the team and linebacker Tyrone Nichols in particular in our September 3 48-page preview section, but another interesting development has emerged in my travels the past three days. Teams gunning for the Knights in their reentry to the Class B ranks.

Cohoes players were excited to talk about the topic and some of the Cadets over at Albany Academy also admitted they were looking forward to their game against the Knights.

Lansingburgh, with all of the success it had at the Class A level, will be in the spotlight this season in Class B, but the Class B mainstays such as Ravena and Hudson Falls will certainly have something to say about that, as will up-and-coming Broadalbin-Perth and Schalmont squads.

The Record's High School Football Preview section, by the numbers:
Teams visited: 16
Players interviewed: 36
Days until week one kickoff: 16

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Training camp report: Troy High

Troy High head coach Jack Burger demonstrates a drill to players during the opening day of practice on Monday. (Mike McMahon - The Record).

The Flying Horses will have a number of changes to the team in 2009, please check out our 48-page season preview section coming out on September 3 for more, but here is an update on Troy's involvement in the Play it Smart program.

TROY -- Isaiah Hunt definitely had the talent to play college football. The 6-foot-1, 225-pound offensive guard graduated from Troy High this June, but thanks to the Flying Horses’ involvement in the Play it Smart program, he will not be buckling up a helmet this fall.
Instead, he’ll be following his other dream in the recording studio.
Play it Smart, sponsored by the National Football Foundation, is overseen at Troy by head football coach Jack Burger and academic coach Harry Peterson, a longtime guidance counselor at Troy High. The results during the 2008-09 school year, the first for the program in Troy, were astonishing.
All the seniors on the 2008 football team took the SAT and all juniors and sophomores took the PSAT, a preliminary standardized test designed to prepare students for the SAT. Every senior in the program graduated on time and all of them will be furthering their education in college this fall.
Hunt, in particular, took full advantage of the Play it Smart benefits. He studied in SAT preparation courses and his eyes were opened to four-year colleges such as SUNY-Oneonta, where he’ll begin classes later this month.
"He could’ve played football, but he was also into music and mixing music and we helped him get into Oneonta," said Peterson. "His mother was thrilled. It was a goal that he couldn’t believe was going to happen."
Football season is right around the corner, as Monday, Aug. 17 is the opening day of practice. Just as the weight room is important 12 months out of the year for players to keep in shape, so too is a year-round approach to academics for these players.
Many of the football players at Troy High responded to the program by enrolling in advanced placement courses that offer a tougher course load and college credit with the appropriate grades.
"We’ve been very pleased about the boys stepping up to the challenge of difficult classes and not just taking the school level classes," Peterson said. "With the scholarships we’ve been able to provide, it’s cost-effective to take these classes. Besides being educationally sound, you get college credit in your back pocket. For the guys that go on to play football, that means you may be able to take one fewer course in the fall."
Those classes, of course, cost extra money to sign up for and that’s where Play it Smart steps in. The program’s budget, which is funded almost entirely from donations (the National Football Foundation also provides a small stipend), affords student-athletes an opportunity to take a course they may have been otherwise unable to take in the past.
The football team is conducting a golf outing at Frear Park on Aug. 30 that is open to former players and those looking to benefit the Play it Smart program. More information may be found online at
Todd Mulligan, a 2006 Colgate graduate who started the final 23 games of his college career and Adam Lord, a 2002 Bucknell alum, are among the former players coming home to take a few swings on the links.
The Play it Smart program has six goals: improve grade point average, increase the number of students taking college entrance tests and improve their scores, increase graduation rate, enhance life skills development, increase opportunities for community service and increase parental and family involvement.
"I’ve eaten lunch with Jack for the past 20 years and we have the same philosophy when it comes to academics with athletes," Peterson said. "Most parents think you can just play your way to a scholarship, but it doesn’t work that way. If you don’t do the academic work too, it’s not going to happen."

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Training camp report: La Salle Institute

La Salle Institute football players do stomach crunches during Monday's opening day of practice. (Photo by Mike McMahon - The Record).

La Salle has won three of the last four Section II Class AA Super Bowls, but 2009 figures to be a very interesting year for the Cadets. They have the mystery of a potential merger with CBA hanging over the battle for the Sabre in the second week of the season and for the first in head coach Al Rapp's nine years at the school, the tailback position is a total question mark.

Marquis Terrell, who graduated after the 2008 season, finished his stellar career as the No. 5 career rusher in Section II history with 4,314 yards.

Prior to Marquis, the Cadets trotted out backs like Dave McCarty - now a star at UAlbany - and Jay Bernardo and Ernie Everett.

"It could be by committee this year," Rapp said. "We’re not sure how it’s going to work yet. We’re still trying to make up our mind and feel our way on that. We'll run our I-back offense and we have to have guys."

Tyler Washington and Cainann Lacy will likely be first in line to pick up some carries, but don't count out the Cadets passing game led by quarterback Mike Murray and receivers Lou DiNovo and Nick Edgington.

Check back tomorrow for more updates on some of the 21 schools we're working on for our 48-page preview section to hit the newsstands on Thursday, September 3.

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Monday, August 17, 2009

Opening day for Section II gridders

La Salle players huddle around the Cadets' new misting fan during Monday's practice, the first of the season for high school football teams. Temperatures ranged into the low 90s with high humidity, leaving players across the Capital Region dripping in sweat minutes into morning sessions. (Photo by Mike McMahon - The Record)

Lansingburgh High players get a drink early during Monday's practice behind the high school. (Mike McMahon - The Record).

Troy High football players weave between dummies during the first day of practice. (Mike McMahon - The Record).

Cohoes High School lineman work on blasting out of their stances during the first day of practice on Monday. (Photo by J.S. Carras - The Record).

I visited seven different high schools on Monday and my colleague Andy Santillo dropped by two more, as we're preparing for our 48-page preview section that will hit the newsstands on Thursday, September, 3, a day before the games begin.

We'll have a story in Tuesday's edition of The Record
about the four City of Troy teams trying to beat the heat and I'll keep you in touch with each of the 21 schools in our area in the days leading up to the release of our preview section. So make sure to check back to Off The Record often to see how your favorite team is shaping up for 2009.

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Friday, August 14, 2009

Watervliet High School Athletics Hall of Fame 2009

Second call to ‘Vliet High Hall

William Montgomery
The Record

WATERVLIET - The Watervliet Athletics Hall of Fame inducted 20 former student-athletes and coaches into the inaugural class in 2008, but reinforcements are on the way. An additional 17 former Cannoneers legends will enter the Hall this autumn.
Donald Hill, a Scotland native who turned rough-and-tumble kids from the Arsenal City into a machine on the soccer pitch from 1946 to 1966, was one of three coaches inducted. Thomas Jones, who coached four different sports and served as Athletic Director between 1938 and 1975, was inducted for his 37 years of service to the school.
Walt Nash, who guided the football team and coached girls gymnastics from 1950 to 1970, was not necessarily inducted for his success on the gridiron – he didn’t have much - but instead for his resolve on the sidelines.
"He never truly had a winning record, maybe not until his final years, but any of his former players can tell you how highly respected he was for his character-building," said Hall of Fame committee chairman Mike Reinfurt.
George Roe, who was a fine athlete in his own right at Watervliet, was inducted instead as a contributor for his dedication to the Watervliet Civic Center. He became a renowned softball player later in life and was a mainstay at Watervliet athletic contests of all kinds, keeping track of the players he mentored at the Civic Center.
13 former student-athletes were inducted, including basketball players-turned-coaches Andre Cook and Brian Fruscio. Cook has just left Hudson Valley Community College for St. Edward’s University in Texas and Fruscio coaches the varsity team at the Albany Academies.
Rich Fruscio, a dominant fullback and linebacker for the football team in the late 1960s, was also inducted.
"We could have put every member of the Fruscio family in the first class, but we couldn’t decide which one to put in first," Reinfurt said.
Don Kehn, who guided the Cannoneers to a Class C football state championship in 1996 and graduated in 1998, still holds school records in yards passing (3,299), completions (229) and touchdown passes (52). He was named co-New York State Class C Player of the Year after the 1996 season.
Jerry Connors, who was the first Watervliet wrestler to win a Section II championship in 1976 at 145 pounds, was voted in as the embodiment of the Cannoneers grappling program. He died accidentally shortly after his senior year.
Bob ‘Hack’ Harris pitched in the New York Yankees farm system after graduating from Watervliet in 1947.
Dick Foglia, a 1956 graduate familiarly referred to as the ‘one man riot squad,’ was a unanimous decision to represent Watervliet’s long tradition of producing tough linemen on the football field.
Kim Bonesteel, a three-sport athlete in the mid 1980s, was the only female in this year’s class. She remains active in the girls basketball program at Watervliet.
The Hall of Fame committee plans on rolling out a new class each and every year for the foreseeable future and the inductees will soon be featured prominently in the hallway to the renovated high school gymnasium scheduled to open in 2011. Reinfurt admitted the committee needs to do a better job recognizing girls sports as well as sports such as bowling and track and field, which have had sporadic record-keeping.
"It’s created quite a buzz about it and it has generated a lot of interest," Reinfurt said. "We have so many athletes to pick from and so many eras, I feel like we have so many yet to go."
2009 inductees will be honored during halftime of Watervliet’s homecoming football game against Fonda-Fultonville on Saturday, October 17. A formal induction ceremony will take place at Michael's Banquet House in Latham on Sunday, Oct. 18 at 3 p.m. Ticket information may be obtained by calling the high school athletic office at 629-3303.

2009 Watervliet High School Athletics Hall of Fame Inductees


*Donald Hill 1946-66 Soccer
*Thomas Jones 1938-75 Athletic Director, Football, Soccer, Basketball, Baseball
*Walt Nash 1950-70 Football, Track, Girl’s Athletic Association

*George Roe 1954

Kim Bonesteel 1987 Soccer, Basketball, Softball
*Jerry Connors 1976 Football, Wrestling, Baseball
Andre Cook 1990 Basketball, Baseball
Jeff DiNuzzo 1986 Soccer, Baseball
*Dick Foglia 1956 Football, Track
Brian Fruscio 1986 Football, Basketball, Baseball
Rich Fruscio 1969 Football, Track, Tennis, Baseball
*Bob Harris 1947 Football, Baseball, Track
Keith Heid 1994 Football, Basketball, Baseball
Don Kehn 1998 Football, Baseball
John Kennedy 1949 Football, Soccer, Basketball, Baseball, Track
Peter Torncello 1980 Soccer, Basketball, Baseball
Kevin Yanni 1999 Soccer, Basketball, Tennis

*Posthumous entries

Click here to see the inaugural class of 2008.


Friday, August 7, 2009

Local summer softball news and notes

Two Lansingburgh Lady Royals softball teams are competing in the World Fastpitch Connection 16-and-under World Series in Myrtle Beach, S.C. and here are some of the team's early results, as provided by coach John Cipperly:


Lansingburgh Lady Royals Blue and Silver Teams
Game Results

August 2009 WFC
(World Fastpitch Connection)
A Class 16&Under
World Series

Lady Royals Blue (2 nd year team) Pool Play Results:
3 Wins and No Losses


Lady Royals Blue - 7 Massachusetts Raiders - 3

Amanda Case - 2 RBI Double;
Meg Volz - Double;
Jill Venezia - 3 Runs Scored

WP: Danielle Amyot


New Jersey Hot Shots - 2
Lady Royals Blue - 7

Sarah Cipperly Single & RBI Double;
Rachel Heath RBI Single & RBI Double;

Kasey Ochs RBI Double.

WP: Lauren Hagerty ( One Hitter, 9 K )

North Carolina Starz - 0
Lady Royals Blue - 10

Amanda Case - 2 Singles & 2 RBI;
Sarah Cipperly 2 Runs Scored & RBI Single;

Jessica Freemantle Single & 2 BB & 2 Runs Scored

WP: Jessica Freemantle (2 Hitter, 5 K)

Lady Royals Silver (1 st year team) Pool Play Results:
3 Wins & 1 Loss


South Carolina Florence Fury 3
Lady Royals Silver 4

WP: Maddie Coneys

Lady Royals Silver 4
North Carolina Randolph Rage 5

Cassie Smith - RBI; Katie McGreevy RBI


Lady Royals Silver 3 South Carolina Dixie Diamondbacks 0

Gabby Daniels - Triple & scored game-winning run when Anasa Benbo drew a bases-loaded BB

WP: Amanda Adee (1 hitter)

Lady Royals Silver 7 NY Montgomery Devils Heat 2

Kat Rice - Triple & 2 Singles & 2 RBI;
Cassie Smith - 3 Singles; Kolbi Smith - 2 Singles

WP: Maddie Coneys

Lady Royals Blue - Bracket Play results:


So. Carolina Florence Fury 4 Lady Royals Blue 3 (International Tie-Breaker)

Jill Venezia - 2 BB; Sarah Cipperly & Jess Freemantle - Single; Rachel Heath - RBI Single

Alex Rogers - RBI HBP.

Lady Royals Silver - Bracket Play results:


Lady Royals Silver - 5 Ohio Eclipse Fastpitch - 0

Lady Royals Silver - 2 So. Carolina Dixie Diamondbacks - 3

In other softball news, the Classie Lassie Lightning 12-and-under team finished second overall at the at the Class B Eastern National Championships, finishing the tournament with a 6-2 record.

Here is a bracket for the tournament.

In Cal Ripken North Atlantic Regional baseball action in Troy on Thursday, Spring Youth Baseball held off the Clifton Park Thunder, 8-3.
Stan Hudy of The Saratogian was there, so make sure to check out his story in Saturday's edition of The Record and The Saratogian. He's also providing updates on his blog,

Here's an excerpt:

After an 18-4 beating at the hands of last year’s 8-year-old Mid-Atlantic Champions, East Brunswick, and Spring answered the bell against their local rivals.

“I told them today that this was their most important game,” Spring manager Dave Judge said. “We gave up so many runs last night that we’re in trouble if we tie another team. We need to win the next two games.”

With a 2-1 pool play record, Spring controls its own destiny, facing Northwest Pennsylvania champion, Audubon 12:30 today.

“I was a little concerned after the second inning, but I knew they had it in them,” Judge said. “They stepped up from the third inning on.”

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