Airing it out: 'Burgh wins fourth annual Tiger Shootout
COHOES -- For the better part of the last decade, stellar running backs and bone-crushing linemen have defined Lansingburgh High School football.
But for a few hours Sunday, a rookie quarterback and a set of wide receivers and defensive backs proved that the Knights can also excel on both sides of the passing game.
Carlos Grillo, a lanky lefthanded thrower who played just one game at quarterback on the junior varsity team in 2009, guided the Knights to an undefeated record en route to the team title at the fourth annual Tiger Shootout 7-on-6 passing tournament at Cohoes High School.
Lansingburgh defeated Shaker High in the championship game, 28-0. The secondary stepped up in the shutout win, intercepting three Shaker passes.
One of the stars for Lansingburgh on both sides of the ball was rising senior Anthony Fogarty, who recently transferred from Cohoes. A fiery running back and linebacker, Fogarty was a major part of Cohoes’ turnaround the past few seasons and he is looking to contribute at Lansingburgh this season as well.
"It’s a little weird, but I’m over here now," Fogarty said. "My goal is to win the Super Bowl and go far. This is the first step. Well, the first was Capitaland, but now this. It’s a really good step."
Quincy Michael, who will be one of key returning skill players for the Knights, was happy that the team is starting to move on from its defeat in the 2009 Section II Class C championship game.
"It feels good," Michael said. "We lost in the Super Bowl last year, so we’re trying to redeem ourselves and get back. Since we got Anthony, a really good player, we’re trying to accomplish a goal."
Fogarty will be a major addition for the Knights, but he was already familiar with many of the players before he knew he was transferring.
"These are like childhood friends," Forgarty said. "Most everybody on the team is like childhood friends and that's probably why we’re going to have good chemistry."
In the 7-on-6 tournament, the ball is snapped off a three-foot-tall plastic tee with a built-in 3.7-second sack timer that starts when the ball is lifted. Quarterbacks have just under four seconds to throw the ball before they are ‘sacked,’ which causes a loss of down. First downs were achieved by moving the ball across the 25 and 10-yard lines.
A light-impact event, receivers were ruled down when they were touched by a defender.
For tournament director James Ducharme, the varsity head coach at Cohoes, these are the types of events needed in Section II to turn football into a year-round sport that will help put New York State on equal footing with the football powers in the Southern states.
Ducharme plans to expand the field to 12 teams in 2011, with the top four teams in 2010 – Lansingburgh, Shaker, Schuylerville and Chatham – earning first round byes.
Troy High, a traditional participant in the event, pulled out as a number of Flying Horses seniors wished to compete in the Senior Day Camp being held concurrently at the University at Albany.
Shaker, guided by first-year head coach Greg Sheeler, was arguably the most entertaining team of the day. Ben Capeless, a rising senior, threw the ball deep downfield all day long, leading the Blue Bison to a thrilling triple overtime victory over Chatham in the loser’s bracket semifinals.
"I think we’ll be balanced this year," said Sheeler, who played quarterback at Ithaca College and Gloversville High School. "I think in a competition like this, we’re going to let the kids have fun. We haven’t had too much time on the football field together, so an event like this is good to open it up and let the kids have fun and go get the ball."
With the first day of high school football practice 28 days away, the players have already caught football fever.
"It’s fun to do this because we’re mostly in the weight room year-round, just working," Michael said.
"I got really excited," said Capeless, pictured above. "The last time I was this excited was our last football game. Just seeing the other teams out there…anytime you see a different colored jersey, you want to compete. It’s just a really great feeling."
To view a bracket and see how the tournament unfolded, click here.
2008, Troy High
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