Sunday, August 29, 2010

High school football media day news and notes, Aug. 29

ALBANY — The 2010 high school football season begins this week and a pair of big-time rivalry games dominated the discussion at Sunday’s Media Day festivities at the University at Albany.

Thursday night, South Colonie travels across town to take on Shaker in the annual battle for the Town of Colonie Cup. Friday, La Salle Institute plays host to Troy High School in a resumption of The Record’s Collar City Cup series, which hasn’t been played since 2007.

Both games have been and always will be a once-in-a-lifetime highlight for the players.

“Every day after practice, it’s Bison, Bison, Bison,” said Colonie senior running back and linebacker Davion Brink. “It’s on everyone’s minds and it’s all I’m worried about right now.”

Colonie head coach Mike Ambrosio, however, had two issues with playing the game so early in the season. First, school does not start until next week, so excitement for this game will not be brewing in the hallways.

“For game one, I don’t think the towns and the schools will be excited because no one is in the building,”
Ambrosio said. “It’s kind of tough to get excited if no one is around. I’m sure Troy and La Salle are in the same boat. How do you have a rivalry game in week one?”

Secondly, moving the Colonie-Shaker game ahead a day for a television slot will cause certain players to be ineligible, according to the New York State Public High School Athletic Association’s rule that a player must participate in 15 practices prior to competing in the team’s first game.

South Colonie head coach Mike Ambrosio displays the swim move to players during a recent practice. (Photo by Mike McMahon - The Record).

 “The fact that they moved the game up to Thursday night, if a kid missed one practice, they can’t play in the game,” Ambrosio said. “I have a couple of seniors, the kids got sick and couldn’t make a practice. And their senior year, they can’t play in the rivalry game. That’s wrong.

“I totally disagree with moving it up and playing a rivalry game that early, but it’s not my decision,” Ambrosio continued. “I play where they tell me to go.”

Ambrosio knows the Colonie-Shaker rivalry well. He took a leave of absence at Colonie during the 2008 season to watch his son, Mark, play his senior season at Shaker.


The fact that they will not be in school doesn’t seem to damper the excitement that’s building for the Troy-La Salle game, at least on the internet.

“It is fun to be with a lot of your friends talking about the game and stuff, but on Facebook, we have a lot of stuff on that,” said Troy High senior running back Jordan Canzeri. “We sent a couple of invites and we have a good amount of people that are saying they’re going to attend the game, so it’s not a real big issue.”

Quarterback questions open and answered
With the first game of the season to be played later this week, both Cohoes and Watervliet still have question marks at the quarterback positions.

Cohoes head coach James Ducharme said he plans to use junior Danny DeChiaro and senior Darnell Rafalko interchangeably at quarterback throughout the season, as each has their own strengths and weakness under center.

Watervliet head coach Erick Bernard said that Brandon Legault and Sean Daley are still entrenched in a battle for the No. 1 quarterback job. The Cannoneers would like to use one of those players exclusively on offense and the backup quarterback exclusively on defense during games.

Lansingburgh head coach Al McNall announced that the team has full faith in junior Carlos Grillo, who has made a great impression on his coaching staff in about one and a half months of experience at the position in practices and camps.

“Carlos is our guy,” McNall said. “He’s progressing. He’s come a long way in a month and a half. He showed real well in the 7-on-7 at Cohoes and he made some throws that he has to be able to make.”

According to Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake head coach Matt Shell, the Spartans have converted senior Keaton Flint into their starting quarterback. Flint was a fourth team All-State wide receiver in Class A last season, leading the Spartans to the New York State championship game for the second consecutive year.

Burnt Hills plays at Lansingburgh this Friday at 7 p.m. in a non-division Class A game.


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