Wednesday, August 18, 2010

High school football notebook, August 18

Rensselaer High School football head coach Joel Preston raises his arms to signal a touchdown after the Rams finished their patented four quarters conditioning drill following Wednesday's practice. (Photos by Will Montgomery - The Record).

RENSSELAER -- When Saratoga Central Catholic High School folded its football program over the summer, the remaining seven Class D teams in Section II received a bye on the week each was slated to play the Saints.

Rensselaer is first up for the bye week, as its season-opening game has been pushed back to Friday, Sept. 10, when the Rams host Fort Edward at 7 p.m.

But when Section III’s Hamilton, a Class D school, announced that it too, was dropping its program on Tuesday, a group of Syracuse-area schools also have open dates on the schedule. Bishop Grimes High School of East Syracuse, like Rensselaer, has an open date the first weekend of September.

Rensselaer hasn’t officially decided to play in week one or not, as head coach Joel Preston and his staff are reviewing their options.

"A bye could help us eligibility-wise because we would have two kids that we normally wouldn’t have," Preston said. "It might also hurt because you want to get games under your belt. You want to get kids on the field playing."

Class D has seen some reshuffling in 2010. Greenwich and Lake George made the leap up to Class C. Cambridge, which played in Class C in 2009, has moved back to Class D this season.

With a lack of depth in the classification locally, the Rams may have to turn to an oppo¬nent from out of the area if they want to be sharp enough to post a third straight Section II Class D Super Bowl title.

"I’d rather play and the kids would rather play," said Preston. "I’ll keep looking for a game."

‘Vliet has new home base
Thanks to a little bit of help from City Hall (offensive coordi¬nator Mike Manning is the city’s mayor) the Watervliet High School football team has a new home base for training camp in 2010.

Construction at the high school has forced the team off its traditional practice field and onto the small field adjacent to the Watervliet Dome on Second Avenue and Thirteenth Street.

The team uses the dome building to get out of the sun and for position-specific meetings before practice.

"You know what? We actually love it here," said head coach Erick Bernard Tuesday evening. "It’s only day two, but if it con¬tinues to go like it is, we might keep doubles here form here on out. Mr. (Michael) Reinfurt made all the signs up, which say things like ‘Welcome to Watervliet Football Camp’ and ‘This is Cannoneer Country."

Cohoes playing numbers game
Cohoes High School head coach James Ducharme esti¬mates that his varsity team will dress 18 players for each game this season and the Tigers’ junior varsity squad will have 22 players.

The New York State Public High School Athletic Association requires football teams to dress at least 16 healthy players for each contest.

"This year, with 18, it’s going to be a challenge," said Ducharme. "The way we push them in camp and the way we push each other, everyone is going to be accountable. There are going to be some guys in positions they haven’t played in the past and they’re going to have to do big things."

While some schools are seeing a decline in numbers, others have seen an increase. Christian Brothers Academy has about 85 players in camp and Shaker High School saw 100 players come out for the varsity and junior varsity teams on opening day.

Rensselaer High School seniors, Phil Sayers, Jason Brown and Tyler Bishop (left to right) will be major contributors for the Rams in 2010. Look for Rensselaer's training camp report on the blog later this week.

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