Monday, August 16, 2010

Opening day 2010: high school football practice

TROY -- Like many high school football players in New York State, Jake Luce (pictured above) didn’t get much sleep after he tucked himself in Sunday night, since Monday marked the first day of practice for football teams.

Rested or not, Luce and the rest of his Lansingburgh teammates had an exceptionally sharp session.

"Last night I couldn’t even sleep. I fell asleep at four in the morning," said Luce, a senior offensive lineman and linebacker. "I was so excited to come. My adrenaline was going crazy. Football season is back. That’s what I like."

Mark Tracey is ready to get back to action on the football field for Lansingburgh High School after having missed the final three weeks of the 2009 season with a torn ACL. (All photos by Will Montgomery - The Record).

Lansingburgh head coach Al McNall called Monday’s practice "probably one of the best first days we’ve had here in a long time."

The weather certainly aided that, as cloudy skies kept players out of the sun. Lansingburgh, which practices from 9 a.m. to 11, takes a 30-minute break and resumes for a 90-minute session, offers its players water breaks two or three times in each practice portion.

"Today was a great day, but by Wednesday, it’s going to be 85 and extremely humid," said McNall. "Section II has stressed about the hydration and the water breaks."

The Knights, who have moved up to Class A this season after spending 2009 in Class B, open the season at home Friday, September 3 against two-time defending Section II champion Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake.

Burnt Hills last lost to a Section II team when Lansingburgh defeated the Spartans in the 2007 Section II Class A Super Bowl, 28-25.

"This is the first step to the first week, so if you’re not taking a step here, you’re that much further back when you put pads on," said Lansingburgh senior two-way lineman Mark Tracey. "The first game is going to be that much harder if you’re not taking a step here."

A few blocks north on Seventh Avenue, the Catholic Central High School team was optimistic even though the program will likely have fewer than 40 players combined on its teams.

"We have small numbers and lot of inexperience, but we have some really, really athletic kids," said senior linebacker Anthony Marchese. "We’re fast and we can move."

Mike Sunkes, left, and Anthony Marchese, right, were optimistic prior to the start of Catholic Central High School's first practice Monday in Lansingburgh.

Catholic Central opens the season on September 3, when it hosts defending Section II Class C finalist Chatham at 7 p.m.

Collar City Cup resumes after two-year hiatus
On the south side of town, excitement is already brewing for a Week One showdown between Troy High and La Salle Institute.

Troy, which competes in Class AA this year after spending two years in Class A, will play La Salle for the first time since 2007 in a battle for The Record’s Collar City Cup. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, September 3 at Sutton Field on the La Salle campus.

Despite all of the recent success for Troy and La Salle, the two programs were facing a number of challenges on the first day of practice.

Garrett Delory, pictured above, started two games at quarterback in 2009 when senior Mike Murray went down with an injury. He has the inside track on the job in his junior year.

La Salle lost 21 of its 22 starters to graduation. Frank Seitz, who started on the right side of the offensive line last year, figures to be a two-way starter for the Cadets in 2010. Quarterback Garrett Delory, who played in a handful of games in the middle of the 2009 season when senior Mike Murray went down with a knee injury, has the inside track on the signal caller’s job.

Troy High's Brian Marsh served as a team captain and quarterback as a junior. He could be a secret weapon with his arm and his legs if opposing defenses focus their energies on Jordan Canzeri and Shatiek Lewis.

Al Rapp, La Salle’s head coach, insists that every position is open for competition, which should make for an intense three weeks of preparation leading up to the game against Troy.

Troy brings back senior running backs Jordan Canzeri and Shatiek Lewis, who rushed for over 1,000 yards apiece in 2009. The Flying Horses, however, have some work to do on the lines, as only one offensive lineman – Jay Yaskanich – returns.

"Troy and La Salle is always a big game. Always," said Seitz.

Frank Seitz, who played on the right side of the offensive line last year, is the only returning starter on either side of the ball for La Salle Institute in 2010.

The Record’s Collar City Cup series history
2007, La Salle 19, Troy 14
2006, Troy 29, La Salle 21
2005, La Salle 26, Troy 12
2004, La Salle 12, Troy 7
2003, Troy 27, La Salle 25
2002, Troy 14, La Salle 7
2001, La Salle 14, Troy 0

Note: In 2008, Troy defeated Lansingburgh in the inaugural Uncle Sam Cup game, 28-3. There were no intra-city matchups in 2009.

Each day from now until opening day, I will post a team preview with a short story, notes, pictures, video and information boxes. As team rosters start pouring in, I will post them as well. The teams will be posted in no particular order, so please be patient if you don't see your team right away.

Also, keep your eyes open for our 48-page preview section - Kickoff 2010 - which will hit the newsstands inside The Record on Thursday, September 2.

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