Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Training camp report No. 2: Cohoes High School

COHOES -- The numbers game hasn't been kind to the Cohoes High School football program this season.

Despite compiling a 14-4 record over the past two seasons, advancing to the Section II Class B semifinals each year, the Tigers will field just 18 varsity players in 2010. The challenge of having fewer than 20 players for a Class B program is enormous.

The Tigers will not be able to simulate an 11-on-11 situation in practice with varsity players alone. Junior varsity players (or coaches) will have to fill in on the scout team to give the first team players a good look during preparation sessions.

"Numbers-wise, we’re going to be small," said head coach James Ducharme. "We're probably going to have 18 varsity players and 22 on the junior varsity. We played the number game here the last couple of years and we're usually around 20 kids. This year, with 18, it’s going to be a challenge. 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. That’s what we as a program have to weed out this camp."

New York State requires that football teams dress at least 16 healthy players for each game.

Dustin Hallock is all smiles after making the move to the backfield for his senior season. "Offensive line was kind of boring for me," he laughed. (Mugshot photos by Will Montgomery - The Record).

One of the key players on the team this year will be Dustin Hallock, who is returning to the fullback spot after spending his junior season on the offensive line.

"You could always hope for certain kids to be leaders," said Ducharme. "The senior group we have now has been around for four years, so they have seen the way everything has transitioned. They have seen the (Sean) Littlejohns and the (Steve) Weavers come through, so we’re hoping for them to take leadership roles. Some of them are starting to emerge as vocal leaders of getting in guys’ faces and saying, 'this is how we do it."

"As seniors, we have to push our kids to win and that’s all we want to do," said senior Darnell Rafalko. "Win."

Darnell Rafalko could be a dual threat on offense for the Tigers this year, playing both the wide receiver and quarterback positions.

The Tigers have a number of interesting dates on the schedule. They open the season at Union College against Schalmont on Friday, Sept. 3. The Sabres knocked the Tigers out of the playoffs in the Class B semifinals last year, a 55-14 decision.

"I hated leaving like that, losing by 30-somehthing, 40-something," Rafalko said (editor's note: it was 41 points). "We just went back on the bus and it was a quiet ride home."

Cohoes' non-league game will be played against arch-rival Lansingburgh, which made the jump to Class A this year. That game, which will be played on Saturday, Sept. 18 at Cohoes, kicks off at 1:30 p.m.

Senior Darnell Rafalko stretches out during Cohoes High School's first football practice of the season on August 16, 2010. (Photo by J.S. Carras - The Record).

Cohoes, 2009 game-by-game results
Cobleskill-Richmondville, W 34-6
Lansingburgh, L 51-19
RAVENA, W 21-14
HUDSON, W 26-22
Hudson Falls, L 27-13
Schalmont, L 55-14!
*Section II Class B quarterfinals
!Section II Class B semifinals
Home games in CAPS

Cohoes, 2009 stats review
Rushing, Att, Yds., Avg., TDs
Anthony Fogarty, 126, 789, 6.3, 13
Passing, Comp., Att., Yds., Avg., TDs
Josh Floeser, 51, 105, 869, 17.0, 9
Receiving, No., Yds., Avg., TDs
Anthony Fogarty, 18, 310, 17.2, 2
Scoring, TD, 2-pt, PAT, FG, Tot.
Anthony Fogarty, 19, 0, 0, 0, 114

Cohoes, 2010 schedule
Friday Sept. 3, vs. Schalmont at Union College, 7 p.m.
Friday Sept. 10, at Schuylerville, 7 p.m.
Saturday Sept. 18, vs. Lansingburgh, 1:30 p.m.
Saturday Sept. 25, vs. Ravena, 1:30 p.m.
Saturday Oct. 2, at Cairo-Durham, 1:30 p.m.
Saturday Oct. 9, at Albany Academy, 1:30 p.m.
Saturday Oct. 16, vs. Hudson, 1:30 p.m.

Cohoes’ three keys to the season
1, Conditioning. With just 18 players on the roster, the Tigers are going to have to be iron men in the fourth quarter if they want to keep up with teams that have depth.
2, Find a leader. With the transfer of Anthony Fogarty to Lansingburgh, Cohoes will have to discover a new vocal leader who can inspire the team to second-half rallies.
3, Smooth position adjustments. Dustin Hallock is shifting from the offensive line to fullback and Darnell Rafalko may be seeing time at quarterback. Can they adapt on the fly?

Cohoes High School football players run sprints during the first day of practice on Monday, August 16, 2010. (Photo by J.S. Carras - The Record).

Keep checking back on the blog for a training camp report posted every day between now and opening day of the high school football season on Thursday, Sept. 2. The schools will be posted in no particular order, so please be patient if you don't see your school right away.

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

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