Saturday, September 11, 2010

High school football: Week two in review

Zay it ain’t so!
Academy’s Richardson averaging over 20 yards per carry – and has scored 11 touchdowns – through two games


ALBANY — Albany Academy senior running back Zay Richardson is having a season to remember and he’s only played two games so far in 2010.

Richardson ran for 297 yards and five touchdowns – on five attempts! – in a 67-12 Week One victory over Broadalbin-Perth.

In Week Two, Richardson tied his head coach, Tony Fruscio, on the Section II all-time scoring list with 256 points. Richardson needed 36 points to reach 256 and Fruscio, in all seriousness, told Richardson prior to Saturday’s Class B non-division game against Hudson Falls that history was safe for at least one more week.

Richardson promptly went out and ran for 262 yards on 20 attempts, scoring six touchdowns in a 55-32 victory for the Cadets.

So far this season, Richardson has gained 559 yards on 25 attempts – an average of 22.4 yards per carry – and has scored 11 touchdowns.

Zay Richardson roams the practice field during 2009 training camp at Albany Academy. (Record file photo).

This week, Richardson will take on the Hudson High School defense in a Thursday night, Reinfurt Division special (7 p.m.) on the big stage on University Field at the University at Albany.

Richardson is just one of Section II’s running backs that have a mix of big-play ability and a workhorse attitude. Shenendehowa’s Bronson Greene, Hoosick Falls’ Brad Burns, Chatham’s Josh Keyes, Cambridge’s Matt Best and Averill Park’s Tyler Dunworth are among the running backs one can count on to carry the ball about 20 times for at least 100 yards per game.

As successful as Richardson has been this season – he owes a great deal, of course, to his offensive line and the passing game led by junior quarterback Hunter McCarthy – some defensive coordinator in Class B will devise a plan to at least slow him down. The Cadets, consequently, will have to find a balance on offense to move the ball in another way.

That was a concern of Fruscio’s in training camp, so Albany Academy has already been considering the idea of scoring points without Richardson. Still, expect the Cadets to ride him when he’s hot for as long as it lasts, which could well be all season long in Class B.

Other teams in the area, however, have been quicker to spread the ball to as many players as possible on offense.

In Troy High’s 40-0 victory over Colonie Saturday afternoon, the Flying Horses gave the ball to five different players on the first five snaps, gaining 51 yards on four runs and one pass.

No Troy rushers finished with more than 73 yards, but the Flying Horses top four runners each gained at least 58 yards on the ground.

In Tamarac’s 46-0 victory over Hoosic Valley – in which the Bengals turned the ball over four times and still posted a shutout - Mark Morine ran for 150 yards on 19 attempts, but most of those came in the second half. The Bengals also spread the ball around to senior Nick Feldmaier (19 yards, two touchdowns), Nick Casale (26 yards), Rick Roden (20 yards) and freshman David Newell (25 yards).

It’s true that all these figures have to be taken with a grain of salt in what has been a quirky 2010 season in Section II. 65% of the games (39 of 60) have been decided by 20 or more points.

One of the great thrills in anticipating high school football matchups every week is the differing coaching philosophies used by each team. Some local high schools are content to put all their eggs in one basket – albeit it a really good basket – and others are interested in diversifying their options.

All eyes will be on Academy’s Richardson the rest of the season, as fans look to see if he can compile another 200-plus yard, five-plus touchdown spectacle. The Cadets, however, enjoy the luxury of having a stockpile of offensive weapons and do not appear to be a one-trick pony in 2010, although it seems that way through two weeks.

Zay Richardson looks for running room during a 2009 game against Lansingburgh. (Photo by J.S. Carras - The Record).

Section II high school football standings, 2010
(I'm missing quarterpoints on the Coxsackie-Taconic game from Week Two - quarter scores were never reported).

Class AA, League, Overall
Empire Division, W-L, W-L, PF, PA, QP
Ballston Spa, 2-0, 2-0, 71, 27, 11.5
Shenendehowa, 2-0, 2-0, 75, 10, 14
Bethlehem, 1-1, 1-1, 28, 51, 4.5
Saratoga Springs, 1-1, 1-1, 48, 33, 9.5
Christian Bros. Acad., 0-1, 1-1, 50, 32, 2.5
Guilderland, 0-1, 1-1, 40, 41, 0
Albany, 0-2, 0-2, 7, 87, 0
Liberty Division
Niskayuna, 2-0, 2-0, 66, 56, 10.5
Shaker, 2-0, 2-0, 62, 21, 12
Troy, 2-0, 2-0, 95, 0, 14
Columbia, 0-1, 0-2, 42, 71, 2.5
La Salle, 0-1, 0-2, 13, 83, 0
Colonie, 0-2, 0-2, 0, 74, 0
Schenectady, 0-2, 0-2, 49, 60, 3

Class A
Northwest Division
Amsterdam, 0-0, 2-0, 83, 12, 0
Burnt Hills, 0-0, 2-0, 67, 15, 0
Glens Falls, 0-0, 2-0, 73, 37, 0
Queensbury, 0-0, 2-0, 71, 19, 0
South Glens Falls, 0-0, 1-1, 47, 41, 0
Gloversville, 0-0, 0-2, 61, 73, 0
Southeast Division
Averill Park, 0-0, 1-1, 38, 75, 0
Bishop Maginn, 0-0, 1-1, 72, 66, 0
Lansingburgh, 0-0, 1-1, 50, 53, 0
Mohonasen, 0-0, 0-2, 31, 83, 0
Scotia-Glenville, 0-0, 0-2, 0, 50, 0


Class B
Reinfurt Division
Albany Academy, 0-0, 2-0, 122, 44, 0
Ravena, 0-0, 2-0, 65, 32, 0
Hudson, 0-0, 1-1, 42, 36, 0
Cairo-Durham, 0-0, 0-2, 6, 82, 0
Cohoes, 0-0, 0-2, 13, 88, 0
West Division
Schalmont, 0-0, 2-0, 81, 13, 0
Schuylerville, 0-0, 2-0, 83, 13, 0
Cobleskill, 0-0, 1-1, 60, 21, 0
Broadalbin-Perth, 0-0, 0-2, 12, 115, 0
Hudson Falls, 0-0, 0-2, 38, 82, 0
Johnstown, 0-0, 0-2, 14, 79, 0
Independent
Ichabod Crane, 0-0, 0-2, 36, 69, 0

Class C
North Division
Greenwich, 2-0, 2-0, 97, 15, 14
Hoosick Falls, 2-0, 2-0, 90, 20, 14
Tamarac, 2-0, 2-0, 74, 18, 13.5
Granville, 1-1, 1-1, 58, 56, 7
Lake George, 1-1, 1-1, 32, 41, 4
Mechanicville, 0-1, 0-2, 0, 63, 0
Stillwater, 0-1, 1-1, 40, 61, 0
Corinth, 0-2, 0-2, 33, 62, 3
Hoosic Valley, 0-2, 0-2, 0, 100, 0.5
South Division
Chatham, 2-0, 2-0, 70, 20, 14
Fonda-Fultonville, 2-0, 2-0, 72, 36, 14
Watervliet, 2-0, 2-0, 85, 13, 13.5
Coxsackie-Athens, 1-1, 1-1, 58, 59, 0
Canajoharie, 0-1, 1-1, 42, 46, 0
Voorheesville, 0-1, 1-1, 35, 33, 0
Catholic Central, 0-2, 0-2, 27, 82, 0.5
Taconic Hills, 0-2, 0-2, 26, 81, 0

Class D
Cambridge, 2-0, 2-0, 61, 15, 11.5
Rensselaer, 1-0, 1-0, 34, 22, 7
Fort Edward, 1-1, 1-1, 76, 49, 6
Warrensburg, 1-1, 1-1, 33, 68, 6.5
Whitehall, 1-1, 1-1, 43, 49, 7.5
Bishop Gibbons, 0-1, 0-1, 7, 20, 1.5
Salem, 0-2, 0-2, 22, 53, 1.5

The Record's Week Two Power Polls
Class AA
Team, League, Overall, Last Week
1, Troy High, 2-0, 2-0, 1
The Flying Horses have posted two straight shutouts to open the 2010 season, but they have a long way to go to match what the 2009 team did. A season ago, Troy High posted 24 consecutive scoreless quarters during a streak of five straight shutouts.
2, Shaker High, 2-0, 2-0, 2
The Blue Bison refuse to lose under first-year head coach Greg Sheeler, mounting a fourth-quarter comeback against Schenectady in Week Two. They’ve done it so far without starting running back Conor Alund, who is injured and sitting on the sidelines so far.
3, Ballston Spa, 2-0, 2-0, 4
The Scotties used a blocked extra point in the waning minutes of their 21-20 Week Two victory over archrival Saratoga Springs. This week’s game against Shenendehowa looms even larger as control of the Empire Division hangs in the balance.
4, Shenendehowa, 2-0, 2-0, 5
The Plainsmen have beefed up their record in Saturday games against Bethlehem and Albany so far this year, but the Plainsmen get a big test in their home opener Friday night against Ballston Spa.
5, Niskayuna, 2-0, 2-0, NR
The Silver Warriors needed overtime to defeat Columbia in Week Two, keeping pace with Troy and Shaker in the Liberty Division. Nisky hosts La Salle this Friday night.

Class A
Team, League, Overall, Last Week
1, Burnt Hills, 0-0, 2-0, 1
The Spartans won their 22nd consecutive Section II game Friday, blanking Averill Park, 42-0. They’ll be challenged on the road this Saturday at Queensbury in an all-Spartans showdown.
2, Queensbury, 0-0, 2-0, 2
Queensbury has outscored opponents 71-19 through the first two weeks, but expect that to change Saturday when Northwest Division play opens against Burnt Hills.
3, Glens Falls, 0-0, 2-0, NR
The Indians posted a huge 46-31 victory over Bishop Maginn Friday night at Bleecker Stadium. Glens Falls, however, can’t expect to win shootouts every night in the Northwest Division, not with Amsterdam and Burnt Hills looming on the schedule.
4, Lansingburgh, 0-0, 1-1, 5
The Knights made it interesting late Friday night in Gloversville, almost letting a 21-0 halftime lead slip away. With newcomers Carlos Grillo and Anthony Fogarty leading the way on offense, the Lansingburgh offense can only improve as they learn the system.
5, Amsterdam, 0-0, 2-0, NR
The Rugged Rams have outscored opponents by 71 points through two weeks, but one of those games was against Class B rival Broadalbin-Perth. Can Amsterdam bounce back in 2010 after missing the playoffs in 2009?

Class B
Team, League, Overall, Last Week
1, Albany Academy, 0-0, 2-0, 1
The Cadets begin Reinfurt Division play Thursday night against Hudson High at UAlbany. Can Albany Academy, which traditionally plays its home games on Saturday afternoons, also shine under the lights?
2, Schalmont, 0-0, 2-0, 2
The Sabres have picked up where they left off in 2009 – Schalmont won its first Section II Super Bowl a season ago – with Jaren Ramundo and Joe Paskevich playing like adequate replacements for the graduated Vince Gallo.
3, Schuylerville, 0-0, 2-0, 3
The Black Horses continue to roll on the Class B level, having posted a 41-7 victory over Cohoes in Week Two in their first game on the new artificial turf surface in Schuylerville.
4, Ravena, 0-0, 2-0, NR
The Indians squeaked by Cobleskill in Week One by a single point but exploded for a 44-12 victory over Johnstown in Week Two.
5, Hudson, 0-0, 1-1, 4
The Bluehawks fell back to earth following a 34-7 defeat against Schalmont in Week Two and the defensive assignment gets even tougher this week: stop Albany Academy’s Zay Richardson this Thursday night.

Class C
Team, League, Overall, Last Week
1, Hoosick Falls, 2-0, 2-0, 1
The Panthers cleaned up the defensive effort in Week Two, shutting out Mechanicville a week after allowing 20 points to Corinth. Tanner Williams has emerged as a rushing and receiving threat for Hoosick Falls in his junior season.
2, Chatham, 2-0, 2-0, 2
The Panthers are on the prowl again in 2010, having shut out Canajoharie, 28-0, in Week Two. Chatham hosts Fonda this week in critical South Division showdown.
3, Watervliet, 2-0, 2-0, 4
The Cannoneers played a close game against Catholic Central last week…for about one quarter. Quarterback Brandon Legault passed for 199 yards in the 40-7 victory.
4, Greenwich, 2-0, 2-0, NR
The Witches have done nothing but impress this season in Class C – they played in the Class D Super Bowl a season ago – and face a big test Friday night, playing host to traditional Wasaren League rival Hoosick Falls in a battle for control of the North Division.
5, Fonda-Fultonville, 2-0, 2-0, NR
The Braves made a major impression Saturday afternoon in defeating Voorheesville, vaulting into a three-way tie for first place in the South Division with Chatham and Watervliet.

Class D
Team, League, Overall, Last Week
1, Rensselaer, 1-0, 1-0, 1
The Rams opened the 2010 season a week behind every other team, posting a 34-22 victory over Fort Edward. When Spa Catholic dropped its program over the summer, Rensselaer was awarded a Week One bye.
2, Cambridge, 2-0, 2-0, 2
The Indians have had no trouble adjusting to Class D in 2010, having outscored opponents 61-15 so far this season.
3, Fort Edward, 1-1, 1-1, 3
The Flying Forts scored 54 points in a come-from-behind rout of Warrensburg in Week One but dropped a road game in Rensselaer last Friday night.

WEEK THREE SCHEDULE
Thurs., Sept. 16
Class B
Reinfurt Division
Hudson vs. Albany Academy at UAlbany, 7 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 17
Class AA
Empire Division
Albany at Saratoga Springs, 7 p.m.
Ballston Spa at Shenendehowa, 7 p.m.
Christian Brothers at Guilderland, 7 p.m.
Liberty Division
Columbia at Colonie, 7 p.m.
LaSalle Institute at Niskayuna, 7 p.m.
Non-division
Bethlehem at Shaker, 7 p.m.

Class A
Southeast Division
Averill Park at Scotia-Glenville, 7 p.m.
Mohonasen at Bishop Maginn, 7 p.m.
Northwest Division
South Glens Falls at Amsterdam, 7 p.m.

Class B
West Division
Cairo-Durham at Ravena, 7 p.m.
Broadalbin-Perth at Schalmont, 7 p.m.
Cobleskill-Richmondville at Schuylerville, 7 p.m.
Non-division
Taconic Hills at Ichabod Crane, 7 p.m.

Class C
South Division
Fonda-Fultonville at Chatham, 7 p.m.
North Division
Stillwater at Lake George, 7 p.m.
Hoosick Falls at Greenwich, 7 p.m.
Mechanicville at Corinth, 7 p.m.

Sat., Sept. 18
Class AA
Liberty Division
Schenectady at Troy, 1:30 p.m.

Class A
Northwest Division
Gloversville at Glens Falls, 7 p.m.
Burnt Hills at Queensbury, 1:30 p.m.
Non-division
Lansingburgh at Cohoes, 1:30 p.m.

Class B
West Division
Johnstown at Hudson Falls, 1 p.m.

Class C
North Division
Tamarac at Granville, 1 p.m.
Hoosick Falls at Greenwich, 1 p.m.
South Division
Canajoharie at Watervliet, 1 p.m.
Coxsackie-Athens at Voorheesville, 1 p.m.
Non-division
Catholic Central at Hoosic Valley, 1 p.m.

Class D
Bishop Gibbons at Whitehall, 1 p.m.
Rensselaer at Warrensburg, 1 p.m.
Salem at Fort Edward, 1 p.m.

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