Thursday, September 30, 2010

Southeast Division title on the line: 'Burgh at AP, Friday, 7 p.m.

TROY -- Three weeks remain in high school football’s regular season, but tonight in Averill Park, the Lansingburgh Knights and the Warriors will more than likely square off in Section II’s Class A Southeast Division championship game.

Lansingburgh (1-0, 3-1) and Averill Park (2-0, 3-1) have defeated common opponents Gloversville and Scotia-Glenville and both have lost to New York State’s No. 3-ranked team, Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake (2-0, 4-0). The Spartans sit tied atop the Northwest Division with Amsterdam (2-0, 4-0).

The reason why tonight’s game is so important to both teams is the appeal of home field advantage in the postseason that goes to the No. 1 seed, as well as the odds of keeping Burnt Hills off the schedule until the Class A Super Bowl, should everything go according to the seedings.

"This could be the game to win," said Lansingburgh senior two-way lineman Mark Tracey, pictured above. "If we don’t win this one, there is a pretty good chance that they’re going to come out with the top seed and get the home field advantage the first week of the playoffs. So yeah, it’s definitely extra motivation."

Bishop Maginn (1-1, 2-2), which lost at Averill Park 49-20 last week, is currently in third place in the Southeast Division. Scotia-Glenville and Mohonasen, both 0-4 overall, occupy last place.

"We’re just trying to get better each and every week," said Lansingburgh head coach Al McNall. "We’re a little nicked-up injury-wise and we’re dealing with PSAT review classes, but that’s nothing that nobody else is dealing with too.

"We’re looking forward to it and (Averill Park) Coach (Zach) Gobel does a good job out there. They look pretty comfortable in his offense now. They’re growing into it."

Averill Park senior fullback Tyler Dunworth (44 att., 514 yds., seven TD) has emerged as one of eleven Section II running backs with 500-plus yards on the ground through four games. Gobel has changed the Warriors’ offense this year from a no-huddle spread scheme, which he ran during his first year at the helm in 2009, to an option-based double wing set.

The Warriors have won three games so far, matching their season total for 2007, ’08 and ’09. The team last finished with a winning record when it went 7-3 and appeared in the Section II Class A Super Bowl in 2005.
The Averill Park players have chalked up most of their success to a new attitude developed over the winter months, which has everyone on the team competing hard in practice.

"Our recon ‘D’ is giving us great looks," Dunworth said after Friday’s victory over Maginn. "Matt Joe, Brian Hardy, and Kevin Otty, they’re playing amazing on recon and they’re just helping us out a lot."

Lansingburgh, on the other hand, has been a superpower this decade, having played in a Section II championship game seven times since the 2002 season.

Junior running back Marcus Little (44 att., 377 yds., four TD) and senior Anthony Fogarty (34 att., 305 yds., four TD) have carried the load so far out of the backfield for the Knights. First year quarterback, junior Carlos Grillo, has also impressed, completing 25-of-43 passes and throwing for 411 yards.

Behind a veteran offensive line, two of the players that have shone the brightest for McNall this season are backup running backs Ohmeire Jones and Adae Turner.

"If anything, our guys behind our line have picked it up. All of them," McNall said. "Ohmeire Jones had a big game against Cohoes and Adae Turner, he’s had some pretty good runs when we put in him in there to spell Marcus and Anthony.

"The guys that this year were expected to chip in and expected this year to show up and get ready in case they had to latch on to the reigns, they’ve come along pretty well."

Lansingburgh (1-0, 3-1)
at Averill Park (2-0, 3-1)
Fri., 7 p.m.
Class A, Southeast Division

For the rest of the Week Five game capsules, click here.

For the Section II stat pack and NFL QB ratings through Week Four, click here.

For the latest New York State Sportswriters Association football rankings, click here.

For The Record's Week Five Power Polls, click here.

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