Thursday, November 4, 2010

High school football: Class AA Super Bowl preview

Section II Class AA Super Bowl
L1 Troy (9-0) vs. 
E3 Shenendehowa (8-2)
At South Colonie High School
Friday, 7 p.m.

TROY — According to the Bureau of Education Data Services enrollment numbers for Class AA football teams in Section II, Shenendehowa (2,298) is the largest among the public schools and Troy High (1,027), up from Class A a season ago, is smallest.

Despite the enrollment contrast, Shenendehowa hasn’t exactly been the Big Green Machine in 2010. The Plainsmen, who lost their two final regular season games, slipping to the No. 3 seed in the Empire Division in the process, have played more like the Little Engine That Could.

Troy, on the other hand, has been the sole dominant force in Class AA during the topsy-turvy 2010 Section II season. The Flying Horses, who were taken to overtime by Niskayuna in a regular season game, posted an emphatic 63-7 semifinal victory over the Silver Warriors last Saturday.

Tonight, these two teams collide in the Class AA Super Bowl, the third time Troy and Shen have squared off in a Section II title game since 1997.

Troy lost to Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake in the Class A Super Bowl a season ago. Shen, led by head coach Brent Steuerwald, the only coach with 300-plus win in Section II history, last played in a Super Bowl in 2004, losing to archrival Saratoga Springs, 24-13.

“In January, that was our goal. Go to the Super Bowl again,” said Troy’s Shatiek Lewis, a senior running back and linebacker. “I feel that we’re back where we belong, but this time, we’re going to win it. We’re not going there just to be there, we’re going there to win it.”

Shen won the 2003 Class AA bowl over Troy, 30-0. Troy had defeated Shen 35-6 in the 1997 Class AA title game.

Lewis, who rushed for 207 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 10 attempts in last week’s triumph over Niskayuna, joins Jordan Canzeri (156 atts., 1,298 yds., 21 TDs) in Troy’s dual-threat backfield.

Shen, always a power-running team, had relied on Bronson Greene and Queensbury High transfer Tony Fusco early in the season. Fusco, however, has been limited each of the past four weeks and appeared in street clothes during Shen’s come-from-behind 24-14 semifinal victory over Ballston Spa.

Greene (189 atts., 1,255 yds., 17 TDs) has rushed for at least 113 yards in seven of the nine games in which he played this year. Ballston Spa, which did so twice, was the only team to hold him under that mark.

“Bronson Greene runs really good,” Canzeri said. “They’re a good run team and they throw a couple of times. That’s just what we’re going to have to put the emphasis on – stopping the run game.”

Tonight, the Flying Horses look to assert their dominance and also win the first Super Bowl for the school since winning five straight from 1996 to 2000.

“We knew we let a lot of things slip last year and we knew that should have been a little different,” Canzeri said. “All of us seniors, we’ve been lifting with coach (Bob) Burns in the morning, a big group of us, about 15 of us, and we’re all really dedicated.”

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