Wednesday, November 3, 2010

High school football: Class D Super Bowl preview

Section II Class D Super Bowl
No. 2 Rensselaer (6-2) vs.
No. 1 Cambridge (8-0)
Friday, 7 p.m.
Schuylerville High School




RENSSELAER — For the third consecutive season, the Rensselaer High School football team will be playing in the Section II Class D Super Bowl.

The 2010 campaign, however, certainly wasn’t an all-smiles victory lap for the Rams.

“It’s definitely been a rebuilding year for us,” said head coach Joel Preston, “a very challenging year for us in that regard. There is a lot of football talent out there, but I think our biggest struggle is our junior class. It’s really just a void there. Between that and injuries, it’s been a very tough year.”

First, the Rams had to replace nearly all of their skill players from the 2008 and 2009 Section II Super Bowl championship squads and remodel a defense that was one of the toughest in Class D. Numbers were up this season, but only three juniors are on the team, meaning Preston has had to lean on sophomores and freshman in key positions.

Although Rensselaer returned three true starters on the offensive line and added two players with significant experience, injuries have beset the team. Three players have been ruled out for the season and a handful of others are playing at less than 100%.

With only seven teams in Class D this season, Rensselaer also faced two bye weeks in 2010, including a 16-0 crossover defeat at Class C Canajoharie in Week Eight.

“The last few years we won the Super Bowl. We lost a couple of great players, but we want to three-peat,” said senior Tom Collins. “We want to win for a third year in a row.”

Collins, an outside linebacker at 5-foot-9, 155 pounds, has been a boon to the Rensselaer offense, as he plays a multitude of different positions and gives the Rams flexibility from week-to-week and from play-to-play.

“I’m whatever coach tells me to play,” he laughed. “Receiver, quarterback, running back.”

The Rams face undefeated Cambridge tonight in the Super Bowl, but it won’t be the first meeting of the teams this season. Cambridge won, 30-0, at Rensselaer on Oct. 1.

“I kind of knew we were going to see them in the Super Bowl,” Collins said. “I wasn’t expecting a loss the first time around, especially 30-0. But we learned from that loss. We learned we can lose and we fixed a lot of things and we all came together as a team.”

The Rensselaer players and coaches know they’ll have their hands full with Cambridge’s tough five-man defensive line and offensive weapons Matt Best and Billy Pine, but half the fun for the Rams this year was simply defying the relentless string of bad luck thrown their way so far in 2010.

“This Super Bowl is kind of special because we didn’t know if we had much of a shot to get there,” Preston said. “It’s a credit to the coaches and the kids who were on the bench at the beginning of the year who have stepped up and made the adjustments. We have guys playing spots they weren’t playing at the beginning of the year because we had so many injuries.”


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Look for previews on the other four Section II Super Bowls coming soon.

Here are some notes from Week Nine in the meantime.

Section II high school football standings, 2010

Class AA, League, Overall
Empire Division, W-L, W-L, PF, PA, QP
Ballston Spa, 5-1, 6-3, 227, 165, 30
Saratoga Springs, 4-2, 5-4, 203, 180, 31
Shenendehowa, 4-2, 7-2, 234, 116, 26
Christian Bros. Acad., 3-3, 5-4, 236, 171, 25.5
Guilderland, 3-3, 5-4, 228, 174, 21.5
Bethlehem, 2-4, 4-5, 142, 223, 13
Albany, 0-6, 0-9, 66, 287, 0
Liberty Division
Troy, 6-0, 9-0, 396, 68, 41
Shaker, 5-1, 6-3, 239, 182, 32
Niskayuna, 3-3, 5-4, 251, 244, 22
Schenectady, 3-3, 4-5, 188, 198, 22.5
Colonie, 2-4, 3-6, 88, 209, 12
Columbia, 1-5, 2-7, 133, 255, 12
La Salle, 1-5, 2-7, 133, 302, 5.5

Class A
Northwest Division
Burnt Hills, 5-0, 9-0, 406, 81, 35
Amsterdam, 4-1, 7-2, 289, 202, 23
Queensbury, 3-2, 6-3, 192, 146, 22.5
Gloversville, 2-3, 2-6, 152, 256, 13.5
Glens Falls, 1-4, 3-5, 182, 227, 9
South Glens Falls, 0-5, 2-7, 188, 301, 2
Southeast Division
Lansingburgh, 4-0, 8-1, 287, 130, 26.5
Averill Park, 3-1, 5-3, 228, 198, 20.5
Bishop Maginn, 2-2, 5-4, 244, 243, 13.5
Scotia-Glenville, 1-3, 3-6, 152, 195, 8.5
Mohonasen, 0-4, 1-7, 137, 289, 1

Class B
Reinfurt Division
Ravena, 4-0, 8-1, 259, 139, 25
Albany Academy, 3-1, 6-3, 304, 160, 21
Hudson, 1-3, 3-6, 168, 239, 11
Cairo-Durham, 1-3, 1-8, 103, 359, 0
Cohoes, 1-3, 3-6, 139, 303, 6
West Division
Schalmont, 5-0, 9-0, 332, 45, 34
Hudson Falls, 3-2, 4-5, 269, 225, 23.5
Schuylerville, 3-2, 5-4, 290, 139, 21.5
Cobleskill, 3-2, 5-4, 203, 141, 19
Broadalbin-Perth, 1-4, 1-8, 137, 415, 7
Johnstown, 0-5, 0-8, 59, 339, 0
Independent
Ichabod Crane, 0-0, 1-8, 141, 281, 0

Class C
North Division
Hoosick Falls, 6-0, 9-0, 305, 52, 34.5
Greenwich, 5-1, 6-3, 291, 161, 35.5
Tamarac, 4-2, 5-4, 200, 240, 24.5
Mechanicville, 4-2, 4-5, 125, 203, 23.5
Granville, 4-3, 5-4, 231, 213, 30.5
Lake George, 3-4, 3-4, 141, 87, 20
Stillwater, 2-4, 4-4, 181, 231, 14
Corinth, 0-6, 3-6, 174, 252, 6
Hoosic Valley, 0-6, 0-8, 39, 339, 0.5
South Division
Chatham, 5-0, 9-0, 359, 131, 34
Fonda-Fultonville, 5-1, 6-3, 239, 170, 34.5
Voorheesville, 3-2, 6-3, 226, 137, 18
Watervliet, 4-2, 4-4, 141, 134, 27.5
Canajoharie, 3-3, 5-3, 127, 119, 19.5
Coxsackie-Athens, 1-4, 4-5, 244, 177, 3
Taconic Hills, 1-5, 2-6, 109, 209, 8.5
Catholic Central, 0-5, 2-6, 130, 220, 1.5

Class D
Cambridge, 6-0, 8-0, 319, 32, 39
Rensselaer, 5-1, 6-2, 168, 103, 26
Whitehall, 4-2, 5-3, 222, 159, 28.5
Fort Edward, 3-3, 4-4, 242, 177, 20.5
Bishop Gibbons, 2-4, 2-5, 61, 173, 14.5
Warrensburg, 1-5, 1-6, 79, 251, 9
Salem, 0-6, 0-7, 54, 240, 2

*QP = quarter points
  • Notes: Sabre series stats: CBA defeated La Salle in the 60th Sabre game in series history in a Week Nine crossover meeting, 49-25. CBA holds the all-time series edge, 33-21-6, although La Salle won previously every meeting since the series resumed in 2001. The CBA vs. La Salle rivalry dates back to 1932, but has been suspended on occasion. La Salle dropped down to play in Class B in 1984 and the series was scrapped until 2001.
  • Falcons winless again: Columbia defeated Albany High in a Week Nine crossover game, 21-6. For the Falcons, it was their third straight winless season under their third head coach in that span. Albany last won a football game on Oct. 19, 2007, having defeated Shaker, 13-6.
  • Light schedule in week nine: 15 teams in Section II declined to play a second crossover game or could not schedule an opponent. Salem, Warrensburg, Bishop Gibbons, Catholic Central, Taconic Hills, Canajoharie, Watervliet, Hoosic Valley, Stillwater, Lake George, Johnstown, Mohonasen, Averill Park, Glens Falls and Gloversville all played eight games or fewer in 2010.
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