Thursday, November 4, 2010

High school football: Class A Super Bowl preview

Section II Class A Super Bowl
N1 Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake (9-0) vs. 
S1 Lansingburgh (8-1)
At Shenendehowa High School
Saturday, 7 p.m.

TROY — The Lansingburgh High School football team took its lumps in a Week One loss to Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, but the Knights knew that if they played their cards right the rest of the way they would get another shot at the Spartans.

The Knights haven’t lost since.

“For these kids, that’s been the mission,” said Lansingburgh head coach Al McNall. “The mission was, we had them Week One and we wanted them Week Ten. And here we are.”

Burnt Hills, two-time defending Section II Class A champions and New York State finalists, has been the class of the local football scene in recent years. In fact, the Spartans haven’t lost a game against a Section II opponent since Nov. 3 2007 – a streak of 29 games.

The last local team to defeat Burnt Hills? That was Lansingburgh, which posted a 28-25 victory in the 2007 Class A Super Bowl.

Lansingburgh has been no slouch this decade either. Since 2002, the Knights have appeared in a Section II Super Bowl every year except 2008.

“There is a lot of legacy here,” said McNall, who took over as head coach following Pete Porcelli’s departure in the summer of 2009. “Every team that comes through, they want to uphold that and we’ve been pretty successful.”

The Knights have stuck with their traditional run-based offensive attack. Marcus Little (120 atts., 842 yds., 8 TDs) and Anthony Fogarty (75 atts., 648 yds., 7 TDs) split the rushing responsibilities through the first three weeks, but Lansingburgh unleashed left guard Jake Luce at the fullback position in a Week Four victory over Scotia-Glenville.

In just six games as a fullback, Luce has rushed for 514 yards on 58 attempts and has scored a team-high 11 rushing touchdowns.

“It’s definitely more fun being a running back, because you get to score touchdowns and run people over, you know what I’m saying?” Luce said. “It’s not really a big transition. I’m sure anybody could do it. It’s not too hard. All you have to do is get the ball and run.”

Lansingburgh will also enjoy having Jake Shaw, a senior tight end, defensive end and placekicker, in uniform for this year’s Super Bowl. He missed the 2009 Class B title game against Schalmont recovering from an eye injury sustained in a gym class badminton accident while playing against Luce.

Burnt Hills has outscored its opponents 406 to 81 this season. Since its 10-point victory over Lansingburgh, the Spartans’ closest margin of victory was a 17-point triumph over Queensbury in the semifinals last week.

“We have some tough kids,” said McNall. “The tradition has been here since 2001 when we started, when Pete was here. We ran, and ran and ran. It really hasn’t changed. It hasn’t skipped a beat.

“The kids want to play and they want to perform. And that’s expected here now,” McNall continued. “That’s the crazy thing. You win, you win, you win and the fans expect it, the school expects it and we expect it of ourselves.”

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