Friday, November 19, 2010

Troy has secret weapons; NYS semifinal schedule

Troy High lineman Jay Yaskanich leads the way for running back Shatiek Lewis in Troy's Week One victory at La Salle for control of the Collar City Cup.
TROY -- One week ago, the Troy High School football team knocked off the No. 1 ranked team in New York State.

The Flying Horses, however, still have something left to prove.

Tonight, Troy (11-0, No. 2 among Class AA teams) will face New Rochelle (9-0, Section I champion, NYS No. 4) in a New York State Class AA semifinal at 8 p.m. at Dietz Stadium in Kingston. Tickets are $10 at the gate.

"It’s huge. This was the biggest game for anyone on this team’s life," said wide receiver Josh Blaauboer after Saturday’s 32-21 victory over Monroe-Woodbury. "We just want to keep playing and trying for the Dome."

The goal, of course, for any high school football team in New York is a chance to play in the state championship game at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse. To get there, the Flying Horses just might have to rely on their secret weapons against New Rochelle.

Troy’s senior running backs Jordan Canzeri (192 atts., 1643 yds., 27 TD) and Shatiek Lewis (84 atts., 911 yds., 11 TD) are the focal points of the Flying Horses offense, but they aren’t the only options for head coach Jack Burger.

Senior quarterback Brian Marsh has rushed for 513 yards on 70 attempts and completed 41-of-76 passes for 649 yards, accounting for 15 total offensive touchdowns.

Blaauober, at left, hauling in a pass during a game at Niskayuna, Troy’s leading receiver and Marsh’s favorite target, has caught 16 passes for 301 yards and four touchdowns. Late in the first quarter of last week’s game against Monroe-Woodbury, Marsh looked for Blaauober deep on the right sideline, only to have M-W’s Andrew Tolosi tip the ball away.

Marsh dialed up Blaauboer again on a similar play to the left side early on Troy’s next drive, which resulted in a 52-yard touchdown strike.

Although the Flying Horses don’t often throw the ball – Marsh averaged just 6.9 attempts per game so far and never attempted more than 11 passes in any one game – the passing game has lurked as a big-play weapon as well.

Troy High also has a number of defensive specialists in Luis Lind (below right), Stephaun Grinage and Danny Danahy, all of whom are adept at delivering the big hit.

"When you play in the Super Bowl, the thing was, let’s win this game and whatever else is gravy," Burger said after Troy’s regional round victory. "Then all of a sudden, you’re getting ready this week and you’re putting in all sorts of hours and you’re saying, ‘We’re not done. We’re not going to be satisfied if we don’t get it done this week."

"We’re going to feel the same thing next week and the week after," continued Burger. "It’s all about playing hard. This is high school football at its best in New York right now."

Troy last played in the Carrier Dome in 1998, when it defeated Fairport, 26-9, to capture its second state title in three years.

The Dome hasn’t been kind to Section II teams since 2001. Just 10 local teams across all five classifications have made it to the championship game in the last nine years, including Shen (‘02), Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake (’08 and ‘09), Lansingburgh (‘07), Albany Academy (‘05), Hoosick Falls (‘03) and Cambridge (’01, ’03 and ’05).

Only one (Amsterdam, Class A, ‘05) captured a state title.

With BH-BL and Schalmont also still alive in the drive to the Dome, the Flying Horses are hoping they can be part of a new standard of excellence for Section II football.

Jordan Canzeri runs against Saratoga Springs in a regular season game.

"Our defense, they’re all ready to play," Blaauboer said. "We can’t wait to play New Rochelle. We just want to win. This isn’t our goal. Our goal is to get to the Dome."

Troy High tickets: Tickets to Friday’s and Saturday’s New York State eastern regional semifinals are $10, which is good for admission to all games on either day. All of the eastern semifinal games will be broadcast locally on Time Warner Cable channel 3.

New York State eastern semifinals
All games at Dietz Stadium, Kingston
Friday, Nov. 19
Class D
Moriah (10-1, VII) vs. Tuckahoe (8-1, I), 4 p.m.
Class A
Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake (11-0, II) vs. Harrison (9-1, I), 8 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 20
Class C

Saranac Lake (10-0, VII) vs. Bronxville (10-0, I), Noon
Class B
Schalmont (11-0, II) vs. Croton-Harmon (10-0, I), 4 p.m.
Class AA
Troy High (11-0, II) vs. New Rochelle (9-0, I), 8 p.m.

New York State western semifinals
All games at Marina Auto Stadium, Rochester
Friday, Nov. 19
Class D

Caledonia-Mumford (10-1, V) vs. Walton (8-3, IV), 5 p.m.
Class A
Aquinas (11-0, V) vs. Whitesboro (10-1, III), 8 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 20
Class C

Fredonia (10-1, VI) vs. General Brown (11-0, III), Noon
Class B
Hornell (11-0, V) vs. Chenango Valley (10-0, IV), 3 p.m.
Class AA
Rush-Henrietta (11-0, V) vs. Baldwinsville (10-1, III), 6 p.m.

New York State championship games schedule
All games at Carrier Dome, Syracuse
Fri., Nov. 26
Class D, 11 a.m.
Class A, 2 p.m.

Sun., Nov. 28
Class C, Noon
Class AA, 3 p.m.
Class B, 6 p.m.

Troy High players celebrate with the Collar City Cup following a Week One victory over La Salle. (Montgomery photo - The Record).

Check back on the blog Saturday evening for live Twitter updates from Kingston.

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