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Playoff picture shaping up for area football teams

September 28, 2012
By JAMES A. ELLIS ( , The Leader Herald

The postseason is starting to take shape for the local high school football teams as they head to the gridiron this weekend.

Three of the four local teams that entered last week's play undefeated - Broadalbin-Perth, Fonda-Fultonville, and Canajoharie - suffered their first losses of the season. Dolgeville is now the lone undefeated local team as the Blue Devils avenged a pair of loses from last year with a 20-18 victory on the road against Westmoreland.

Broadalbin-Perth faces a tough challenge tonight in its battle to return to sectional play as the Patriots take on Glens Falls in a battle for second place behind Schalmont in the Class B West Division standings.

The Amsterdam Rams fell in Week 1, but have put together three straight wins and are 2-0 in the Class A Northwest. The Rams, who were given honorable mention in the Class A state rankings, will take a week off from Class A play to face Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk, ranked 16th in Class B, tonight at Lynch Literacy Academy.

Another Section II game that is of interest to local high school football fans will takes place tonight when undefeated Shenendehowa travels to play undefeated Shaker in a Class AA showdown. Shenendehowa is coached by former Johnstown Sir Bills quarterback Brian Clauson, while the Blue Bison are coached by former Gloversville quarterback Greg Sheeler. Game time is set for 7 p.m.

Glens Falls

(3-1 overall, 3-1 Class B West)

at Broadalbin-Perth

(3-1 overall, 2-1 Class B West)

Today, 7 p.m.

After dropping their first game of the season to state-ranked Schalmont, the Patriots return to their home turf and will face a well-rested Glens Falls squad.

The Indians received an unexpected week off as they were scheduled to play Johnstown last week. The Sir Bills forfeited the game as well as the remainder of their 2012 season due to low player count.

"Coming off the loss, we moved on Monday, which is what we talk about doing win or lose," Broadalbin-Perth coach Jim Pelneau said. "The team has responded great and we have had really positive practices. We are going back to some of the things we were doing early in the season in practice and I think it will help us against Glens Falls, which is a very good football team."

Winning the midseason match up could go a long way in determining the Patriots' placement in postseason play.

"We are both in the driver's seat for second place in the West and the winner gets the upper hand for that," Pelneau said. "I think we are equally matched. They are a little more rested coming off no Johnstown last weekend, but we will see if that plays into their favor or not. We are a little banged up, but the young guys are stepping up for us and doing a nice job."

The senior-dominated Indians are led by quarterback Cam Girard and running back Mike LaNoir. LaNoir has carried the ball 33 times this season for 154 yards in three games, but all five of his touchdowns have come on the receiving end of Girard passes.

"They have a lot of great athletes especially their skill players," Pelneau said. "Their quarterback [Girard] is capable of throwing and running. They have a good physical line and tough defense that runs to the ball."


(4-0 overall)

at Amsterdam

(3-1 overall)

Today, 7 p.m.

Ravena may be a classification smaller than Amsterdam but the Class A Rams are not taking the Indians, ranked 16th among Class B teams in the state, lightly.

"They are well coached and they can definitely play," Amsterdam coach Doug Edick said. "They can easily compete very well against Class A teams."

The Rams received honorable mention this week in the New York State Sportswriters Association Class A rankings.

Amsterdam is coming off a 40-17 division win over Gloversville last week in which it was forced to make big plays due to set backs from penalties.

"We had way too many penalties last week and were undisciplined," Edick said. "We did take care of it in practice. Hopefully that will carry over to the game."

Edick said that for the Rams to be successful in the non-division game, the Rams "have to figure out how to stop their run and we need to get our athletes some space. We have them at home on a Friday night and it should be a good one."

Bishop Gibbons

(0-4 overall, 0-1 Class D South)

at Canajoharie

(3-1 overall, 0-1 Class D South)

Today, 7 p.m.

The Cougars are looking to bounce back from their first loss of the season last week against a tough Rensselaer squad that is ranked ninth in the state among Class D schools.

Canajoharie coach Ken Sullivan said he is not sure what to expect from Bishop Gibbons since the Golden Knights forfeited last week's game against Cambridge due to low player count.

"We played well but made some mistakes," Sullivan said about the Cougars' game against Rensselaer. "But even without the mistakes it might have been tough for us to beat them. They are good."

The Rams held running back Kevin Shannon under 100 yards for the first time this season. The senior has 706 rushing yards and nine touchdowns so far this year. His 89-yard game last week came after games of 206, 197 and 214.

The next two teams on Canajoharie's schedule - Bishop Gibbons and Catholic Central - are winless and have scored a combined 45 points and given up 308.

"They were a little upset with the loss," Sullivan said. "We talked about refocusing and moving on to the second half of the season. We need to win out in order to get the number two spot. This is probably the easier part of the schedule but we still need to stay focused. If a team gets things going its way or the kids don't play hard, who knows what could happen."


(2-1 overall, 2-1 Class C South)

at Coxsackie-Athens

(0-3 overall, 1-3 Class C South)

Saturday, 1 p.m.

The Braves fell to a solid state-ranked Chatham last Saturday and were shutout for the first time since losing 33-0 to Hudson Falls in 2007.

"We realize that we can play better and we need to play better," Fonda-Fultonville coach Tom Carpenter said. "Not to take anything away from Chatham but it is a matter of us working on the things we need to do to get better - offensive execution overall and tackling better on defense. We spent time this week going over the film and going over things that would have been or could have been that weren't and made corrections on both sides of the ball. So I think we will be fired up to play."

Although Coxsackie-Athens lost 56-0 to Watervliet last week and is winless in the division, Carpenter is not taking them lightly.

"They have decent size and a new coach," he said. "I think they are fairly young and are trying to implement a new system, which takes time. The thing is we have to go there ready to play. We saw the tape of them against Chatham and in the first quarter, they played Chatham tough. We are expecting their best game so we have to show up to play football. They are not just going to lay down for us."


(1-3 overall, 0-1 Class A Northwest)

at Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake

(3-1 overall, 2-0 Class A Northwest)

Saturday, 1:30 p.m.

Originally scheduled for tonight, the game was moved to Saturday afternoon to be part of the Spartans' Homecoming festivities.

"Playing on a Saturday afternoon is a little bit different for us and it is also their Homecoming so there are a few obstacles in front of us," Gloversville coach Jared Bongo said. "We have got to be able to respond and play well against a very good football team."

The Spartans come into Saturday's game riding a three-game win streak, including a 49-14 victory over Queensbury last week.

"They have a fantastic amount of players who go one way and they may not be super standouts, but they play well together," Bongo said of the Spartans, who are coached by former Gloversville standout Matt Shell. "They have 20-some seniors on the team."

Gloversville is looking to snap out of a three-game skid.

"We just have to continue to rep out our guys and stress rallying to the ball, making sure we are tackling and taking care of our responsibilities. That is all we can do," Bongo said. "The kids have to believe in what we are doing and believe they can play with them. If they have the heart and desire to go out there a make plays, good things are going to happen. We have not put all three phases of the game together yet. We have to play well in the Class A Northwest. There are no easy games and we have to ready to go."

Sauquoit Valley

(3-1 overall, 3-0 Class D East)

at Dolgeville

(4-0 overall, 3-0 Class D East)

Saturday, 1 p.m.

The Blue Devils earned a bit of revenge last week knocking off Westmoreland, the team that beat them twice last season including the Section III championship game, 20-18.

"The happiness lasted about 10 minutes," Dolgeville coach Chris Connolly said. "When they saw the film on Sauquoit it was 'Oh my God, again?"

The Blue Devils defense will have to adjust to another style of offense again this week in order to keep the record unblemished.

"They are really a power game," Connolly said. "Every week, it has been something different. We played Little Falls and they were spread out, Played Mohawk with the Murphy kid then Westmoreland with the option. This week, we face two good running backs. We just have to stop power football. They also have a decent passing game, so we also will have to contain that."

In their victory over Westmoreland last week, the Blue Devils showed some offensive versatility.

"We had over 100 yards of passing Saturday, which is unusual," Connolly said. "Offensively, we are getting better every week. We are just so young; it is just fun to watch them grow."

Being undefeated at this point of the season is a pleasant surprise to Connolly.

"There is no way at the beginning of the year anybody would have guessed this," he said. "We are walking in essentially with a JV team. We are really intent and focused. Practice was a little lackadaisical Tuesday but [Wednesday] it was 100 mile per hour. It has been an absolute joy so far."



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