With two weeks remaining in the regular season for most classes, each win is becoming vital for area football teams.
Several are on the cusp of clinching a berth, while others are concerned with positioning themselves for a high seed in their upcoming playoffs.
The Gloversville Huskies will look to recover from a beating by Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake last week and could clinch a berth in the Class A playoffs with a win tonight over the South Glen Falls Bulldogs.
After a hot start, the Broadalbin-Perth Patriots will face Schuylerville in a game that will go a long way to determining where they will be seeded should they make the Class B playoffs. The Canajoharie Cougars are fighting for their postseason lives after losing to Rensselaer in Week 4. They'll face Catholic Central this week before facing a pair of key games against Cambridge and Greenwich.
The Fonda-Fultonville Braves get a break from Class C play when they play a non-league game against the Cobleskill-Richmondville Bulldogs at John G. Boshart Field on Saturday, while the Dolgeville Blue Devils look to rebound against a winless New York Mills team.
In a key Class A Northwest matchup, the Amsterdam Rugged Rams will look to recover from their non-league loss to Class B Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk against league-leading Burnt Hill-Ballston Lake, who ran over Gloversville a week ago.
(1-4 overall, 0-2 Class A Northwest)
at South Glens Falls
(1-4 overall, 0-2 Class A Northwest)
Today, 7 p.m.
With four playoff spots available for a four-team division, the Huskies and Bulldogs are each looking to get their first win in the division. A win by the Huskies would guarantee them at least the fourth seed in the playoffs and they would play third-place Queensbury next week.
A loss would drop both teams to 0-3 in the division.
"They're the same record as us right now," Gloversville coach Jared Bongo said. "They're still in the hunt for a playoff spot. It's going to be a battle for us. It's a game that we think we should win, but with that said, we need to be ready to play football."
Bongo said the Huskies need to put together a full game in all phases, something they haven't done yet. And if they expect to win, they will need to recover quickly from a drubbing at the hands of Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake last week, where they allowed Daniel Porter to run for 154 yards on just six carries. He also scored four touchdowns.
The Huskies managed very little offense last week against the Spartans and a kick return by Mike Murray accounted for their only touchdown.
Bongo said the Huskies aren't looking to put any new wrinkles into their offense or defense, but instead will just polish what they already have been doing.
The Bulldogs themselves were routed last week by Gloversville's next opponent, Queensbury, 40-6, allowing 351 running yards. The Bulldogs only managed a total of 47 yards in the game.
"I told them this is a game we have to win for us to go where we want to go," Bongo said.
(2-3 overall, 2-2 Class B West)
(3-2 overall, 2-2 Class B West)
Today, 7 p.m.
After two straight losses within their division, both coming by a wide margin, the Patriots find themselves in dire need of a victory to secure a spot in the Class B playoffs.
It's also homecoming week in Broadalbin so the Patriots are even more motivated to get back on the winning track this week.
"You always hope they want to play well," Broadalbin-Perth coach Jim Pelneau said. "We were disappointed last week at home. We want to come off and put on a good show and hope that goes along with it.
To cap off the week's festivities, Schuylerville, which is tied for third place with the Patriots in the Class B West. The Patriots will need to win tonight and win next week at Cobleskill in order to clinch the third seed.
"Right now, our goal is to get in," Pelneau said. "And then with next week in Cobleskill, we need to get wins in both those games. This is a big game for both of us."
The Black Horses come into the game off a 43-12 non-league loss to Class C Hoosick Falls, where they allowed 220 yards and three touchdowns.
Their best contributor in the game was Shane Lyons, who ran for 151 yards on 26 carries and a touchdown.
The Patriots are looking to recover from a 51-7 loss a few weeks ago to Schalmont and last week's 48-20 loss to Glens Falls. Last week, they were unable to contain Glens Falls' Joe McMahon, who ran over them for 189 yards on 14 carries and five touchdowns.
The Patriots also lost running back Luigi Magliocca late in the game and his replacement, Darius Reyes, scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns.
Pelneau said the Patriots needed to take a step back after losing their last two games and get back to basics.
"We talked to the guys about looking in the mirror," Pelneau said. "We have to give credit to Glens Falls and Schalmont, but we didn't do a lot of good things, ourselves. We worked on some mental stuff and getting back to doing the little things."
(4-1 overall, 1-1 Class C South)
at Catholic Central
(0-5 overall, 0-2 Class C South)
Today, 7 p.m.
With their loss two weeks ago to Rensselaer, the Cougars are behind two unbeaten teams in the Class D South, so they need a win against winless Catholic Central to keep pace.
"We just talked about that [Tuesday]," Canajoharie coach Ken Sullivan said. "We're in a must-win every game situation. We have to one game, but we don't want to look past Catholic Central. They have a lot of good athletes."
Canajoharie rebounded from the loss two weeks ago by routing Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons 41-0. Kevin Shannon led the Cougars with 185 yards on eight carries and scored three touchdowns. The defense held the Golden Knights to just 79 yards of offense.
Sullivan said the Golden Knights' run a 3-5 defense, similar to what the Cougars have seen in the last several games. Primarily a running team, Catholic Central's best athlete, Jiriem Tedder, had a tough time moving the ball against Cambridge. Outside of fourth-quarter runs of 44 and 51 yards, Tedder only managed 26 yards on 16 carried in a game played in rainy weather.
"[Tonight is] supposed to be a dry night, but I think we can see a little more explosive game than we did against Cambridge," Sullivan said.
Offensively, the Cougars will need to continue running the ball, although Sullivan said opponents have been loading the box against them. That creates the need to get quarterback Nick Taylor more comfortable in the pocket.
"We're trying to open up our passing game more," Sullivan said. "Teams are loading up the box to stop Shannon and [Alex] Renzi so we're trying to get Taylor more comfortable in the pocket. But we have to stay with our bread-and-butter, which is our run game."
Saturday, 1 p.m.
The Fonda-Fultonville Braves get a break for Class C South action Saturday when Class B Cobleskill-Richmondville comes to town for homecoming and a chance to send their seniors off from the last scheduled game at John G. Boshart Field of the season. That should give the Braves an extra shot of adrenaline for this non-league game.
"Any time it's homecoming and any time we're home, we're coming off the hill, the guys should be fired up," Fonda-Fultonville coach Tom Carpenter said.
The Braves bounced back from their first loss of the season by running over Coxsackie-Athens, 41-14, behind a three-touchdown passing performance by quarterback Russ Williams. Pat Hart complemented Williams' passing by carrying the ball for 165 yards on 17 carries and two touchdowns.
"That's one of the things that's important," Carpenter said. "I think Russ had a good game. Offensively, we executed better. To beat Cobleskill, we'll have to be able to run and throw the ball."
They'll face a Cobleskill team that got slammed, 62-0 by the Schalmont Sabres, who lead the Class B West division behind a 252-yard rushing performance by Devon Willis. Two of those runs were of 83 and 72 yards for touchdowns.
But despite the Bulldogs' 1-4 record, Carpenter said he expects the team, which is coached by Fonda-Fultonville alum Ed Hantho, to present a challenge for the Braves.
"It's kind of an old rivalry game," Carpenter said. "We're trying to tell the kids about that and their coach is a former Fonda player, he knows how our operation is run."
After this week's non-league game, the Bulldogs will play host to the Broadalbin-Perth Patriots, who may need the win for playoff positioning. The Braves will finish the regular season at Voorheesville.
New York Mills
(0-5 overall, 0-3 Class D East)
(4-1 overall, 3-1 Class D East)
Saturday, 1:30 p.m.
The Dolgeville Blue Devils suffered their first loss of the season last week against Sauquoit Valley in a game decided in the trenches as Connor O'Neil gained 103 yards on the ground and scored two touchdowns in a 13-0 win.
Saturday's opponent will be different as the New York Mills Marauders will look to spread the Blue Devils' defense out and throw the ball 70 percent of the time. Dolgeville coach Chris Connolly said his team hasn't seen a team like that since the second week of the season.
"They haven't won any games, but they're not afraid to take chances," Connolly said. "It's a different week. I think last week, we had a team that threw the ball twice."
The Blue Devils moved the ball last week on Sauquoit Valley, but was unable to punch the ball into the end zone. This week, Connolly made some changes to his offense.
Connolly also is happy with the development of sophomore quarterback Reid Johnson.
"We've got key young people playing varsity football," Connolly said. "It's a lot better to win than lose, but real happy with how they're growing up."
Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake
(4-1 overall, 3-0 Class A Northwest)
(3-2 overall, 2-0 Class A Northwest)
Saturday, 4 p.m.
The Rams faced the best team in Class B last week and Saturday, and they will cap of their homecoming with the top team in Class A when Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake comes to town to continue their Class A dominance.
"[The players are] excited," Amsterdam coach Doug Edick said. "We're both 2-0 in the conference. If we win, we would take the lead. It's going to be a tough game. They know how good they are. Being homecoming, it should be very festive."
In last week's win over Gloversville, Porter scored four touchdowns and quarterback Ryan McConnell threw a touchdown pass. Porter rushed for 154 yards in the game.
Last week, the Rugged Rams were gouged by Fred Pechette, who ran for 176 yards and three touchdowns. Dylan Keyer also had 144 yards on 25 carries to lead the Indians.
"We have to stop the run," Edick said. "We have to make them beat us by throwing the ball. We have to tackle better."
The Rams' leading rusher was quarterback Geo Rodriguez, with his 65 yards on 13 carries. He scored both of Amsterdam's touchdowns. While the Rams' offense throughout the season has been known to pop a big play frequently, Edick said he wouldn't mind a little more ball control on Saturday.
"We've been a big play type of offense so far," Edick said. "We want to keep their offense off the field, there's no doubt. We're looking to sustain more drives."
A win Saturday would put the Rams in first place in the Northwest division and possibly get them two sectional home games.
"We'd love to have the No. 1 seed and two home games," Edick said. "It's a time of the year where all the games are big."