Porcelli intends to build winner at Albany

Pete Porcelli is on a mission to turn Albany High School’s varsity football team around.

Pete Porcelli is on a mission to turn Albany High School’s varsity football team around.

The Falcons haven’t won a Section II championship since 1996, and have had only two winning seasons since then, going 5-4 in both 2004 and 2005.

“I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and build a foundation. I’m willing to put in the work,” said Porcelli, who recently stepped down at Lansingburgh after eight seasons to take the varsity position at Albany. “I’m excited about the challenge. Onward and upward.”

Albany went 0-9 last season, 3-6 in 2007 and 0-9 in 2006. Brian Spicer coached the Falcons last fall, and departed after his only season.

“Their modified, junior varsity and varsity teams, none of them won a game last year,” said Porcelli, who has been a physical education instructor in the Albany school system for 16 years. “I’ve got to change the culture in the school and the attitude of the kids. We’re looking to get on top, but at first we need small victories. We need to take small steps before we take big ones.”

Lansingburgh took grand leaps forward with Porcelli at the helm. The Knights registered a 67-19 record in his eight seasons there, won three division championships, advanced to six straight Section II finals from 2002-07 and won four titles.

His Section II Class B-winning teams in 2002 and 2005 reached the state semifinals, and his Section II Class A-winning squad in 2007 advanced to the state championship and closed with an 11-2 record.

“We had talent there,” said Porcelli, who three times at Lansingburgh had three 1,000-yard rushers in a single season. “There’s talent at Albany, too. It just needs to be harnessed.”

Porcelli has worked at several schools in the Albany district throughout his career. He will begin a stint this coming school year at the high school as a ninth-grade physical education instructor.

“This is the third time it [Albany coaching position] had opened up, and I felt that now is the time. I didn’t want to go through the rest of my life and say, ‘What if?,’ ” Porcelli said. “It was a tough decision, but I believe it was a good decision.”

A former Arena Football League player and assistant coach, Porcelli led the Catholic Central varsity to a 6-3 record in 2000 after a stint overseeing Albany’s lower-level teams.

“For seven years in the 1990s, I did modified, freshman and junior varsity, and we were successful. We did pretty well,” said Porcelli. “Now, we’ll see what I can do with the varsity.”

Porcelli coached Albany’s wrestling team in the past, and his Falcons won four Big 10 championships.

Abba, McKinney not done

Defenseman Steve Abba of Niskayuna High School’s state runner-up lacrosse team will be competing at Saturday’s National High School Senior Showcase at Bryant University in Providence, R.I.

Abba was selected a Suburban Council first-team all-star and one of Niskayuna’s three US Lacrosse All-Americans based on his superb longstick play for the 24-1 Silver Warriors. The Army Prep-bound team captain also added three goals, his last in a 15-8 state Class B semifinal win over Sayville.

Abba will suit up for the East team at the four-team festival. The semifinals (9 a.m., North vs. West, South vs. East), third-place game (1 p.m.) and championship game (3:15 p.m.) will all take place Saturday.

Abba will be the ninth Niskayuna player to compete at the showcase event (formerly known as the Nat­ional North-South High School Senior All-Star Game) following Steve D’Amario (2008), Nick Di­Sarro (2007), Dan Halayko (2006), Mark Bryan (2005), John Mast­roianni (2004), Dan Nolan (2002), Derek Howells (2001) and Adam Neary (1999).

Niskayuna midfielder Dan Mc­Kinney will take part in the fourth annual Under Armour All-America Lacrosse Classic a week from Saturday at Towson University’s Johnny Unitas Stadium. McKinney, a Georgetown-bound, two-time All-American, will play for the North team, and be Section II’s first male representative at the event.

Making history

Schuylerville’s 2-year-old varsity boys’ lacrosse team not only won its first Section II championship this season, but made Section II history afterward with a 17-9 Class C regional victory over Red Hook.

Section II Class C teams had been 0-9 in regional play before the Black Horses rallied from a 5-2 deficit to beat Red Hook. Schuylerville (8-12) later lost in the regional final, or state quarterfinal, to Putnam Valley, 16-4.

“I’ve never been prouder of any team, and I’ve been doing this for a while,” said Schuylerville coach Bill Battaglia, who won a pair of Class A titles with Saratoga Springs in the 1990s. “I really liked the way they came out from day one and got after it. They went about it the right way. They played hard, and they played with class.”

Schuylerville reached the Section II Class C title game in 2008 and lost to Johnstown, 17-14, before beating Greenwich, 10-6, for this year’s small-school champ­ionship.

“I thought we had a shot at the section championship. I didn’t think we’d be here,” Battaglia said after the loss to Putnam Valley. “They surprised me.”

“It was great starting a tradition like this,” said Schuylerville senior goalie J.P. Gove. “I really loved being a part of this team.”

Schuylerville scored first against Putnam Valley, yet found itself trailing after one quarter, 6-2, and at the half, 13-3.

“In one word, it’s experience. The guys on Putnam Valley have played literally five times longer than our guys,” said Gove. “They did some things we’ve never seen.”

McKelvey ’s records

Kyle McKelvey picked up a pair of singles in Schalmont’s final baseball game against Mohonasen in the Section II Class A final, boosting the senior’s career hit total to 144.

That’s one of eight school records set by the all-star shortstop. His other records include career games played (97), career runs scored (123), career doubles (41) and career batting average (.450), and single-season average (.511), doubles (15) and hits (47). He set those last three marks as a junior.

This season, McKelvey batted .450 with 43 hits, 12 doubles, seven home runs, 36 runs, 27 RBI and 15 stolen bases. The Colonial Council first-team all-star finished with 75 career RBI and 44 career stolen bases.

McKelvey has committed to Western New England College.

By the numbers

The Mechanicville softball team won its sixth state championship this decade, and first at the Class B level, when it knocked off Marlboro, 2-0, and then Fredonia, 3-1, Saturday in Waterloo.

Mechanicville won its other state titles (2000, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2008) at the Class C level. Section II representatives South Glens Falls, Fort Ann and Hoosick Falls have each captured two state championships.

Mechanicville (25-5-1) moved from No. 3 to No. 1 on the state sportwriter’s final Class B poll. State semifinalist Hoosick Falls (Class C, 24-6) is ranked No. 2, and state semifinalists Columbia (Class AA, 20-7) and Germantown (Class D, 20-4) are both ranked No. 5.

Other ranked teams from Section II include Niskayuna (Class AA, 16-8, No. 17), Lansingburgh (Class A, 20-5, No. 6), South Glens Falls (Class A, 17-3, No. 13), Schuylerville (Class B, 20-4, No. 7) and Duanesburg (Class C, 23-4, No. 9).

Colonie , CBA lead section

The Colonie girls’ track and field team placed second in the spring portion of the Scholar/Athlete Team Award program sponsored by the New York State Public High School Athletic Association.

Colonie athletes had a combined 98.134 classroom average to place second behind Irvington (99.128), and ahead of Lowville (98.096).

Christian Brothers Academy’s boys’ lacrosse team placed fifth in the state (94.855), and the boys’ track and field teams from Shaker (97.115) and Albany (97.013) placed seventh and eighth, respectively.

Teams with a combined classroom average of 90 or higher earn awards. Section II had 168 teams and 2,388 athletes participate this spring. Other Section II leaders were Colonie in baseball (93.589), Shenendehowa in boys’ tennis (95.433) and softball (93.930) and Shaker in girls’ lacrosse (95.193).


The Albany Academies will hold its Legacy of Dreams fundraiser Saturday at the Fort Orange Club in Albany.

The event will begin at 6 p.m. with a cocktail reception and silent auction, followed by food stations, music and a live auction.

All proceeds will go toward the athletic programs at the Albany Academies. Contact Susan K. Tobin at 429-2448 or [email protected] for more information.

Categories: High School Sports

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