Schenectady goes after division title

The Schenectady football team will make a program-record fifth consecutive appearance in the Section

The Schenectady football team will make a program-record fifth consecutive appearance in the Section II Class AA playoffs next week.

Whether the Patriots are seeded first or fourth — or somewhere in between — will be determined tonight with the outcome of their game at LaSalle Institute and two other Liberty Division contests.

“We know we’re in the playoffs. Our goal now is to be at home. We play well on our turf, and we’re well-supported there,” said Schen­ectady coach Jim Kramer.

Schenectady (3-1, 3-3), Columbia (3-1, 5-1) and Shaker (3-1, 3-3) are tied for first place in the Liberty Div­ision, and will be joined by LaSalle (2-2, 3-3) in the sectional quarterfinals. Schenectady will be striving for a third straight win when it takes on the Cadets, while Columbia hosts Colonie (0-4, 0-6) and Shaker travels to Niskayuna (1-3, 2-4). When everything shakes out, the top two seeds will host games next week against Empire Division opponents, and the bottom two will hit the road.

“Our division is so tight right now. We have the potential to be the No. 1 or the No. 4 seed,” said Kramer. “The only thing we can control is what we do against LaSalle.”

The Liberty Division champ­ionship was at stake the last time Schenectady took a trip to LaSalle, in Week 7 of 2009, and the Cadets came away with a 12-0 victory.

“We have not won the last few times we’ve gone to LaSalle,” said Kramer. “To go there and win, and to go 4-1 in the division, that’s great motivation for us.”

Schenectady qualified for the playoffs last week with a wild 35-34 overtime win against Nisk­ayuna, a game in which the Patriots let 14-0, 20-14 and 28-21 leads slip away before prevailing on Kwame Jarvis’ touchdown run and Halim Aldhala’s extra-point kick. LaSalle also went overtime last week and lost to Shaker, 50-49, with Garrett Delory firing a school-record five touchdown passes in the setback.

“When you come off such an emotional victory, you have to settle yourself back in the next week,” Kramer said. “Our guys have done a good job of doing that. We realize what this week is about. We realize what we’re playing for.”

A win guarantees Schenectady at least a share of the Liberty title. It also assures that the Pats will not have to play at Empire Division No. 1 seed Shenendehowa (5-0, 6-0) next week.

“Us, Columbia and Shaker beat each other. If we all win, there’s a three-way tie, and then we go to quarter points to determine the seeds,” Kramer said. “Right now, we’re neck-and-neck with the quarter points. We’re confident if we play good football, the seed will take care if itself.”

LaSalle wants badly to avoid Shenendehowa in the quarter­finals.

“Mathematically, a lot of things can happen, but if we lose, it looks like we’ll be playing Shenendehowa right out of the box. If we win, we’ll probably be the No. 3,” said LaSalle coach Al Rapp. “We’re telling our kids, we’d rather play Shenendehowa in Week 9.”

Kramer has told his defensive front that he’s looking for a big performance out of them against the high-scoring Cadets. The group includes 6-foot-4, 350-pound nose guard Justin Richards, tackles

Tyler DePasquale and Shamere Miller, and ends Jallah Tarver, Mark Wells and Josiah Marshall.

“They’ve got a quarterback playing at the top of his game right now,” Kramer said of Delory, who leads Section II with 15 touchdown passes. “When you’ve got a quarterback playing with confidence like that, you’ve got to make him as uncomfortable as possible, and hopefully, force him into mistakes.”

Delory didn’t make many mistakes last week when senior completed 20 of 28 passes for 329 yards and his five TDs. One of them went to Marc Carroll in the final seconds of the fourth quarter and another went to Alex Daversa-Russo in overtime.

“They use a lot of different formations. They pass, but they can run the ball, too,” Kramer said of the Cadets, who have put up 49, 46, 48, 51 and 58 points in their last five games. “We need to move the line back a yard.”

Jarvis threw a touchdown pass to Tarver to go along with his scoring run last week, and Felix Rodriguez rushed for a pair of touchdowns in Schenectady’s dramatic victory.

“We score a lot of points, but we can’t stop anybody. We could be 5-1 if we made a few more stops,” said Rapp. “We’ve got to give it all we can. Schenectady has great speed and great athletes, and we can’t let them gather too much momentum.”


In a key Empire Division game tonight, Christian Brothers Academy (4-1, 5-1) travels to Ballston Spa (4-1, 5-1) to decide second place, the No. 2 sectional seed and the homefield advantage that goes with it. Also, Guilderland (2-3, 3-3) goes to Bethlehem (2-3, 2-4) for a cable-televised game that will decide the Empire Division’s No. 4 seed, and Shenendehowa plays at longtime rival Saratoga Springs (1-4, 1-5).

Both Class B divisions will have the top teams playing Saturday as Schalmont (4-0, 6-0) hosts Schuylerville (3-1, 5-1) and Albany Academy (3-0, 4-2) hosts Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk (3-0, 5-1).

Saratoga Catholic has forfeited its last two Class D football games against Fort Edward and Whitehall, due to a lack of eligible players. Teams must have a state-mandated 16 players in order to compete. The Saints, beset by injuries, also forfeited their Week 5 game with Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons.

Categories: -Sports, High School Sports

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