SCHENECTADY — With limited offseason opportunities and a short preseason without a live scrimmage, varsity football newcomers on many Section II teams will be looking to prove themselves in game situations this weekend.
“It’s tough,” Schenectady coach Carm DePoalo said. “Usually, we’d have 20 more practices, but we’re not complaining. Everyone is going through the same thing. A lot of questions will be answered in the game.”
Schenectady will host Colonie in its “Fall II” opener at 3 p.m. Saturday in what will mark the first varsity game appearances for DePoalo’s two new quarterbacks, junior Nino Robinson and sophomore Nik Sanchez.
During the 2019 season, Daily Gazette All-Area first-team quarterback Seven Terry took every snap while the Patriots were forging their 6-3 record. That spot is now DePoalo’s biggest question mark on a team that has experienced players just about everywhere else.
“We’ll go two series to start,” DePoalo said of his plan to alternate the quarterbacks. “If one of them gets hot, we’ll stay with them.”
Both of the youngsters got snaps in a recent workout with Guilderland.
“It felt great,” said Sanchez, who spent the 2019 season with Schenectady’s junior varsity. “It was a learning experience, and I just want to keep growing.”
Robinson is also eager to improve in all facets in the sport’s most demanding position.
“I want to get better every day,” said Robinson, who spent time with both the varsity and JV teams during the 2019 season. “If I do something wrong, we’ve got guys who will show me the right way.”
DePoalo will eventually select a full-time starter, and although he anticipates some mistakes, at the same time he will be looking for his quarterback to protect the ball and make some plays.
“It’s a prep for next year, but we want to win like everyone else,” DePoalo said.
After Saturday’s game, Schenectady has contests scheduled against CBA, Bethlehem and Shaker.
“I want to be a bigger leader than I was before, and make big plays when needed,” Sanchez said.
Schenectady will surround its quarterbacks with a big line anchored by three-year starting center Marquize Barmore, a deep receiving group that includes Jeremiah Davis and Jahsean Haggray, and fast running backs led by Chris Davis.
“The skill on this team is just … special talent,” Robinson said.