Here are five things to know heading into Week 2 of the “Fall II” football season.
THE KIDS (WILL BE) ALRIGHT
The bad news for Stillwater coach Ian Godfrey during this Fall II season? He has to replace nine out of his team’s 11 starters, on both sides of the ball, from a team that won a Section II Class C championship in 2019.
“Those kids that we’re replacing,” Godfrey said, “were all-league, all-state kids.”
The good news? This season represents a prime chance to get an entirely new cast of characters ready for the future.
Relying heavily on younger players, Stillwater opened its season with a 12-8 loss to Lake George/Hadley-Luzerne in Week 1.
The growing pains, Godfrey said, were evident — but nothing unexpected.
“We knew we were going to be rebuilding with the young kids a little bit,” he said. “We were really proud of how well they played. They came out, they played aggressive. They made a lot of mistakes, but that’s natural.”
Godfrey expects plenty of bumps along the road in a tough Class D schedule that continues Saturday against a Greenwich team that rolled to a 34-0 win over Voorheesville in its opener.
But, he said, those bumps will prove invaluable as the team makes a quick turnaround from playing one season in the spring to getting ready for another season in September.
After all, Stillwater may be replacing nine starters on each side of the ball this spring, but the Warriors will be returning nine starters on each side of the ball in the fall.
“It certainly works in our favor,” he said. “A few of these kids, the last game they played was modified football. This is just crucial for them to play, to see actual game reps.”
CLASS B FULL SPEED AHEAD
Class B football reaches full speed Friday night after a majority of the teams utilized last weekend for “Week 0” scrimmages. Hudson posted a 51-0 win against Catskill/Cairo-Durham and fellow Class B member Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk was able to hold off Cambridge/Salem 15-12 in the limited non-league game action.
Scheduled for Friday night is Schalmont at Hudson, Gloversville at Broadalbin-Perth and Cobleskill-Richmondville at Ravena. Saturday’s action continues with Hudson Falls vs. South Glens Falls at Schuylerville and Green Tech at Glens Falls. Class B Lansingburgh will host Chatham in a non-classification game Saturday.
Schalmont coach Joe Whipple scrimmaged Class A top squad Glens Falls last weekend.
“Our two teams have been very competitive, and having an opportunity to go up there, compete against those guys and walk out of there feeling like we’re competitive,” Whipple said. “I thought that was good.”
The Sabres weren’t intimidated by Hudson’s 51-point blowout the previous week.
“Hudson is Hudson, they are always fast and athletic,” Whipple said. “When you play schools as many times as we’ve played [them], you have a kind of idea, you’re just looking for the one or two athletes that they may add that we really have to focus on.”
ONE TO WATCH
Shaker looked ready to repeat as the area’s Class AA champion.
Then, Guilderland got in the way.
Shaker hadn’t lost a game to a Section II opponent since 2017 when fourth-seeded Guilderland ended the Blue Bison’s pursuit of defending their championship in the 2019 Section II semifinals. Guilderland, which lost 41-23 in the season’s first week to Shaker that year, used a fourth-quarter touchdown to pull off a 14-7 upset of No. 1 Shaker before falling to Shenendehowa in the championship game.
Guilderland and Shaker will meet again Friday night, as the clubs will play on Shaker’s home turf. Both teams are coming off impressive Week 1 victories, as Guilderland won 35-8 against Bethlehem and Shaker shut out defending champion Shenendehowa 20-0.
RAMS TOUGH IN THE TRENCHES
Though Amsterdam had to wait an extra week to start its season after a COVID-19 issue within the program postponed its Week 1 game against Albany, the Rams head into Friday night’s game at Troy brimming with confidence.
A lot of that confidence comes from the presence of five returning starters — juniors Christian Robinson and Alex Simon, and seniors Alejandro Christopher, Dainon Aviles and James Shatas — along the offensive line from Amsterdam’s 2019 team.
Robinson and Simon have been starters since their freshman seasons, and have emerged as vocal presences under first-year head coach John Homich.
“They’re starting to turn into those natural leaders,” Homich said recently. “The thing we’ve been talking about, to everybody, is that leaders lead. We’re looking for that everywhere.”
JONES TRIBUTE ON HOLD
Newly-merged Hoosick Falls/Tamarac will be playing its first home football game at Hoosick Falls since the unexpected death of popular and successful Panthers coach Ron Jones this Saturday at noon against Watervliet.
A tribute in honor of Jones, who passed away in April of 2020 at the age of 51, is tentatively scheduled to be held next fall rather than this season which has attendance restrictions due to COVID-19.
“We’ll see where we are at [next fall],” Hoosick Falls athletic director Tom Husser said. “While we want to do something badly, because we can’t have any more than two spectators [per player], we thought this was the best way to go about it.”
In 23 seasons, Jones guided his Hoosick Falls teams to 155 wins and eight Section II titles, including a Section II-record six in a row from 2009-14. His 2012 edition won the state Class C championship, and two of his other teams placed second in New York.
“It will be a huge community thing,” Husser said of a Jones tribute. “If we did it now, we couldn’t have the people there who we want there.”
Eric Roadcap, who coached the Tamarac varsity in the past, is in charge of the merged Hoosick Falls/Tamarac team that opened its Class C season with a 33-0 win over Ichabod Crane on the Watervliet turf.