Here are five things to know heading into Week 4 of Section II’s the “Fall II” football season.
With a decal on the back of their helmets, Schenectady football team members are honoring popular schoolmate Naylon Carrington, a 2020 graduate who died in an October automobile accident at the age of 18.
Carrington left his athletic mark at Schenectady as a productive two-year varsity basketball player. He played with a team-first attitude, excelled in the classroom, and was known to often encourage others in school and beyond its borders.
“We all knew Nay. He was a nice kid. Everyone loved that kid,” said Schenectady football coach Carm DePoalo, whose 2-1 team continues its Class AA schedule Friday at 3-0 Shaker. “We thought it was important to honor his memory and continue his legacy.”
Schenectady senior football team member Jeremiah Davis said it was DePoalo who presented the idea to honor the young man, and that the Patriots were all in. The decal reads, ‘Play For Nay,’ and has a No. 2 by those words.
“He was a cool guy. A high energy guy. You always wanted to be around the kid,” said Davis, who played basketball alongside Carrington. “He [DePoalo] wants us to have that Naylon mentality. Keep the positive energy and play together.”
“We want our players to be like Nay,” DePoalo said.
Perseverance was among Carrington’s strengths. Before making the Schenectady varsity basketball team as an 11th-grader, he had previously been cut from several lower-level teams.
“He was an honor roll student. He never missed practice. He maximized his talent,” Schenectady boys’ varsity coach John Miller said at the time of Carrington’s death. “These are all examples we want our younger kids to follow.”
The basketball team displayed Carrington’s No. 2 jersey at each of its games this past season as a tribute.
You can be certain Cambridge/Salem put extra focus on its pass rush and secondary defense in preparation for Saturday’s Class D game against Lake George/Hadley-Luzerne at Stillwater High School.
Cambridge/Salem will be facing Lake George/Hadley-Luzerne senior quarterback Cole Clarke, who continued his fine “Fall II” season last Saturday with seven touchdown passes in a 54-8 win over Cairo-Durham/Catskill. Clarke completed 16 of 22 passes for 321 yards, and his seven TD tosses were one behind the Section II record of eight that Joe Tortello of Holy Trinity delivered in a 2018 win over Canajoharie/Fort Plain.
Clarke fired four touchdown passes in a 56-0 Week 2 win against Helderberg Valley, and had a scoring run and a TD toss in a 12-8 Week 1 win against Stillwater.
Cambridge/Salem (0-1) will be playing its Class D opener.
WEEK 4, OVER 4
The unusual schedule associated with this unusual “Fall II” football season takes its latest turn this week.
Week 4, as of Thursday evening, is scheduled to take place over four days, with games scheduled for Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
The first two of those four days carry the bulk of the week’s games, while Sunday sees a matchup between Greenwich and Chatham before “Monday Night Football” sees a pair of matchups. On Monday, Ballston Spa will play Queensbury, while Stillwater is set to play Warrensburg/North Warren.
This spring’s Section II football season only includes seven weeks of games, and this week wraps up the regular season for Class AA squads, while other classifications are slated to continue regular-season play in Week 5.
That eight-team Class AA classification used an unusual scheduling model that sees each team play all of the teams from the opposing division. Then, off those four-game schedules, each division receives its seed for a two-week divisional tournament that’s followed by both divisional winners meeting in a Week 7 championship game.
This season’s Empire Division consists of Guilderland, Saratoga Springs, Schenectady and Shenendehowa, while the Liberty Division contains Bethlehem, CBA, Colonie and Shaker.
No Class A team has come close to containing Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake or Troy through the first three weeks of “Fall II” football. It would be awfully fun to watch these teams get together, and the season is trending toward a Week 7 league showdown.
All they need is three more wins to make it happen.
To date, Burnt Hills has beaten Grasso Division foes Ballston Spa (35-12), Niskayuna (42-6) and Queensbury (49-0), and has Mohonasen and Scotia-Glenville remaining in the condensed regular season. Troy has defeated Capital Division foes La Salle (42-12), Amsterdam (55-6) and Averill Park (46-0), and has Columbia and Albany remaining.
Week 6 is set for division crossovers, with the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds from each division meeting to determine the Week 7 Class A league title-game participants.
It’s interesting to note that in the 2019 season, Queensbury won the Section II Class A flag when it knocked off Burnt Hills in the tournament semifinals, and then topped Troy in the title tilt.
“It’s been our goal ever since we lost [to Queensbury],” star Troy senior running back Xavier Leigh said of winning an area championship.
Burnt Hills and Troy last played each other for a Section II title in 2009, and the Spartans came away with a 33-18 Class A win.