Here are five things to know from Week 4 of the Section II football season.
FINDING HIS GROOVE
Schalmont receiver-turned-quarterback Trent Randle continues to show progress behind center. In Saturday’s 46-14 Class B win over Lansingburgh he collected four touchdown passes, three of them going to fellow senior Darius Green on long, accurate throws, to help the Sabres improve to 3-0.
“I was a little shaky in the beginning of the season,” Randle said after completing 10 of 12 passes for 166 yards with no interceptions. “I’m getting the hang of it.”
Randle threw one touchdown pass before Saturday, in the previous week’s 27-13 win over Class A Niskayuna, when he also ran for three TDs. He had two TD runs in Schalmont’s 41-0 win over Hudson before that.
“Every week we take three or four new concepts and ask him to work on them,” Schalmont coach Joe Whipple said.
Randle was named a Class B Reinfurt Division first-team all-star receiver after the 2019 season, and he will be catching footballs in the future at Division II Mansfield University. This season he has stepped in for 2020 graduate Jake Sanford, the 2019 Reinfurt first-team all-star quarterback.
“He’s gotten a lot better playing the position,” Green said of his senior classmate. “Coach asked him to be the quarterback. He said he could do it, and he’s doing it right.”
After the 2020 fall season was called off because of COVID-19 restrictions, Randle took advantage of the extended layoff to enhance his quarterback knowledge.
“We had Google meetings with him. I had him watch a lot of film. I asked him a lot of questions,” Whipple said. “He’s absorbed a lot.”
Randle is eager to soak in more, knowing his decision making, passes and runs will have a significant impact on a Schalmont team that has designs on making it to the Class B league’s Week 7 title game .
“Quarterback is a big switch. I’ll do what I have to do to be as comfortable as I can for Week 6 and Week 7,” Randle said. “I haven’t reached my potential as a quarterback, or as a receiver.”
CLASS AA MATCHUPS SET
Pairings for the Week 5 Class AA division semifinals were settled after Guilderland beat CBA (30-7), Shenendehowa defeated Bethlehem (55-0), Shaker topped Schenectady (49-0) and Colonie downed Saratoga Springs (40-0) in the final cross-division games in Week 4
The Empire Division semifinals will have Guilderland (No. 1, 3-1) hosting Saratoga (No. 4, 1-3) and Shenendehowa (No. 2, 3-1) hosting Schenectady (No. 3, 2-2). The Liberty Division semifinals will have Shaker (No. 1, 4-0) hosting Bethlehem (No. 4, 0-4) and CBA (No. 2, 2-2) hosting Colonie (No. 3, 1-3). Most game dates and starting times have yet to be officially announced, though the Shenendehowa-Schenectady tilt will be Friday at 6 p.m. at Steuerwald Stadium.
Guilderland got the No. 1 Empire seed based on the quarter point system, finishing with 25 points while Shenendehowa totaled 24, according to Plainsmen coach Brian Clawson.
“Schenectady is a very good football team. Well coached. Solid on offense, defense and special teams,” Clawson said. “We’ve got to take care of our business. We’ve got to have a great week of practice getting ready for them.”
Since losing to Shaker 20-0 in its “Fall II” season opener, Shenendehowa has beaten Colonie (41-6), CBA (46-7) as well as Bethlehem.
“We’ve made great strides since Week 1. We’ve gotten better every single day,” said Clawson, who guided Shenendehowa to the 2019 Section II Class AA title and a state semifinal appearance. “We coach them to get better, and we’ve got kids who want to get better.”
The Week 5 winners will meet in division title games in Week 6. The division winners will play for the Class AA league championship in Week 7.
Shaker’s 4-0 mark includes three shutouts as well as a 35-25 win over Guilderland.
INTO THE RECORD BOOKS
In the wildest game of the Section II season thus far — Friday’s clash between Averill Park and Amsterdam — a bit of New York state football history was made.
Amsterdam senior wide receiver Josiah Newborn hauled in an incredible 22 passes, breaking the single-game New York State Public High School Athletic Association record by four.
“They were right in rhythm,” Amsterdam coach John Homich said Sunday. “He was hungry, so we just kept feeding him.”
Most of Newborn’s grabs in the 41-40 Amsterdam loss were short screens and slants, with the senior totaling 143 yards and a touchdown with a long reception of 21 yards.
Amsterdam quarterback Tommy Ziskin completed 28 of 43 passes for 251 yards and a touchdown, including five for 87 yards and a pair of touchdowns to Louie Gonzalez and one for 23 yards to Xavier Acevedo on a hook-and-lateral.
The previous state record of 18 catches was set by Our Lady of Lourdes’ Luke Timm in the 2015 Class A state final against Buffalo South Park — the week after Our Lady of Lourdes beat Amsterdam’s last Section II championship team in the state semifinals in Kingston.
UNBEATEN RANKS SLIM
The list of remaining unbeaten teams in Section II was guaranteed to go down by at least two during Week 4, with two matchups of undefeated teams on the docket. In the end, four previously unbeaten teams were knocked from their perch.
In the clashes of unbeaten teams, Schalmont (3-0) topped Lansingburgh in Class B, while Hoosick Falls/Tamarac (3-0) bested Coxsackie-Athens in Class C. Two other teams also tasted their first defeats, as Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk dropped a Class B contest to Hudson and Canajoharie/Fort Plain fell to Voorheesville in Class D.
Other teams remaining perfect through four weeks are Shaker (4-0), Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake (4-0), Troy (4-0), Schuylerville (4-0), Lake George/Hadley-Luzerne (4-0), Glens Falls (2-0) and Broadalbin-Perth (1-0). Greenwich, which entered the week 2-0, was in action Sunday against Chatham.
ONE DAY MORE
Enjoying this week’s high school slate? Good news — it’s not over yet.
In this season of bizarre schedules, this week doesn’t wrap up until Monday night with a pair of intriguing matchups on the docket, both with 6 p.m. kickoffs.
In Class A, Ballston Spa and Queensbury meet in a Grasso Division contest at Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake that could determine which of these two teams takes the division’s second playoff spot behind Burnt Hills. Ballston Spa (1-1) had its Week 3 game with Niskayuna called off due to COVID-19 quarantine issues, while Queensbury (0-1) missed out on its first two contests due to the coronavirus before opening with a 49-0 shellacking at the hands of Burnt Hills in Week 3.
In Class D, it’s a matchup of defending Section II champions as 2019 Class D winner Warrensburg/North Warren — finally playing for the first time this season — visits last season’s Class C champ, Stillwater.
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