Here are five things to know ahead of Week 6 of the Section II “Fall II” football season.
SHEN PREPS FOR AIR SHOW
While Shenendehowa had success against Guilderland’s pass-first offense with a 35-7 win in the 2019 Section II Class AA title game, that was then, and this is now.
With new players filling key roles on both sides, the Plainsmen (4-1) will look to handle the Dutchmen (3-1) air attack again when they renew a longtime rivalry in Friday’s Class AA Empire Division title game.
“They are always a challenge to prepare for,” Shenendehowa coach Brian Clawson said. “It’s a unique offense and none of the teams we face do what they do. They pass more than everyone else, and at the same time, they run the ball very well.”
Guilderland quarterback Logan Broomhall threw two touchdown passes and ran for one when Guilderland beat CBA 30-7 in Week 4. Guilderland had a Week 5 division semifinal bye when Saratoga Springs went on COVID-19 pause.
“Containing him [Broomhall] is at the forefront of our game plan,” Clawson said.
Guilderland is the only team that has scored against Shaker during the “Fall II” season in a 35-25 loss. Guilderland also put up 48 points against Colonie and 35 against Bethlehem.
“We are going to have to play well in all three phases to beat them,” Clawson said.
Shaker opened its season with a 20-0 win over Shenendehowa, and the Plainsmen have given up 21 points since then and no more than one touchdown in any game. Shenendehowa beat Schenectady 42-8 in its division semifinal when Dyvante Terrelonge scored three TDs.
“The Shaker game opened our eyes,” Clawson said. “We knew we had to try to get better, and the players committed to it. We’ve made excellent progress.”
SHAKER SEEKS 6TH WIN
CBA (2-3) is facing an uphill battle in its Class AA playoff game.
Shaker (5-0) enters Friday’s 7 p.m. Liberty Division championship game with five double-digit wins and four shutouts to its credit. After topping Shenendehowa 20-0 in Week 1 and Guilderland 35-25 in Week 2, Shaker’s last three wins have each been earned with a five-possession margin or better.
Shaker, though, was similarly dominant last season . . . and then fell with a trip to the Section II championship game on the line. That loss in 2019 to Guilderland, a surprising 14-7 setback, ended an 18-game winning streak for Shaker against Section II opponents.
HERE WE GO AGAIN
Just like late in the 2019 season, Friday’s Class A semifinal opponents are meeting again in meaningful playoff games. The matchups have Queensbury (2-1) at Troy (5-0) and Averill Park (4-1) at Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake (5-0).
Queensbury topped Troy in the 2019 Section II Class A championship game 17-13. The rematch will have two of the area’s premier running backs on the field in Troy’s Xavier Leigh and Queensbury’s Jason Rodriguez, who will have a streak of 13 straight games with over 100 rushing yards on the line.
Burnt Hills defeated Averill Park in a 2019 Class A quarterfinal 17-7 before losing the following week to Queensbury 22-11.
‘C’ SEMIS FRIDAY NIGHT
For much of this unique “Fall II” football season, a Class C championship matchup between Hoosick Falls/Tamarac and Schuylerville has appeared to be an inevitable conclusion to the campaign.
Now, both undefeated teams need one more win to get to that stage.
In one Friday semifinal, Mechanicville (3-2) visits Hoosick Falls/Tamarac (5-0), while Coxsackie-Athens (3-1) visits Schuylerville (5-0). Schuylerville hasn’t been played closer than 23 points this season, while Hoosick Falls/Tamarac hasn’t won by fewer than 30 points so far this year.
Both Class C semifinals are fresh matchups this season. Schuylerville, though, defeated Mechanicville 38-0, while Hoosick Falls/Tamarac beat Coxsackie-Athens 45-3.
RAMS EYE BREAKTHROUGH
Change a few plays here and there, and Amsterdam is a .500 team rather than a winless one heading into its Class A football game Friday at Mohonasen.
“We watch film on Sundays and break it down,” first-year Amsterdam coach John Homich said. “The mistakes that have happened have come at the worst times.”
Winnable games turned into setbacks in Amsterdam’s last two outings against Ballston Spa (34-31) and Averill Park (41-40). The Ballston Spa game ended on a Scotties’ touchdown pass as time expired. The Averill Park game included a missed 2-point conversion by the Rams in the final seconds.
“We’ve been putting together drives and have been working so hard,” Homich said. “Luck hasn’t been on our side.”
The Rams opened their campaign a week late after a COVID-19 pause, and lost to one of Section II top Class A teams in Troy (55-6) and afterward to La Salle (25-8).
“We could have packed it in or fought back, and we fought back,” Homich said. “We lost in the last minute of each game, and that hurt. We’re hoping this week is different.”
Mohonasen (2-3) is coming off a 32-12 win over Columbia. Ballston Spa is the only common opponent of Mohonasen and Amsterdam, and the Mighty Warriors lost to the Scotties 20-6 earlier in the “Fall II” season.
“We have to play smart, disciplined football on both sides, but especially on defense,” Homich said. “If we do what we’re supposed to do and continue to show the fight like we have, I believe we can get over the hump.”