NISKAYUNA — When the Niskayuna football team hosts Columbia Friday night, the Silver Warriors enter as a seasoned squad.
In the opening week of play, Niskayuna traveled in Week 0 to Section III and fell 28-21 to Class A Auburn. The Silver Warriors faced Class AA Bethlehem on the road last week and came away with a 27-6 win before preparing for Columbia in a Class A clash on Friday.
Against Bethlehem last week, Niskayuna senior quarterback Dan Quinn completed approximately 60% of his passes.
“The wideouts do a great job on route discipline, and Danny [Quinn] makes good reads,” Niskayuna head coach Brian Grastorf said. “Year-in and year-out . . . we’ve got guys that can catch the ball. It seems to be something we always have, every wide out can catch the ball, it’s smooth and they’re disciplined on their routes, and they make plays.”
Quinn credited his receivers for the roles they played in last week’s solid offensive showing.
“I’ve definitely got a good bunch of guys this year that help me get to that [completion] percentage,” said Quinn, who has passed for four touchdowns and rushed for three through Niskayuna’s 1-1 start.
Running sharp, defined routes is a key focus for the Silver Warriors’ receiving corps.
“It’s really drilled into us when we’re younger during the youth years,” junior Dahvion Wimberly said. “They really show us what we need to do, so when we get up to the high school level it’s quick, every play.”
With Quinn throwing the ball, each wideout hopes to be on the receiving end of his toss.
“Quinn makes us look better; he gets it to our hands every play. There is no doubt in my mind that he’ll get it to us,” Wimberly said.
Another key to the Silver Warriors passing game has been the opportunity for plays to develop, a credit to the offensive line in front of Quinn.
“It gives me a lot more timing, a lot less QB rushes helps me with my confidence, gives the receivers time to get open and helps the offense as a whole,” Quinn said.
Grastorf expects his offense to continue to evolve this season.
“Going into this week and the future, we do want to get the run game going,” Grastorf said. “We can’t always be throwing the ball every down, that’s something that we’re working on. Hopefully that happens this week.”
A balanced, effective running and passing game could mean remarkable things for the Silver Warriors.
“I think we’ll even be more explosive with the really successful air raid offense, balanced with a [strong] running game is a lethal combination,” Quinn said.
Finding that balance heading into Niskayuna’s third game of the year could help the Silver Warriors avenge last season’s 25-0 loss at Columbia.
“That game was probably our worst game of the year last year. That’s on a lot of guys’ minds,” Grastorf said. “We weren’t pleased with our execution and the guys are excited to get back, get another opportunity to play them.”
Columbia defeated Class AA Saratoga Springs last week.