Week 4 of the high school football season kicks off Friday.
Here are five things to know ahead of the latest Section II football action.
Only eight teams that have played at least one game this season remain undefeated in Section II football.
Those squads are CBA and Shaker in Class AA, Amsterdam in Class A, Class B’s Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk, Class C’s Schuylerville, and Greenwich, Lake George and Warrensburg/North Warren/Bolton in Class D.
None of the area’s undefeated teams play one another this week.
Albany, a Class A competitor, is 0-0 ahead of its Week 4 game against Troy, which is 0-3. Albany was one of the area’s school districts to require athletes in “high-risk” sports — such as football and volleyball — to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before being allowed to compete.
DIVISION PLAY BEGINS
Four of the five classifications across Section II have already begun league play. The fifth finally takes part this week, with division play kicking off in Class B.
In the Reinfurt Division, Schalmont takes on Lansingburgh and Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk faces Green Tech on Friday. The North Division will see a Friday night matchup between Broadalbin-Perth and Scotia-Glenville, as well as the Jug Game rivalry matchup Saturday between Hudson Falls and Glens Falls.
With five teams in each division, there will also be one non-division game this week, Friday’s clash between Mohonasen and Gloversville.
Class B is one of four classifications in Section II — along with AA, A and D — that will use an eight-week regular season format prior to a two-week playoff.
One of the area’s top rivalries over the past decade gets its latest renewal on Saturday when Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake (2-1) visits Queensbury (1-2) at 1:30 p.m.
Burnt Hills has reeled off back-to-back wins since its season-opening loss to Shaker, including a 24-21 win last Friday against La Salle Institute that saw coach Matt Shell’s Spartans score 10 fourth-quarter points to pull out the win thanks to a Michael Sbuttoni field goal. Queensbury opened its season with consecutive losses to Shenendehowa and Averill Park before powering to a 51-28 win over South Glens Falls in Week 3 as the Queensbury double-wing offense piled up 420 rushing yards.
It’s the 30th meeting in a series that Burnt Hills leads 16-13. The series has largely favored the home team. Queensbury has won nine of the 15 matchups with Burnt Hills on its home field, with Burnt Hills holding an 8-2 record on its home turf against Queensbury. When the two teams met April 2 during the “Fall II” season, Burnt Hills romped in a 49-0 victory against a Queensbury team that was making its season debut after sitting out several weeks due to coronavirus-related protocols.
Since 2006, there’s been just one Section II Class A Super Bowl that didn’t involve at least one of the two Spartan squads. Burnt Hills and Queensbury have met each other for the title four times during that span, with Queensbury winning the first two matchups in 2013 and 2014 and Burnt Hills claiming victory in 2016 and 2017. Only one of those games — Queensbury’s 34-13 win in 2014 — was decided by more than a touchdown.
Through four weeks, head coach Brian Grastorf’s Niskayuna squad is 3-1, with its lone loss coming against an opponent from outside of Section II.
Niskayuna last had a winning season in 2018, a season that saw the Silver Warriors win their final four games after a 1-4 start. Niskayuna last made it to the playoffs in 2010, the third season in a four-year stretch of winning seasons that preceded a run of six consecutive losing campaigns.
In Week 0, Niskayuna lost to Section III’s Auburn. Then, the Silver Warriors defeated Bethlehem, Columbia and Ballston Spa.
Niskayuna plays another non-Section II opponent this week. Section IV’s Binghamton travels Friday to Niskayuna for a 7 p.m. kickoff.
ANOTHER WILD ONE?
It’s not Section II’s fiercest or most storied rivalry, but no matchup in the area has produced a string of wilder, wackier football games in recent memory than Amsterdam vs. Averill Park.
The two teams meet Saturday at 1:30 p.m. in Amsterdam’s home opener, the latest matchup in a series that, since 2012, has almost always resulted in a memorable game and, more often than not, some truly baffling numbers being put up on the scoreboard.
The scores in the rivalry read like something out of a video game: Amsterdam wins of 56-44 and 48-34 in a pair of 2013 meetings, Averill Park’s wild 58-56 victory in 2014 and the Warriors’ 41-40 win during the recent “Fall II” season that saw three touchdowns, two lead changes and a game-saving stop on a 2-point conversion within the final two minutes of play.
Even the games where defenses didn’t take a vacation were memorable, including Averill Park’s 21-14 win on a last-minute touchdown in the 2016 Class A semifinals.
This year, both teams have started strong, with Amsterdam (1-0 Class A Capital Division, 2-0 overall) beating South Glens Falls and Columbia and Averill Park (1-0, 3-1) seeing its only blemish thus far come against Class AA contender CBA. Saturday’s winner will have an inside track to a playoff spot.