THE POINT AFTER – Well, we made it. The Section II football postseason is here.
Sure, the party technically started Friday night with four quarterfinal games in Class C, but now the other four classifications are ready to join in, and this year’s semifinals should be a doozy.
Of the 10 semifinal games slated for this coming weekend, nine of them are rematches from the regular season. There’s also a pair of rematches on tap from last year’s area championship games.
Let’s go class-by-class with a breakdown of what’s coming up in the Section II semifinals:
Of our two semifinal matchups, one was a lopsided result during the regular season, the other was a candidate for the best game in Section II this season.
We’ll start with the former, where undefeated No. 1 seed Christian Brothers Academy (9-0) hosts No. 4 Saratoga Springs (5-4). CBA, led by dynamic dual-threat quarterback Donald Jones, running back Jahmir Pitcher and tight end/defensive end Chuck Volans, has been stellar throughout the season, outscoring opponents 325-92 and only playing one game — a 35-34 overtime win against Shaker — decided by fewer than 16 points. The Brothers beat Saratoga Springs 20-0 when they met Oct. 21, the third straight loss for a Blue Streaks team that bounced back this past weekend to wrap up their playoff spot with a 34-6 win over Colonie.
The other game features No. 2 Shenendehowa (7-1) hosting No. 3 Shaker (6-3). Shaker dominated this rivalry for a decade, but the Plainsmen have won the last two, both in this round last year and earlier this season in an overtime classic. Both teams enter the playoffs in good form, with Shenendehowa winning its final three games of the regular season and Shaker on a four-game win streak that’s seen the Blue Bison outscore their opposition 175-16.
Before getting to the matchups, a word on tiebreakers. Section II’s quarter points system can be a cruel way to decide things, and for the second straight year it was that system that dealt Amsterdam a bitter fate. The Rams, decidedly a second-half team for much of the year, have been bumped from the playoffs via three-way ties in each of the last two seasons. Last year, they let a two-touchdown lead slip away in the final two minutes of regulation and lost to La Salle in overtime to seal their fate. This year, Amsterdam crushed La Salle by 27 points in the final week of the regular season, but when Troy beat Columbia in overtime, it set up a three-way tie that gave La Salle the playoff spot on quarter points.
On to the playoffs, where we’ve got two division champions hosting games against teams that beat them early in the season. A perfect representation of a classification that promised constant chaos this season.
Grasso Division champion Nisakyuna (7-2), fresh off its 9-6 win over Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, hosts a La Salle (5-4) team that easily dispatched the Silver Warriors 25-7 at Schenectady High School in September. Niskayuna hasn’t lost since.
In the other semifinal, Capital Division champ Averill Park (6-3) hosts Burnt Hills (6-2). The Spartans won 21-0 when the two teams met in September.
This classification was pretty well set in stone for the last couple weeks of the regular season, giving teams plenty of time to prepare for their playoff matchups.
No. 1 Glens Falls (8-0) will host No. 4 Lansingburgh (5-4) in a rematch from Week 1 that Glens Falls won 33-7. It’s been an impressive turnaround season for Lansingburgh, which started the season 1-3 before bouncing back with a four-game win streak that got the Knights back to the playoffs.
No. 2 Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk (7-2) and No. 3 Gloversville (6-2) met as surprise participants in last year’s Class B Super Bowl, with Ravena coming out victorious. Ravena also won the regular-season meeting between these two teams in Week 7, 41-0, which earned them home-field advantage for the playoff rematch.
The Class C quarterfinals featured little drama, with the four winners — Fonda-Fultonville, Warrensburg/Lake George/North Warren, Schuylerville and Stillwater — recording an average margin of victory of 44.5 points and the closest game being Fonda-Fultonville’s 41-14 win over Hoosick Falls/Tamarac.
The semifinals should provide a little more excitement.
The one semifinal in the area that’s not a rematch from the regular season is South Division winner Fonda-Fultonville (9-0) hosting North Division runner-up Schuylerville (7-2). These two teams met in last year’s Class C championship game, with Schuylerville picking up the victory. Fonda-Fultonville has outscored its opponents 437-66 this year, with eight straight wins by at least 27 points. Schuylerville recorded a 56-14 win in the quarterfinals against Ichabod Crane, bouncing back from consecutive losses to end the regular season.
In the other semifinal, North Division champ Warrensburg/Lake George/North Warren (9-0) and its ludicrous 501-45 scoring margin will host the third-place team from their division, Stillwater (7-2). Stillwater was the lone road team to win in Class C last week, dispatching Broadalbin-Perth 49-8. When the two teams met in October, the Wolverines piled up 572 rushing yards in their 54-18 win over Stillwater.
The smallest classification also features a pair of rematches in the semifinals.
No. 1 Cambridge/Salem (9-0) beat every Class D team by at least 34 points during the regular season, but their semifinal opponent, No. 4 Canajoharie/Fort Plain (5-3) does have the distinction of being the only team to score double digits against the top seed this year — albeit in a 47-12 loss. Canajoharie/Fort Plain has won four of five entering the playoffs, following a 1-2 start.
No. 2 Chatham (8-1) enters the playoffs on a seven-game winning streak, which includes a 26-14 win on Oct. 7 against their semifinal opponent, No. 3 Greenwich (5-4). The Witches were the only Class D playoff team to lose their Week 8 crossover game against a non-playoff Class C opponent, falling 28-19 to Mechanicville/Hoosic Valley.