The Point After: Analyzing and predicting the Section II Super Bowl matchups

Shenendehowa’s Cody Smith carries the ball down the field against Saratoga’s Carter Vaughn during their high school homecoming football game in Clifton Park on Friday, October 14, 2022.

Shenendehowa’s Cody Smith carries the ball down the field against Saratoga’s Carter Vaughn during their high school homecoming football game in Clifton Park on Friday, October 14, 2022.

Looks like we made it.

Ten weeks of Section II football — well, nine for some — and we’ve arrived at the biggest weekend on the area high school football calendar. It’s Super Bowl time, with championships to be decided in all five classifications between Friday and Saturday as we learn which teams will head to the state tournament and try to make a push to get to the JMA Wireless Dome in Syracuse in pursuit of NYSPHSAA titles.

This week in The Point After, I’m breaking down all five Super Bowls and offering my predictions for which five teams will be hoisting plaques and dousing their head coaches with Gatorade:


The matchup: No. 1 CBA (10-0) vs. No. 2 Shenendehowa (8-1), 7 p.m. Friday at Guilderland

Regular season: CBA won 41-25

The breakdown: The only rematch from one of last year’s Super Bowls, the Brothers won that game and will try to repeat and give head coach Bobby Burns a seventh area title between his tenures at CBA and Troy. The defense is formidable, holding seven of 10 opponents to seven or fewer points, but it’s junior quarterback Donald Jones who’s CBA’s biggest star, a do-it-all standout who can score any time he touches the ball. Jahmir Pitcher is another explosive player in the backfield, and Chuck Volans is a threat at tight end while also being one of the area’s premier defensive ends. Shenendehowa’s found a reliable backfield tandem in Ihsaan Alozie and Henry Picard, while receiver Luke McAuliffe is the top target for quarterback Michael Whatley. Cody Smith is for Shenendehowa what Volans is for CBA — a playmaking tight end and a game-wrecking defensive end.

The pick: CBA 33, Shenendehowa 27


The matchup: Capital Division No. 1 Averill Park (7-3) vs. Grasso Division No. 1 Niskayuna (8-2), 7 p.m. Saturday at CBA

Regular season: Didn’t meet.

The breakdown: One of these two teams will become a first-time Section II football champion. Niskayuna’s lone prior Super Bowl appearance was a 38-0 loss to Troy in the 1996 Class A final, while Averill Park fell to Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake in 2016 and Amsterdam in 2015 during that program’s previous championship games. Niskayuna started 1-2, but has won seven straight since that point behind a ferocious defense and a maturing offense led by Ethan Gilson, Cameron Grasso, Dahvion Wimberly and Isaiah Linyear. Averill Park was also 1-2 early on and has come alive down the stretch. The Warriors lost standout quarterback Nicholas Galuski to injury a few weeks back, but Jacob Phelps is a game-changing player. He ran, threw and returned a kickoff for a touchdown in last week’s semifinal win over Burnt Hills. Watch out for Niskayuna’s Cooper Harvey, perhaps the area’s top kicker, as a potential X-factor.

The pick: Niskayuna 24, Averill Park 21


The matchup: No. 2 Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk (8-2) vs. No. 4 Lansingburgh (6-4), 1 p.m. Saturday at Shenendehowa

Regular season: Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk won 21-0

The breakdown: Defending area champion Ravena has played its best football over the back half of the season, riding a five-game winning streak that’s included three shutouts by its defense. Running backs Aiden Lochner and Frankie Broadhurst are one of the area’s best duos. Lansingburgh started the season 1-3, including three straight losses to Glens Falls, Gloversville and Ravena, but the nights have won five of their last six and pulled out a stunning 41-40 overtime win over previously unbeaten Glens Falls to reach the finals. Quarterback Logan Hardt is the leader for a Lansingburgh program in its first Section II final since its 2007 Class A title win over Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake.

The pick: Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk 28, Lansingburgh 12


The matchup: North Division No. 1 Warrensburg/Lake George/North Warren (10-0) vs. North Division No. 2 Schuylerville (8-2), 7 p.m. Friday at Lansingburgh

Regular season: Warrensburg/Lake George/North Warren won 18-7

The breakdown: The regular-season meeting was one of the most anticipated Section II games of the season, with the first-year merged Wolverines team handing the Black Horses their first loss to an area opponent since 2019. Schuylerville quarterback Lukas Sherman was injured during that game, but returned last week to help his team to a 14-13 overtime semifinal victory over previously undefeated Fonda-Fultonville. Warrensburg/Lake George/North Warren’s numbers this season are staggering — a 549-45 scoring differential and an offensive that averages more than 450 yards per game, including nearly 400 yards per game on the ground at 11.4 yards per carry.

The pick: Warrensburg/Lake George/North Warren 21, Schuylerville 16


The matchup: No. 1 Cambridge/Salem (10-0) vs. No. 2 Chatham (9-1), 1 p.m. Saturday at Schuylerville

Regular season: Cambridge/Salem won 40-6

The breakdown: Cambridge/Salem has absolutely rolled through this season. Since an 18-7 Week 0 win over Granville/Whitehall, coach Doug Luke’s team has won its last nine games by at least 27 points and hasn’t let an opponent score more than 12 points in a game all season. Brice Burr and Evan Day lead a rushing attack capable of overwhelming opponents. Chatham’s been on an eight-game win streak of its own since the Panthers’ early loss to Cambridge/Salem, and had an impressive semifinal win over Greenwich behind the rushing combo of quarterback Tyler Kneller and running back Matt Radley.

The pick: Cambridge/Salem 45, Chatham 13

Categories: High School Sports, Sports, Sports

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