Cobleskill-Richmondville’s 2007 championship football team didn’t have a load of star players or much size to speak of.
“The kids bought into what I was selling. I’d tell them over and over, ‘You’ve got to work as a team to be successful,’ ” Ed Hantho said of his group of Bulldogs that won the program’s only Section II title. “They were there for each other.”
Unity was just one of the things Hantho stressed in his seven seasons as the Bulldogs’ head coach. He urged his high schoolers to play with class, prepare with vigor and show accountability.
“Could you look yourself in the mirror and say, ‘I put my best foot forward?’ ” Hantho said. “We always talked about that. We talked a lot about representing your school, your family and your community the right way.”
Hantho, who recently announced his coaching resignation to spend more time with his four young children, did things the right way while winning games, as well.
His seven teams combined for a 36-29 record, and his first six participated in the Section II playoffs.
“You’re here to do more than win a football game,” said the high school math instructor. “You’re here to teach lessons.”
Hantho pushed the never-quit approach throughout his stint, and against unbeaten Broadalbin-Perth midway through that 2007 season, his Bulldogs didn’t.
“Nobody expected us to win. They were destroying people and ranked fourth or fifth in the state, and we get down, 14-0,” Hantho recalled. “It was pretty awesome when we came back and won. We came up with a big play, and everything started to go our way.”
That big play was a 48-yard pass from Josh Keller to Aaron Christman, which kick-started a five-touchdown flurry in what would be a 35-14 win. Keller, a Daily Gazette second-team All-Area quarterback that season, also tossed a scoring strike to Chris McHargue and ran for a touchdown.
“That game was a springboard for us,” said Hantho. “We showed we can play with the best teams, and we kept doing it.”
Cobleskill-Richmondville went 10-1 that season with Class B sectional wins over Hudson, Hudson Falls and Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk before a regional setback against Peru. Christman ran for two touchdowns in the 14-3 win over Ravena.
“I remember talking to the kids about getting to the [Amsterdam] turf. We had been preaching that for several years,” Hantho said of the Class B final. “When we finally got there, for the kids to play a great game, it was such great feeling.”
The 10 wins in 2007 set a program record, and the Bulldogs, with their ‘Link in a Chain’ motto, finished with a No. 7 state ranking. Among the wins was a 27-26 decision against Fonda-Fultonville, Hantho’s alma mater.
“You remember things about every season, but 2007 was def-initely a magical season. We came up with plays, and on defense, we limited people,” Hantho said. “We graduated a ton of seniors from the year before, and you didn’t know what to expect.”
Hantho’s first Cobleskill-Richmondville team went 8-1 in 2006. The Bulldogs captured the first of their two straight Class B West Division titles, and reached the sectional semifinals for the first of three times under Hantho before a 17-16 overtime loss to Hudson.
“We had some years where we played well,” said Hantho. “It was a fun run.”
Hantho’s four children range from age 4 through 13, and his oldest three are active in sports.
“If you want to compete, it’s year-round. There’s 7-on-7, lifting, speed training,” said Hantho. “I didn’t think I could give the program the attention it deserves and give my kids the attention they deserve.
“I’m not ruling out, down the road, coaching again. I love this sport and all the aspects of it.”
Kevin Billington is returning to coach the Cobleskill-Richmondville varsity after guiding the Bulldogs to a 44-28 record and five playoff appearances from 1998-2005. Billington has been with the school’s junior varsity for three years. He left the program following the 2005 season to serve as an assistant at Hartwick College.
new balance nationals
Izaiah Brown of Amsterdam and Winston Lee of Hudson will be among Section II’s state meet champions competing today through Sunday at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals at North Carolina A&T University in Greensboro.
Brown and Lee will participate in the boys’ Championship Div-ision 400 and 100, respectively, while the girls’ Championship Division will include 2012 New Balance 2,000 steeplechase winner Keelin Hollowood of Saratoga Springs.
Brown ran a Section II-record 47.20 in winning the Division 1 and Federation titles at Saturday’s state meet at Middletown High School. The sophomore will run in the top-seeded 400 section. His unbeaten season in the event includes a then-previous-best 47.72 at the Eddy Meet in Schenectady.
Brown and schoolmates Brett Stanovich, Anthony Stewart and John Hardies will compete in the CD 1,600 relay after placing third (3:19.23) among Division 1 state meet groups.
Lee won the state Division 2 title in 10.64, and the senior came back to take the Federation 100 in 10.62. The football standout and first-year track runner set the Section II 100 record (10.56) at the state meet qualifier.
The Championship Division roster also has Devon Willis of Schalmont in the triple jump, Rudy Winkler of Averill Park in the hammer throw, and Brent Freestone of Saratoga Springs, Ross Wightman of Chatham and Jordan Johnson of Colonie in the 2,000 steeplechase.
Willis won the state Division 2 triple jump at 48-1⁄2, but has gone as far as 48-23⁄4 this season.
Winkler competes as an independent. He defended his New Balance Indoor Nationals title in March, and Saturday won the hammer at the Chicagoland Summer Throws Series with a nation-leading 254-10, which is also third on the all-time U.S. list.
The Cornell-bound Winkler did not compete at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals last year. He opted for the USATF Junior Nationals and prevailed.
Hollowood won the New Balance title with a 6:50.46 last year, and popped a 6:49.51 at the state meet, good for second in Division 1. She placed 10th at the nationals in 2011.
Joining Hollowood in the CD steeplechase will be Emily Burns of Guilderland and Courtney Tedeschi of Berne-Knox-Westerlo. Leah Triller of Holy Names will run the CD 800, and Chanel Thomas of Gloversville will compete in the CD heptathlon.
Section II’s Emerging Elite group will include Malik Murray of Schenectady (100), Evan Quinones of Saratoga Springs (800), Jake Urys of Mekeel Christian Academy (mile), Steve Booker of Bethlehem (two mile), Jeremy Spiezio of Greenwich (two mile), Max Comer of Schuylerville (400 hurdles), Isaiah Turek of Ichabod Crane (high jump), James Steck of Shaker (pole vault), Brian Greenberg of Bethlehem (triple jump), Kendra Lizotte and Kalli Manly of Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake (pole vault), Megan Kellogg of Queensbury (800), Sarah Morin of Saratoga Springs (two mile), and Abby Marco of Guilderland (400 hurdles).
Steck won the Division 1 pole vault title (14-6) Saturday to go with his state indoor championship.
change in seeding format
The boys’ soccer seeding proposal for the 2013 postseason passed the Section II Athletic Council on June 5 by a vote of 20-8. The criteria for seeding will be the following:
1 — league winning percentage; 2 — strength of schedule (including non-league games); 3 — head-to-head results; 4 — past tourn-ament history; 5 — extenuating circumstances.
Yellow card accumulation totals will be used to break ties only when criteria 2-5 do not break the a tie.
saratoga tabs two
Matt Usher and Robin Chudy have been named Saratoga Springs High School’s new varsity basketball coaches.
Both have previous varsity experience, with Usher guiding the Granville boys for four season through 2010, and Chudy directing the Saratoga girls in 1995-96 and 1996-97 before stepping down to devote time to her family.
Usher led Saratoga’s modified boys the last three seasons. The Saratoga and Ithaca College graduate takes over a varsity team that went 8-11 last season under Jack Brock and then Damian Fantauzzi and Greg Goering. Brock was suspended late in the campaign for using inappropriate language.
Chudy graduated from Columbia High School and Union College. The former Robin Romer is a member of each school’s athletic hall of fame after excelling in basketball and softball.
She replaces Colleen Belanger, whose Blue Streaks posted a 7-11 record last season.
Usher is a physical education instructor at Maple Avenue Middle School and Chudy teaches math at Saratoga Springs High School.