Schalmont won’t get a chance to defend its Class B West Division football championship when the 2014 season rolls around.
That’s because Schalmont has been shifted to the Reinfurt Division in one of numerous alterations involving the Section II league alignment for the upcoming campaign.
Schalmont, Bethlehem and Amsterdam are moving within their leagues to even out divisions, while several other teams are jumping up in class based on enrollment figures.
“We heard rumblings that we might be moved,” said Schalmont coach Joe Whipple. “The way we’re looking at it, it’s good. We’re putting a positive spin on it. It’s a good change. We had a nice run in our division, and now we’ll see some different colors. It’s good to mix it up.”
Scotia-Glenville, Green Tech and Lansingburgh moving from Class B to Class A based on enrollment left the Class B league with seven teams in the West Division and five in the Reinfurt Division. A note with the new Class B schedule reads, “Schalmont is new to Reinfurt. Decision based on league affiliation and travel considerations.”
“We’re looking forward to the challenge of playing those teams,” said Whipple, whose Sabres will compete within the Reinfurt with Cohoes, Albany Academy, Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk, Hudson and Ichabod Crane. “They’ve got some great coaches over there.”
Schalmont won the West Division title each of the last six seasons, going undefeated each time. Following last year’s division run, Schalmont reached its fifth straight Section II Class B championship game and prevailed for the fourth time. The Sabres eventually made it to their second state final and finished 12-1 after a dramatic 22-21 loss to Maine-Endwell.
“I was talking to John Gallo [Schalmont’s athletic director],” said Whipple. “He goes, ‘We won six in a row in the West. Let’s try to win six in a row on the other side.’ ”
Schalmont has a season-opening crossover game at home against Glens Falls and will host Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake in a non-league contest in Week 4. Burnt Hills beat Schalmont, 37-0, in 2012 on the way to its state Class A championship.
“Burnt Hills has a great staff. They’ve got a great program. Coach [Matt] Shell is always willing to play us when we have an opening on our schedule, and we’re grateful of that. It’s a game we’re looking forward to. We want to play the best,” said Whipple. “Hopefully, we’ll give them a better game than the last time. I think we will.”
The 2014 season will begin on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 5-6.
Here’s a look at some of the other Section II moves.
u Niskayuna will play an independent Class A schedule as it requested. Niskayuna is of Class AA enrollment, and will not be eligible for postseason play.
u Bethlehem has moved from the Class AA Empire Division to Liberty Division, taking the spot of Niskayuna and giving each division six teams.
u Scotia-Glenville and Green Tech join the Class A Northwest Division, and Lansingburgh joins the Class A Southeast Division. Amsterdam goes from the Northwest to the Southeast to give each division six teams.
u The Class C league now has three divisions — North, Central and South — instead of two divisions, and will include newcomers Greenwich, Lake George/Hadley-Luzerne, Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons/Saratoga Catholic/Catholic Central and Schoburg.
The Lake George merger with Hadley-Luzerne, like the Catholic Central merger with Bishop Gibbons/Saratoga Catholic, was recently approved.
“The group from Catholic Central with our returning kids gives us a great mix,” said John Barber, who will coach the merged team called the Holy Trinity. “We’re in a [Central] division where no team dominated last year, and I think we can be competitive. Still, we’ve got our work cut out. Remember, we only won one game ourselves.”
u With four fewer teams, the Class D league has been reduced from two divisions to one.
The 2014 schedule has many games of note, including:
u Shaker travels to Christian Brothers Academy in a Week 1 crossover for a rematch of the 2013 Class AA title game won by the Brothers.
u CBA goes to LaSalle in Week 2, Saratoga Springs plays at Shenendehowa in Week 4 and Colonie travels to Shaker in Week 7 for Class AA rivalry games.
u Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake hosts Troy in Week 3 and entertains Queensbury in Week 7. Burnt Hills beat Troy twice last year including a four-overtime thriller, and lost to Queensbury twice, first by a point and later by a touchdown in the Class A Super Bowl.
u Five-time defending Section II Class C champion Hoosick Falls opens at the Kickoff Classic at the Carrier Dome against an opponent to be determined. Schenectady lost to Fayetteville-Manlius at the season-starting event last year.
u Mechanicville hosts Stillwater in the Indian Bowl in Week 4. Glens Falls hosts Hudson Falls in the Jug Game in Week 5.
u Rensselaer goes to 2013 champ Cambridge in Week 3 for a Class D Super Bowl rematch.
Schenectady senior Feliz Rodriguez will be joining his former football coach, Jim Kramer, at Utica College.
Rodriguez last fall was a repeat Daily Gazette All-Area first-team selection after rushing for 1,232 yards and 11 touchdowns. The standout running back, receiver and kick returner was also tabbed the Class AA Liberty Division Player of the Year, and landed a spot on the all-state third team for his all-purpose performance.
Kramer directed the Schenectady varsity for four seasons, and each of his teams reached the Section II playoffs. He joined the Utica staff as its offensive coordinator before the 2013 season.
The Utica roster includes Schenectady graduate Tyler DePasquale, an offensive lineman and former Gazette All-Area pick.
Amsterdam offensive guard Tyler Cranker has signed with Stetson University. Cranker earned Gazette All-Area first-team honors following his senior campaign and made the all-state Class A fourth team.
Fort Plain resident and Deerfield Academy senior Quinn Smith was selected the Babcock Award winner after a record-setting performance at the New England Prep School Swim Association’s championship meet at the Hotchkiss School in Connecticut.
The Babcock Award goes to the meet’s outstanding male competitor, and is determined by a vote of the league’s 15 coaches.
Smith broke the Hotchkiss pool records and set Deerfield marks in the 200 individual medley (1:49.14) and 100 breaststroke (56.44), and just missed NE Prep records (1:49.05, 56.35) in both events. He set a NE Prep record in the 400 freestyle relay when he went 44.9 as Deerfield’s lead-off leg.
Smith additionally holds the Deerfield school record in the 100 back, and helped all three of its relays set school records. The 12-time All-American has committed to Boston University.
Smith attended Canajoharie schools before going to Deerfield (Mass.) as a freshman, and is a member of the Schenectady/Saratoga Sharks.
cadets to fed
Albany Academy will look to defend its Federation Tournament of Champions Class A title when the basketball season winds up March 21-23 at the Times Union Center.
Academy (14-4) will represent the Association of Independent Schools. Academy, like last year, did not have to qualify for the Federation event through tournament play as the lone Class A school in the AIS.
Last year, the Cadets became the first Capital Region boys’ team to win a Federation title since Watervliet (Class C) in 1991 when they edged Nazareth, 43-40, and then beat John Adams, 50-34.
Academy’s resume includes a split with Long Island Lutheran and Guilderland, and wins over Shenendehowa, Green Tech, Ogdensburg Free Academy and Bishop Ludden.
The other AIS Federation reps are LI Lutheran (Class AA, 20-4), which, like Academy, did not have to win to get in, and The Dwight School (Class B, 23-6), which beat three teams to advance.
mcbride steps down
Tom McBride has resigned as Mechanicville’s varsity baseball coach after eight seasons.
His 2010 edition reached the Section II Class B semifinals and posted a 16-7 record, while each of his first two teams notched 12 wins.
“I love the guys I coached against. The Colonial Council coaches are a great group of guys,” said McBride. “I’m going to miss them.”
Tim Sheehan is the Red Raiders’ new varsity baseball. He previously led the Mechanicville junior varsity.
McBride also stepped down as Mechanicville’s junior varsity boys’ basketball coach after four seasons. McBride spent 26 seasons coaching various basketball teams at the high school.
“I had a lot of fun, and I’ll miss the kids,” he said. “I have a lifetime of memories.”