Tom Carpenter said taking his Fonda-Fultonville football team to the Carrier Dome in Syracuse twice next season would be dream come true.
One trip west is already guaranteed, with the Braves slated to participate in the Sept. 5-7 10-game Kickoff Classic.
Amsterdam and Hoosick Falls will be making return trips to the Dome for the season-starting showcase hosted by Section III. Fonda-Fultonville will be making its first appearance at the home of the state football championships.
“They needed another Class C team, and we said we’d be happy to go out,” said Carpenter. “The kids got excited when they got wind of it. It’s a neat opportunity.”
Fonda-Fultonville’s bid to reach the Dome was short lived in 1999, when it knocked off Glens Falls for the Section II Class B title and then lost to Peru in a state quarterfinal contest. Some outstanding Fonda-Fultonville teams followed, yet none made it beyond Section II.
“That’s where you want to end the season, at the Dome” said Carpenter, whose 2013 team finished 7-2 after a Class C semifinal loss to Hoosick Falls. “It’s always a long-term goal. We’ll work hard and try to get an opportunity to get back.”
Fonda-Fultonville will try to set the tone for its season Sept. 6 against a Class B Westhill (Section III) team that is in transition. The high school recently let head coach Gary Griffo go after his last three teams produced records of 4-4, 3-5 and 1-7.
Westhill had a solid run from 2006-09 with four Section III title-game appearances. The Warriors won the Section III Class B crown in 2009 and finished 11-1 after a state semifinal defeat.
“They’ll have a new coach, and we don’t know what they’re going to run. Will they run the same stuff or will he go with something new?” said Carpenter. “One thing I know is their school has athletes.”
Fonda-Fultonville has its share, too, including key football holdovers Pat Hart, Anthony Sinicropi, Cam Ives and Jack Derby. Hart has twice eclipsed 1,000 yards and is in line to become the school’s all-time rushing leader.
“We do a clinic in June and that’s sort of our kickoff for the season,” said Carpenter. “We’ll gather the kids and when we talk about offseason work we’ll use the Dome as motivation.”
Amsterdam and Cornwall play Sept. 6, and Hoosick Falls and Owego play Sept. 7. Amsterdam is 2-0 at the Dome with state title-game wins in 1995 and 2005. Hoosick Falls is 1-1 at the Dome and capped a 13-0 2012 season there.
Tennis and academic standout Samantha Blond of Emma Willard has been accepted to Georgetown University’s select School of Foreign Service and will be studying international relations.
A consistent straight A student, Blond scored a 2370 on her SAT with a perfect 800, a perfect 800 and a 770. The senior will receive a four-year scholarship from Georgetown after turning down similar offers from Vanderbilt, Emory, Richmond and Rhodes.
The East Greenbush resident will try to make the Georgetown tennis team as a walk-on. She helped Emma Willard put together four undefeated regular seasons, while the Jesters won Section II Class AA championships in 2011 and 2012. The Jesters were also the 2010 sectional runner-up.
Blond went 66-4 in singles and 28-3 in doubles in her high school career.
Schalmont’s baseball team had a familiar look when it took the field for its season opener Thursday against Watervliet.
Seven of the Sabres started in the final game of a historic 2013 season, when the Section II Class B champions lost to Ogdensburg Free Academy in regional play, 3-1, in nine innings.
“We lost three seniors. We’ve got a lot back, and we’ve got some younger guys who have come up to fill rolls,” Schalmont senior Greg Musk said after Thursday’s 10-0 victory. “I think we can go as far, if not farther, than last year.”
Musk, Dom Toma, Chris Hamilton, John Pascarella, Joe Wignot, Kevin Paskevich and Anthony Yezzo are the chief holdovers from last year’s team that went 20-5 to tie a school record for wins. The Sabres claimed their second Colonial Council Patriot Division title in 2013, won their first Section II crown since 2006 and beat Beekmantown for the program’s first regional victory.
“I told the kids before the game, ‘Last year was great and it’s something you’ll never forget, but we’re not trying to defend a title. We’re trying to win another,’” said Schalmont coach Bob Anderson. “We’re looking forward to a good season.”
It started real good, with Musk hurling a one-hitter and Hamilton, Pascarella and Wignot knocking in two runs apiece in Anderson’s 300th win with the Sabres.
Here and there
Mike Hurteau has been named Troy’s new varsity football coach. The Troy graduate and physical education instructor guided the high school’s junior varsity the last six seasons, and his final edition went undefeated. Hurteau played under former Troy coach Jack Burger and helped the Flying Horses win state titles in 1996 and 1998.