JOHNSTOWN — Since topping Gloversville in 2015, the Johnstown football program has lost the last two editions of a rivalry that started back in the 1920s.
“And the games have been so close. Our guys are really hungry to bring this win back to Johnstown,” Sir Bills head coach Tyler Hall said. “The kids all know each other, they always see each other, and it’s about bragging rights.”
For the next year, those bragging rights go to the winner of Saturday’s 2 p.m. cross-classification game at Gloversville. Johnstown heads into the matchup with momentum, as the Sir Bills evened their season record with a Week 2 win against Green Tech last week.
“For us to adjust and refocus on our next opponent after Week 1, that was very important for our group of kids,” said Hall, whose team lost 45-8 to Hudson Falls before topping Green Tech 18-16. “We’re starting five sophomores, and four of those guys are going two ways for us.”
Now in his third season leading Johnstown, Hall has been focused on trying to rebuild the culture around his program. At this point, the 2010 Fonda-Fultonville graduate said that work is starting to pay off.
“When we first started, the whole focus was to build it back up from the bottom,” said Hall, who has spent time working with the area’s youth football program and growing the school’s modified level’s participation. “This [year’s sophomores] are our first kids to come up through that . . . and you’ve definitely seen a turn in their confidence level. We’re headed in the right direction.”
At Gloversville, the challenge ahead of this year’s rivalry game is just making sure the Huskies are ready to play. Head coach Jared Bongo’s team had its Week 2 game postponed from last Friday to Monday of this week because of two cases of Coxsackievirus diagnosed within the program.
That rescheduled game has left Gloversville with a condensed week of preparation. Bongo said his team would likely need to skip its usual routine of a before-game-day walk-through practice in favor of an extra normal practice.
“That will probably just get thrown out,” said Bongo, whose 0-2 team lost 41-6 Monday at Ballston Spa. “So it just shortens up our week a bit.”
All-time, Gloversville holds a 44-39-7 advantage in the football series between the schools — and their matchup is just one of several rivalry games this week. Notably, Glens Falls and Hudson Falls meet Saturday in their annual Jug Game matchup.
After Johnstown and Gloversville play, each program heads back into league play in Week 4. Each wants to do that after securing a win against a fellow Fulton County program.
“We want to be the top program in the county,” Hall said.
Besides Johnstown’s trip to Gloversville, here are four more games to watch in Week 3 of the high school football season.
Shaker at Saratoga Springs, Friday, 7 p.m.
Both undefeated at 2-0, Saratoga Springs and Shaker clash in Class AA this week. Shaker’s Ravion Burt and Jovani Wiggs team to form one of the area’s best rushing duos.
South Glens Falls at Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, Friday, 7 p.m.
At 2-0, Burnt Hills is right where it was expected to be at this point in the season. Meanwhile, South Glens Falls — after a strong 2017 season — has stumbled to a 0-2 start and needs to right itself before the 2018 season gets too far along.
Broadalbin-Perth at Schuylerville, Friday, 7 p.m.
These are both teams looking to prove something in Week 3. Broadalbin wants to show its 2-0 start is no accident, while Schuylerville is looking for its first win of the season after suffering a couple losses against top competition.
Stillwater at Fonda-Fultonville, Friday, 7 p.m.
Coming off its big win in the Indian Bowl, Stillwater heads to Fonda, where the Braves are 2-0 after the program went through a down stretch in recent years.