SCHENECTADY — A typical practice for Noah Foster?
"Five minutes at wide receiver. Five minutes at running back," the Holy Trinity senior said earlier this week. "I'm not in one place two times in a row."
Games have been similar this season for the 17-year-old Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons student, who has transformed himself from a football novice into one of Section II's more versatile performers.
In Saturday's 3 p.m. Section II Class B championship game between Holy Trinity (8-1) and Schuylerville (8-1) at Shenendehowa High School, Foster will set up at wide receiver, slot receiver and running back on offense, play strong safety on defense, and return punts and kickoffs.
"Definitely his football IQ has gotten better," Holy Trinity coach John Barber said. "He has gained so much knowledge in a short time. He is seeing things clearly. The game has slowed down for him."
Foster played only one season of Pop Warner football when he was 10 years old before joining the Holy Trinity varsity team his sophomore year. The son of former star Shenendehowa running back Galen Foster was a contributor that year when the Pride reached the state Class C title game. After that, his playing ability and role continued to expand.
"A lot of dedication, and I've matured," Foster said of his development as a player who is now being looked at by several colleges. "I am taking more advice from my dad and my uncles who also played, and I am trying to use it."
Barber said Foster used his time well in the offseason.
"He is quicker and stronger. He was in the weight room doing all of the right things," Barber said of the Schenectady resident. "He is committed to our goals. He came [into preseason] in August ready to play."
Barber had Foster penciled in as his starting running back, but that changed when basketball standout Rodney Parker joined the team.
"We didn't know Rodney was going to play until two weeks before we got started," Barber said of his team's rushing leader. "We decided to use Noah as a slot and have him fill in at running back for Rodney."
Foster has rushed for 412 yards, averaging over nine yards per attempt, and five touchdowns.
"I love running back," Foster said. "It's so fun reading the guards. On my dad's side of the family, they were all running backs. It runs in the blood."
Foster has totaled 701 receiving yards on 31 receptions, and 15 of those grabs have gone for touchdowns. Foster had six receptions for 166 yards and four touchdowns in last Saturday's 37-35 semifinal win at Glens Falls, scoring for the fourth time on a diving catch in the end zone.
"He is making catches he wasn't in the past," Barber said.
Foster had returned three kickoffs for touchdowns, has a punt return TD, and from his safety spot has intercepted six passes.
"He finds the ball," Barber said.
While Foster scored the last touchdown for Holy Trinity in its semifinal game at Glens Falls, it was Connor Barber who provided the Pride's final points on a 30-yard, go-ahead field goal with 1:44 left.
"It all started in practice," Foster said of his team's win against the state's then-No. 1 team and defending champion. "We were focused and it showed on the field."
Schuylerville beat Schalmont 14-7 to stretch its win streak to seven games and advance to the Class B final it last won in 2015.
"They are big up front and, within 10 yards, they are quick up front. We need to fight through that," Barber said of facing Schuylerville's flexbone offense. "We've got to get them off the field on third down. We didn't do that enough against Glens Falls. We need to be assignment sound."
"We know they'll score," Foster said. "But at the end of the day it's about slowing them down and making them uncomfortable. Defense is a huge part of this."
Schuylerville's defense has been sharp since a 34-13 loss to Glens Falls in Week 2.
"They haven't allowed an offensive touchdown in the last [two] games," Barber said. "They're playing great defense. It's going to be a challenge."
Warrensburg (8-1) and Chatham (7-2) meet in the Section II Class D championship game Saturday at 1 p.m. at Schuylerville. Queensbury (9-0) and Troy (8-1) meet in the Section II Class A final Saturday at 7 p.m. at Shenendehowa. Queensbury lost to Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake in the last two Class A finals.