Thursday, October 30, 2014

High School Football: Week 9 Schedule

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L2-LaSalle at E1-Shenendehowa - Friday, 7PM
E2-CBA at L1-Shaker - Friday, 7PM

NW2-Burnt Hills at SE1-Amsterdam - Friday, 7PM
NW3-Scotia at NW1-Queensbury - Saturday, 1:30PM

W2-Broadalbin-Perth at R1-Schalmont - Friday, 7PM
R2-Cohoes at W1-Schuylerville - Friday, 7PM

Both games at Stillwater Central School
4-Corinth vs. 1-Hoosick Falls - Saturday, 1PM
3-Voorheesville vs. 2-Fonda - Saturday, 7PM

Both games at Schuylerville Jr/Sr High School
3-Rensselaer vs. 2-Cambridge - Saturday, 1PM
4-Canajoharie vs. 1-Whitehall - Saturday, 7PM

Monday, October 27, 2014

Thoughts From The Press Box: One upset C-A fan at Corinth gets me thinking about the latest trend

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CORINTH - The chess match that is the opening coin toss.

After listening to countless Buffalo Bills games, I question deferring to the third quarter.  Especially if a team has the ability to burn you on the opening drive.

On in the case of Corinth's 27-0 win over Coxsackie-Athens, the opening kick, which was returned in for a touchdown by Alex Jenkins.


I know there's a rhyme and reason for it.  Sometime teams want to show faith in their defense.  Sometimes teams, especially on a rough weather day, want to control what end of the field they defend.

But I digress.  As you can see by the title of the blog, this isn't about the coin toss.

This is about a fan who was on the Coxsackie-Athens side watching the game.  This fan made his presence known through the game, both to the fans and players at Kim Miller Memorial Field, but also those listening in on the radio broadcast, as his barking statements definitely got picked up by the microphones.

After Corinth scored the opening kickoff touchdown, the fan started screaming.  As the game progressed, his barking of support progressed.  Most of it was positive support - along the lines of "0-0, you still got this." and "We need a stop now."  However, he would become more vocal in the fourth quarter.

Midway through the fourth quarter, this fan got agitated after the Indians got flagged for a personal foul face mask penalty, costing the Indians 15 yards, and led to Alex Jenkins' second touchdown of the game to extend the Tomahawks lead to 27-0.

"We better dispute this game," he barked after the penalty was called by the official.  "Our AD will have our back.  This will get overturned."

For much of the remainder of the game, he was silent, but what he gets blogged for would come after the final whistle.  As the referees were making their way off the field, he would begin yelling at them for that call, making it difficult for the refs to leave the field in peace.  Then a skirmish nearly broke out on that end of the field, prompting head coach JP Huslander to stop the handshake line and scream at his sideline "Hey, show some class!"

I'm not sure if this fan was involved in the scrum, but wouldn't be surprised.

This isn't how Coxsackie-Athens needs to be remembered.  The school, 70 miles away from Corinth, had tremendous support from students, fans and family who made the drive up from the community on the banks of the Hudson River in Northern Greene County, about 30 miles south of Albany.  The players never gave cheap shots or tried to play unfair, and the coaching staff was helpful.  The majority of the fans continued cheering their players, never booing once when the call didn't go their way.

This behavior and mentality needs to stop.  This didn't result in anything -- no charges, no actual punches -- and my writing of this is the only press about what transpired after the clock read 0:00.  Both Brett Hudson of the Post-Star and Jeff Scott of the Saratogian notes nothing about it.  And that's good.  Because behavior like this doesn't need to be rewarded with a lot of discussion about it.

Why I am discussing this is because this has became a painful trend in high school sports in the last two weeks.  Most everybody reading this already knows of the mess that occurred in Whitehall on October 18th, with the melee between Whitehall and Rensselaer costing Justin Culligan his job as the Railroaders head coach, and Christian Poczobut having to sit out on Saturday against Holy Trinity.

That's one of four altercations reported here in Section 2 in the last two weeks.  All four, involving players, not fans.

The Amsterdam/Bishop Maginn game on Friday, October 17th was soiled as the teams came together for an altercation that saw players ejected and ineligible for the quarterfinals this past weekend.  In girls soccer, Queensbury and Scotia had a couple players getting a little annoyed with each other during the Foothills Council Championship at Schuylerville the following day.  And the latest incident coming from boys soccer, where a St. Johnsville player punched a Maple Hill player in the face, requiring stitches and resulting in a court appearance date for that St. Johnsville player.  That game was called in the closing seconds.

This needs to stop.

Whether it means the referees calling a tighter game and calling some penalties that would up until two weeks ago be no-calls, or players getting benched longer than one match for excessively bad behavior, something needs to be done to get the focus back on the sport itself, and less about the extracurricular activities that are going on between whistles.

Getting back to the fan who initially started this discussion ... that personal foul flag did not give Corinth the game.  In fact, because Coxsackie-Athens was unable to exploit Corinth's many holding penalties, this game was pretty much in hand for the Tomahawks by the time this incident occured.

I want to finish off by crediting JP Huslander and the 2014 Coxsackie-Athens Indians on a great season.  This is only the fifth winning season the team has seen in around 20 years.  And the first playoff game the Indians have played since 2006.

With quality returning players, we could be talking about the Indians again next year.  But hopefully, by then, this fan will have wised up and will control himself better at one of their games.

Thoughts from the Press Box are the thoughts and opinions of the writer, and is not reflective of the station's management, sponsors or other hosts.

From the Board: Buffalo Bills Observations - Week 8

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The Buffalo Bills beat the New York .... wait.  That doesn't sound right.

The New York Jets beat the New York Jets 43-23 ... wait.  That's not right either.

I got it.

The New York Jets offense beat the New York Jets defense 43-23 on Sunday.

The Jets offense, one field goal away from a marquee win against the New England Patriots in Week 7, floundered early as Geno Smith looked awful.

Three first quarter interceptions.  Geno Smith completed more passes to Buffalo defensive backs than he did his own receivers.

And with that, his day was done.

Michael Vick came in and marched his team down the field beautifully, cutting the deficit in half.  But had the Buffalo offense been clicking better, that score would be higher.

Having players take horrible penalties, like that taunting penalty on one Smith's picks, resulted in the Bills putting nothing on the board on the first two of Geno Smith's interceptions.

The Jets turned the ball over six times, and had a seventh overturned.  The Bills, had their offense played a stronger role, could have made this game the third to have a team score greater than 50 points.  And there were moments of greatness, including both Sammy Watkins catches down field -- even if the first ended in a bonehead play that saw him celebrate prematurely.

But at least that play led to a touchdown, unlike some of the premature celebrations that resulted in the ball going the opposite direction.

As the Bills make their way into the bye week, the offense will need some work.  Much of this is adapting to two different players in the backfield, and evolving the playbook to their strengths.  And that will take time, perhaps seeing some signs of light when the Bills retake the field at the Ralph on November 9th against the Kansas City Chiefs.

At 5-3, the Bills find themselves back in the hunt for a wild card spot, a better position to be in than if they were 4-4.  And the Bills are lucky to be 5-3.  Let's be real -- overtime win against Chicago, last-second field goal at Detroit, and last week's miracle drive capping in the touchdown throw to Sammy Watkins.  Three games that could easily have gone the other way, leaving the Bills at 2-6 and searching for answers.

Instead, they're in the hunt.

And this is one of the funniest Vines you'll see from yesterday's game.

We'll meet you back here again in two weeks after the Bills play the Chiefs. Until then, enjoy the full six hours of FOX Sports Radio Blitz next Sunday at 1PM.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Queensbury Pounds (and Passes) their way to Semifinals

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QUEENSBURY - It wasn't as easy as their 20th straight win last Friday, but the Queensbury Spartans extended their win streak with their 35-6 win over the Averill Park Warriors in the first round of the Class A Sectional Quarterfinals.

The win improved the Spartans to 8-0, and gives them the right to host Scotia next Saturday in the Sectional Semifinals.

Tyrell Adams scored a pair of touchdowns, with the first coming with over three minutes left, set up by a Chris Goudy 74 yard run to the one yard line, to give the Spartans an 8-0 lead.  He would extend the lead to 16-0 with a 46 yard touchdown run in the second quarter.

Averill Park was able to take the ensuing drive in for a touchdown when Garrett Ryan scored on a 59 yard run.

Queensbury's last drive of the first half resulted in a touchdown when Drew Wilson connected with Brandon Kauffman on a 32 yard pass to give the Spartans a 22-6 lead.

Only two plays were needed in the third quarter when Chris Goudy was able to score from 12 yards out to pad Queensbury's lead to 28-6.  Averill Park then marched down the field, but watched as a nearly ten minute drive came up empty as Brandon Cellucci's pitch to Isaiah Moak was fumbled, recovered by the Spartans.

The Spartans helped Averill Park extend that drive with three penalties -- a pass interference, a face mask and encroachment -- all three times on third or fourth down and all resulting in a fresh set of downs for the Warriors.  The fumble ended that drive, and the Spartans converted the turnover into points when Erik Wettersten carried the ball in from 18 yards out to cap the scoring.

Queensbury won without the services of Brett Rodriguez, who was sidelined early with a shoulder injury that saw him leave the field in the first quarter to the bench, and to the locker room before the half.  He was seen leaving in a sling, and was back out on the field to celebrate Queensbury's win in the fourth quarter in that same sling.  Rodriguez could be out for next week's game against Scotia.

They also won despite getting flagged on both offense and defense.  James Kassebaum got nailed with a pair of infractions, including a pass interference call.  So, too, did Tyrell Adams, on offense as he tried to push off to create separation with his defender with Drew Wilson passing.  Erik Wettersten had a huge 60 yard touchdown run called back in the third quarter because of a hold.

Averill Park had their fair share of infractions, but seemed to suffer most when their quarterback, Tim Vermilya, left the game in the third quarter and never returned, speculated to have left in an ambulance.

Tomahawks Return to Sectional Semifinals

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CORINTH - The Coxsackie-Athens Indians won the coin toss, and deferred.

They quickly regretted that decision as Alex Jenkins returned the kickoff 85 yards for the touchdown, giving the Tomahawks a lead they would never surrender, beating the Indians 27-0 at Kim Miller Memorial Field.

The Tomahawks (5-3) now will travel to Stillwater where they will face the Hoosick Falls Panthers in the Class C Sectional Semifinals next week.

Coxsackie-Athens (5-3) fumbled their opening drive, and had two other turnovers, as the Indians couldn't get anything going deep in Corinth territory.  The passing game that Zach Girvin has used to get the Indians to the playoffs wasn't a factor, as several passes got dropped by receivers in the cold late October air.

Girvin finished 5-for-18 for 28 yards, throwing an interception on a fourth down play.

Chantz Baudoux's passing game fared the same results for the Tomahawks, with several pass attempts getting dropped in the cold air, as Baudoux went 3-for-8 for 99 yards, boosted by a 68 yard connection to Kory Bennett in the fourth quarter that led to a touchdown.

That led to both teams needing the run game to excel.  Corinth picked up over 150 yards on the ground game, led by Alex Jenkins and Tyler McCarty.  They both had over 50 yards a piece, and was complimented by Baudoux's 36 yards that included a touchdown run in the first quarter.

Corinth could of had more yards on the ground, but saw about 70 total yards called back due to holding penalties during the course of the game.

Coxsackie-Athens was only able to pick up 100 yards on the ground.

After the game, one Coxsackie-Athens fan got irate at the referees and had to be restrained while the two teams were shaking hands at midfield.  In fact, the yelling at the refs was so bad, it prompted Indians coach JP Huslander to yell "Have some class!" towards the sideline.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Sectional Quarterfinals: Scoreboard

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L4-Colonie 7, E1-Shenendehowa 56
E3-Saratoga 13, L2-LaSalle 41
L2-LaSalle at E1-Shenendehowa - Fri 10/31 7P

L3-Bethlehem 14, E2-CBA 49
E4-Ballston Spa 14, L1-Shaker 41
E2-CBA at L1-Shaker - Fri 10/31 7P

NW3-Scotia 14, SE2-Bishop Maginn 12SE3-Troy 14, NW2-Burnt Hills 42
NW4-Gloversville 30, SE1-Amsterdam 52
NW2-Burnt Hills at SE1-Amsterdam - Fri 10/31 7P

Saturday Game:
SE4-Averill Park 6, NW1-Queensbury 35
NW3-Scotia at NW1-Queensbury - Sat 11/1 1:30P

W4-Johnstown 14, R1-Schalmont 68
R3-Ravena 15, W2-Broadalbin-Perth 36
W2-Broadalbin-Perth at R1-Schalmont - Fri 10/31 7P

R4-Albany Academy 0, W1-Schuylerville 33
R2-Cohoes at W1-Schuylerville - Fri 10/31 7P

Saturday Game:
W3-Glens Falls 42, R2-Cohoes 56

8-Chatham 0, 1-Hoosick Falls 42
5-Coxsackie-Athens 0, 4-Corinth 27
4-Corinth vs. 1-Hoosick Falls - Sat 11/1 7P at Stillwater

Saturday Games:
6-Mechanicville 16, 3-Voorheesville 42
7-Greenwich 20, 2-Fonda 27
3-Voorheesville vs. 2-Fonda - Sat 11/1 1P at Stillwater

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Thoughts From The Press Box: A Special Thought about the Whitehall Issue

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I sat here this morning, wondering what exactly I would write about here.

Would I talk about the Queensbury/Burnt Hills game, where Queensbury dominated and suffocated Burnt Hills into their first shutout since 2004?

Or would I talk about the other game we covered, where Warrensburg took advantage early and won their first over the Fort Edward Flying Forts. (A recap of that game still to come)

Nah.  Blog entries for both of those games are still to come.

I want to talk briefly about the mess up in Whitehall, where athletes came together and participated in extracurricular activities during their game with the Rensselaer Rams, forcing the officials to call the game short in the third quarter, with Whitehall leading 28-6.

After the game, there are accusations of racial name-calling and choking.  An assistant coach was ejected, and therefore will not be allowed to participate next week for Rensselaer.  And Christian Poczobut was ejected for Whitehall, making him ineligible for this Friday's game against Holy Trinity.

In addition, the Board of Education stripped head coach Justin Culligan of his job.

It should have never come to this.

Through my few times in contact with him for pregame interviews for our high school football broadcasts, Justin Culligan was a helpful man who would bend over backwards to get us the interview.  And the interviews always were very professional.  When he talked about the opposition, he never had a bad thought about them, or their coach.

That's why it's very shocking to me that all this has gone down.  And because of all this activity, Whitehall loses the most out of this.  Not Rensselaer, who is mostly quiet in the aftermath, but Whitehall.  Rensselaer is going to move onto the next opponent without any disruption to their daily routiene.  But Whitehall will have this distraction as they prepare for Holy Trinity.  The kids will have this weighing on their mind.  And their 100th season is now marred because of this fight.  Unless the postseason run turns out with a trophy the last weekend of November, more are going to remember this season for the melee over the 6-1 record that includes their first win over Cambridge since 1989.

And the team loses out on getting to play an old rival.  The C-D crossover week in Week 8 led to some speculation that Whitehall could renew their rivlary with Granville, an opponent whom the Railroaders have a history with, but saw that rivalry extinguish when Section 2 went to classification play in 2004.

I'm not finger pointing here.  I wasn't at Whitehall when this all went down.  I didn't get to see what the onlookers got to see.  But it seems to me like some of the reason why the game went sour was because the referees kept the laundry in their pocket, finally pulling it out when it was too late.  The referees seemed to lose control of the game, with a sign of this coming during the first incident in the second quarter.  The referees only ejected one, the Rensselaer assistant coach, leaving the players unaffected and allowed to still participate.

Then all hell broke loose in the third quarter, leading to the game being called.

You have to wonder if the refs made it known that this activity would not be allowed, and started sending kids to the showers instead of the sidelines, would this have happened?

It could have sent a message.

And maybe people would be talking about the 6-1 Railroaders instead.