Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 in Review: Greatest Sports Moments heard on WMML

It's been a big year for us here at FOX Sports Radio 1230.  From a programming standpoint, we added New York Mets baseball, Buffalo Bills football, IndyCar racing and started producing our own High School Sports broadcasts.  And with new programming coming in 2013, it should continue to be a growing year for FOX Sports Radio 1230. 

These ventures have produced memorable moments that should be remembered long after the ball drops to usher in 2013.  Here's our favorites.

Takuma Sato crashes in the final lap, Dario Franchitti wins the Indy 500.

In a wild Indianapolis 500, Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti battled for first positioning in the final 5 laps, with Franchitti winning the battle.  Takuma Sato moved up to be 2nd.  Wanting the win in the final lap, Sato tried to be aggressive, taking an inside path, but lost control and spun out, forcing a yellow which allowed Franchitti to cruise to the finish, with teammate Scott Dixon retaking 2nd on the crash.

Sam Sax layup with 2.2 seconds left to go

In a game dominated with runs, the Glens Falls Indians found themselves with the basketball with 20 seconds left on the clock in a tie game.  After a timeout, the Indians made good work of their sideline discussion as Cam Girard started driving the lane, but then dished the ball to a wide-open Sam Sax who layed it in with 2.2 seconds left to go to beat the Queensbury Spartans 56-54 in the opener of the Foothills Council.

Warrensburg wins the game with 30 seconds left

The Warrensburg Burghers found themselves trailing throughout the game, but would take the lead when it mattered the most.  After watching a punt get blocked and returned for a touchdown, and then seeing Issac Isom run on by for a touchdown, the Burghers were looking for a last moment miracle, and it came with just under 30 seconds left.  The Burghers ran the ball in for the touchdown, and then converted a 2 point conversion to bring them a 14-13 win over the Salem Generals.

Adam Greenberg gets an official at-bat.

On July 7th, 2005, Adam Greenberg was up to bat in his first major-league plate appearance for the Chicago Cubs, facing Florida Marlins pitcher Valerio de los Santos.  He was beaned in the back of his head on the very first pitch, resulting in a mild concussion that took him out of the game, never recording an official at-bat.  The Miami Marlins signed Greenberg to a one-day contract, and in the 6th inning on October 2nd, he made an appearance against the New York Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey.  Greenberg struck-out on three pitches, but gained a loud round of applause from the Miami fans both before and after his now official Major League at-bat.  Greenberg has since signed a minor-league contract with the Baltimore Orioles.

Johan Santana does what no other Met has done before

Tom Seaver came close, on two occasions.  The drought had lasted long enough that Howie Rose had counted every game where the New York Mets failed to achieve this award.  Who knew that it would be a Friday night, the first of June, game #8020 in the regular-season history of the Mets, that this achievement would finally come.  Johan Santana kept the St. Louis Cardinals at bay, with a little help from the officials.  Carlos Beltran hit a pitch that appeared to hit the chalk, but was ruled foul by the umpire.  The no-hit continued, and the Mets would go on to win 8-0. 

Glens Falls makes it to the Dome.

The Glens Falls Indians had not claimed the Section II title since 1993, and despite dropping from Class A to Class B, it appeared that it would be a tough task for them to accomplish this year after their first week loss to Schalmont.  But the Indians bounced back from the loss, and made it to the sectionals as the #2 seed in the West Division.  After easy victories against Albany Academy and Schuylerville, the Indians were faced with a rematch against Schalmont in the Class B Super Bowl.  Being called underdogs, the Indians stuck with Schalmont, and a big play from Cam Girard to Mike LaNoir carried the Indians to victory and a berth to the state regionals.  Peru was the next victim of the Indians, earning them a trip to Dietz Stadium to face the Marlboro Dukes.  Long plays were the Indians' best friend in the semifinals, earning them their first ever trip to the state championship at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse.  But the Indians run would end as runner-up, as the size and strength of the Maine-Endwell Spartans proved to be too tough for the Indians. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

High School Playoff Recap/Preview

37 teams entered play on Friday with a chance to make it to the Super Bowl for their respective class.  By the end of Saturday, only 20 of those 37 remained with hopes of making it to Syracuse for the championships Thanksgiving Weekend.

With a season as short as there is in Section II Football, every game does matter.  But none matter more than the games we find in week 8 and beyond.

CLASS AA: Week 5 rematch on the horizon?

In Class AA, the big debate over the past few weeks have been about Shenendehowa, who potentially could be playing at home against Shaker in the Class AA Super Bowl in week 10.  To some, it would be giving Shenendehowa what they feel is an unfair advantage being the hosts and thus the home team.  In Week 5, the Blue Bisons beat the Plainsmen 35-8 at Shaker High to propel themselves to the top of Class AA.

But before the Blue Bisons can make plans to be at Shenendehowa, they need to make it past the Schenectady Patriots (Friday, 7PM at Shaker High).  The Pats narrowly squeezed past CBA on Saturday night, winning 28-27.  The Pats gave the Blue Bisons a run back in Week 4, using two touchdown passes to lead 14-0 in the 1st quarter before the Blue Bisons used the run and the air to combine for three touchdowns to come back for the 21-14 lead. 

And Shenendehowa will have to make their way past Columbia (Friday, 7PM at Shenendehowa).  Columbia made easy work of Guilderland last week, winning 30-10.

Debaters can continue worrying about changes of venues bringing different results until the proverbial cliché cows come home, but if a team is good enough to make it to the finals, they should be able to win both at home and on the road, regardless of who that road opponent may be.

Can anyone bring down Burnt Hills?

In week #1, the Burnt Hills Spartans were questioned when they led off the season with a 17-7 loss to Troy.  Since then, the Spartans have rattled off convincing win after convincing win, keeping their opponents to less than 10 points in all but two of their last 7 games.  One of those two games came against the Queensbury Spartans, but while the Q-Spartans scored 14, the B-Spartans put 49 up on the board back in week 4.

These two teams will meet again in the Class A Semifinals (Friday, 7PM at Burnt Hills).  The Q-Spartans have bounced back from their early losses with 4 straight wins, including a shutout win against the Albany Academy Cadets, and a convincing ground-pound win over the Scotia Tartans in the Quarterfinals on Saturday where the Spartans outgained the Tartans 217-16 in rushing yards, and 79-33 via the air.  Phillip Wettersten rushed for 78 yards and Alston Moses contributed with 66 yards. 

This round of the Spartans vs. Spartans could prove to be interesting, and is a true test to whether or not the Q-Spartans have bounced back from their first four weeks of play where they fell to Shaker, Amsterdam and Burnt Hills.

Meanwhile, in the other bracket, the Troy Flying Horses will have their hands full with the Amsterdam Rugged Rams (Friday, 7PM at Troy).  When we saw them a couple weeks ago against the South Glens Falls Bulldogs, Geo Rodriguez, Brett Stanavich and Hector Diaz all looked good.  And Rodriguez looked even better when the Rugged Rams got revenge for their Week 1 loss when they beat Averill Park in the first round of the Class A playoffs last week 58-14.  He was 6 for 9, throwing 125 yards for two scores, ran in the ball once for a score himself, and was a contributor on an Averill Park fumble that was returned for a touchdown.

Troy made it past Gloversville in the first round, thanks to Pat Chamberlain’s 158 yards on 6 carries and four touchdowns.  Maurice Jones helped out with a 75 yard kickoff return for a touchdown, and ran in for a touchdown himself. 

CLASS B: Knighted

The big news came Friday night when the Schuylerville Black Horses rolled into Lansingburgh and showed that they were not intimidated by their #1 seed.   After Danny Waldron’s 4 yard touchdown run put the Black Horses ahead 14-0, the Black Horses were feeling really good about their chances.  But the Lansingburgh Knights weren’t going down without a fight, and thanks to a few key Schuylerville turnovers, they came back to take a 19-13 lead in the 4th Quarter thanks to an Anthony Walker run.  But then Danny Waldron came back with a touchdown to put the Black Horses up 20-19 with 3:07 left to play.  Shane Lyons sealed the victory for the Black Horses when he picked off a pass with 11 seconds left to bring about the first loss of the season for the Lansingburgh Knights.

With Schyulerville’s win on Friday night, the winner of the Albany Academy/Glens Falls matchup on Saturday would gain the right to host Schyulerville in the semifinals.  The Indians showed their running legs early, when Cam Girard ran in to score twice.  Both scores came thanks to big runs by running backs Joe McMahon and Mike LaNoir.  Mike LaNoir showed off his arm with a nice pass play to Jake Dailey on a 2 point conversion, and the Indians went into the halftime break up 16-0.  Before the storm clouds fully made its way to Putt LaMay Memorial Field, Cam Girard ran in for his third touchdown of the game to put the Indians up 22-0.

The Indians returned to the field after a 45 minute thunderstorm delay with more ground and pound offense, as Mike LaNoir came in to score his lone touchdown of the game.  He finished the game with 96 yards, and Joe McMahon added another 150+ yards as the Indians rolled past Albany Academy 36-0 to set up a week 2 rematch against Schuylerville (Saturday, 1:30PM at Glens Falls). 

In Week 2, The Glens Falls Indians defeated the Schyulerville Black Horses 34-15 thanks to three touchdowns from Cam Girard and a pair of interceptions.  The Black Horses are not a team to take lightly, pushing Schalmont to the brink with their 27-24 loss in Week 3.  And coming off a huge upset in the first round, the Black Horses could really be the dark horse of the Class B tournament.

CLASS C: Can Hoo-Falls be stopped?

The Hoosick Falls Panthers have been unstoppable this season, rattling off mesmerizing wins.  The Panthers have surrendered 15 points or less in all 8 games this season, with the most coming against Voorheesville in the first round of the Class C playoffs this past Saturday, when the Panthers won 69-14.  The Panthers have put together 4 shutouts, all in which they scored 40 or more points.

If there is to be a challenge from any team in Section II, it may very well be coming from Chatham in the south.  Like Hoo-Falls, they come into the semifinals sporting an 8-0 record.  Only one team has scored more than 14 points against the C-Panthers, and that was Lyons, a team playing from Section V out near the Finger Lakes region in a game to make up for Cairo-Durham cancelling their season.

First, the Hoo-Falls Panthers need to get past Fonda-Fultonville, a team that shut out Tamarac in the first round last week.  And Chatham will have to get past Mechanicville, a team that will be playing only 10 miles away at Stillwater and will have the crowd advantage because of the proximity. 

CLASS D: Can the North beat the South?  Did Cambridge show vulnerability?

The first round of the Class D playoffs begin this Saturday at Schyulerville High as the Whitehall Railroaders take on the Rensselaer Rams (Saturday, 1PM at Schuylerville).  The Railroaders lost to the Rams back in Week 1 by a score of 21-12, in a game where Justin Hoagland gave the Railroaders some life near the end with a 98 yard interception return to narrow the gap to 9.  Since that game, Josh Hoagland has run his way into the top 5 of Section II for scoring, rushing and rushing touchdowns.  A strong Josh/Justin Hoagland combo could make things interesting for this semifinal.

In the other semifinal, the Cambridge Indians come into play after beating Rensselaer for the #1 seed in a game where they came out to a 27-0 lead, but then allowed three straight unanswered scores where the Rams made things interesting for the closing minutes.  The Indians were pushed to the end before, when they needed overtime to beat the Greenwich Witches back in Week 6

This will be the first meeting of the season between the Salem Generals and the Cambridge Indians (Saturday, 7PM at Schuylerville).  In this battle of Route 22, the Generals will have some offensive weapons, but might have difficulty stopping the weapons that the Indians have put on the field through win after win.  Matt Parmenter, Len Darcy and Ethan English will be the players to watch for Cambridge, who will have to contain Issac Isom and Tyler Morris, and stop Ryan Braymer as the signal caller.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

High School Football - Week 3 in review

It was another busy week in Section II football, as teams try to recover from early-season miscues to put them in better position to make the playoffs in late October.  But these first three weeks may just be appetizers for the entreés still to come.

Here's FOX Sports Radio 1230's cruise around Section II football.

In week one, Shenedehowa emerged as one of the toughest teams in the class with an easy win against Albany High.  However, many threw that win aside because it was against a team that has lost 30+ games in a row.

Those critics have been silenced after their week 3 57-0 victory against Bethlehem.  Through 3 games, Shen has outscored their opponents 149-6.  Their 5th week game against undefeated Shaker (3-0, 2-0), although it won't be a conference showdown, could foreshadow the Section II Class AA playoffs down the road.

Speaking of Shaker, they went into Columbia and took down the undefeated squad 47-12.  Ryan Griffin padded his stats with 4 rushing touchdowns, and Chris Landers launched for two passing touchdowns.

This Week's Game to Watch: CBA (3-0, 3-0) @ Saratoga Springs (2-1, 2-0) - Both CBA and Saratoga Springs are undefeated (Saratoga Springs' week 1 loss was to inter-conference rival Niskayuna) in divisional play.  The winner of this game will have a stronger hold on the division leading to Week 6 (Saratoga Springs) and Week 7 (CBA) showdowns against Shenendahowa.

Saratoga Springs have had close games against Bethlehem and Albany, but what matters most is that they emerged victorious.  Jake Eglintine had an impressive game against Albany, with 4 TDs (two pass, two rush) and intercepted his Albany counterpart too.  Dakota Harvey will also be a player to watch, returning a 79 yard kickoff return for a TD last week and also rushing one in as well.  If there's something the Blue Streaks need to work on this week, it's their defense.  Albany outgained the Blue Streaks 385-279, yet turned the ball over 4 times.  They might not get lucky when a stronger set of hands team comes to town. 

The Brothers have a variety of weapons, but Connor Crotty and Spencer Hall will be two to watch.  Crotty had a rushing and a receiving touchdown last week against LaSalle.  The Brothers also do a good job getting to the QB, as illustrated in their game against Albany where they had 6 sacks.  

Notable stat: The Brothers have scored 55 of their 121 points this season in the 2nd Quarter.  They have only scored 7 points in the 4th Quarter.

If anyone was hoping that their week 1 loss to Averil Park was going to slow down the Amsterdam Rugged Rams (1-0, 2-1), think again.  In the first divisional showdown for both teams, Amsterdam emerged victorious against the Queensbury Spartans  (0-1, 1-2) on Saturday.  In what was an epic battle between both teams that has been recapped by the press as "the way football was meant to be", the Spartans kept clawing back into the game before Brett Stanavich broke through with a 57 yard touchdown run that sealed the game with 2:41 left.  He rushed for 187 yards on 12 carries (15.5 ypc) and scored 3 touchdowns, and will be one to watch when we get to see him on October 13th at South Glens Falls.  

The Spartans have another tough game coming up when they travel to Burnt Hills on Friday.  Kody Bruno has become a player of note for the Spartans, scoring 3 of the 4 touchdowns against the Rugged Rams.  Tim Voorhis scored the other rushing touchdown, which at that time was a go-ahead touchdown to put them up 26-21.

Speaking of Burnt Hills (1-0, 2-1), they have bounced back from their week 1 loss to Troy with shutouts against Class B powerhouse Schalmont and South Glens Falls.  The southern Spartans have Dan Porter, who scored on a 65 yard touchdown on his way to 100 yards on only 3 carries against the Bulldogs.  And although the Spartans completed passes only three times, two of them led to touchdowns.  

This Week's Game to Watch: Gloversville (0-0, 1-2) @ Amsterdam (1-0, 2-1) - Although Gloversville has a 1-2 record, their loss to Class AA Niskayuna could be more inspirational as they face off against the Rugged Rams, especially since they were down at the half 27-0.  Mike Murray helped Gloversville with catching a 29 yard pass from Asa Barnhill.  

Broadalbin-Perth kept its record perfect with a 35-12 win over the Hudson Falls TigersGabe Mendez scored three touchdowns through the air, going to targets Anthony Visco, Luigi Magliocca and Andre TaylorTim Gordon added to his touchdown totals with a 13 yard run in the 2nd quarter.  For the Tigers, Curtis Boddie, the name I couldn't remember last week twice on-air, made sure that I remember who he was after scoring two late game touchdowns to put the Tigers on the board. 

Meanwhile, an epic showdown occurred down in Schenectady as Schuylerville and Schalmont clashed.  Devon Willis opened the scoring for Schalmont.  While Danny Waldron answered back with a run of his own, the extra point went wide.  Everytime Schalmont scored, Schuylerville would answer back with a score of their own.  But there was a difference: Schalmont converted three of their extra point tries, whereas Schuylerville did not convert any extra points, and that would prove to be the difference as Schalmont bounced back from their shutout loss to Burnt Hills in week 2 with a 27-24 win.

Cam Girard helped the Glens Falls Indians take care of the Cobleskill-Richmondville Bulldogs (1-2, 1-2) 55-21.  Mike Lanoir was the recipient of three of Girard's four touchdown passes.  Joe McMahon rushed for a 64 yard touchdown in the 3rd Quarter.  Seth Billington ran in for all three of the Bulldogs touchdowns.

Meanwhile the Reinfurt division is becoming a battle of three teams as Albany Academy defeated Hudson 49-6, Ravena dismantled Ichabod Crane 41-6 and Lansingburgh beat Cohoes 35-7, all to stay unbeaten this year.

This Week's Game(s) to Watch: (TIE) Broadalbin-Perth (2-0, 3-0) @ Schalmont (2-0, 2-1) - The real test for Broadalbin-Perth begins now with back-to-back-to-back divisional showdowns.  Schalmont cannot be taken lightly, as a weak defensive line will allow Devon Willis to eat up yards.  Nick Gallo is also a player to watch for Schalmont, scoring 3 touchdowns through three games. Broadalbin-Perth's first three wins have come against Class C Stillwater, Johnstown and Hudson Falls.  With two home games against Glens Falls and Schuylerville after this, a win will give them much-needed momentum.  A loss will give Schalmont a strong hold on the division as they finish the season on the road at Cobleskill-Richmondville, Johnstown and Hudson Falls.  Whomever wins leads the West.

Albany Academy (3-0, 3-0) @ Ravena (3-0, 3-0) - In the Reinfurt, at least one of the three undefeated teams in the division will go down when these two top teams meet up on Friday night.  Darrien White and Ian Bennett both had two touchdowns each in Albany Academy's 49-6 win over HudsonDylan Keyer scored two touchdowns for Ravena in their win over Ichabod Crane last week.  The run game has proved to be good for the Indians as they rushed for 285 yards, while holding Ichabod Crane to only 33.  Ravena could use a win here, as they have Class A Amsterdam and fellow undefeated Lansingburgh after this.  

Hoosick Falls has scored 44 points per game through their first three games.  On Friday, they beat Taconic Hills 47-8. Brad Burns ran for 155 yards and 3 touchdowns for the Panthers.  He has 6 touchdowns so far this season.  The defense have been strong, too, recording 4 picks last week and holding Taconic Hills to only 40 yards on the ground.  

And congratulations to Coxsackie-Athens, who recorded a win for the first time in two years.  Just a shame that they couldn't have done it in front of their friends, family and alumni, as they played South Seneca out of Section V in Binghamton. 

A little closer to home, Corinth saw their first loss of the season when they fell to Stillwater 29-13.  Liam Kane was looking very good for Stillwater with 130 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns.  

In Watervliet (2-1, 1-1), Fonda-Fultonville (2-0, 2-0) took a 6-0 lead off a Pat Hart rushing touchdown.  With the history of these two schools, 6-0 is not a safe lead.  But with fumbles and interceptions, and touchdowns waived off due to penalty or out of bounds calls, the game on Saturday quickly turned into a defensive battle.  In the  4th Quarter, Taylor Dockstader launched a ball into the end zone to Jordan Gleason, but it was caught out of bounds.  Then Dockstader launched again, this time to receiver Logan Miller, but his foot hit the line as he was coming down with the pass, and thus was out of bounds by inches.  Fonda-Fultonville won the battle 6-0, with Pat Hart churning up 223 yards on 40 carries.

This Week's Game to Watch: Chatham (2-0, 3-0) @ Fonda-Fultonville (2-0, 2-0) - Chatham has outscored their opponents 144-6 through 3 weeks, with only Coxsackie-Athens getting points on the board against the Panthers.  Jesse Whiteman is a huge reason why, accumulating 7 touchdowns through 3 weeks of play.  He can rush, he can receive and he can defend, all accounting for his touchdowns so far this season.  But he is not the only player Fonda-Fultonville will have to worry about, as 6 different players put points on the board for the Panthers last week.  Defensively, they will cause some trouble for the opposing QB, getting 5 sacks and a pick against Voorheesville last week.  If Fonda-Fultonville's defense is as good as they were last week against the Cannoneers, we could be seeing another game where defense makes the difference between leading the south and being in the traffic jam for 2nd seed.

In the final week of North vs. South before divisonal play begins, the Warrensburg Burghers (0-0, 1-2) took care of the Bishop Gibbons Golden Knights (0-0, 0-3) as heard here on FOX Sports Radio 1230 on Saturday.  Nolan Maltbie got things going early for Warrensburg, scoring 3 rushing touchdowns as the Burghers took an  early 24-0 lead over Bishop Gibbons.

After Kenny Draper put Bishop Gibbons on the board with an impressive 30 yard run in to score, Connor Scott squished any momentum that the Golden Knights got in the 2nd quarter with an 85 yard kickoff return to put the Burghers up 32-6.  After a couple scoreless series for both teams, the Burghers punted the ball into the hands of their hot QB, David Haskell, who avoided a few tackles and got key blocks to run in to score from 65 yards out.  With time running out in the half, Warrensburg took to the air and launched a Marcus Perrone pass into the hands of Shea Irish, who ran in for the touchdown and the 40-12 lead at the half.  

In the 2nd half, it was still all Warrensburg, getting touchdowns from Nick Nedelcu, Joey Schuster and another from Nedelcu with time winding down.  Haskell would run in to score once more in the game for Bishop Gibbons, as the Burghers won 64-18.  

Cause for concern: David Haskell handled many of the carries in the 3rd and 4th quarters when main running back, Jaylen McIntyre went down with an injury.  He would not return, and all hopes with the FOX Sports Radio 1230 crew is that he's okay for their next game against Cambridge (0-0, 3-0).  Morgan Mintzer also went down during the game and was wobbly heading back to the sidelines.  Rumors on the sidelines was that Mintzer had a concussion during the game and like with McIntyre, we are hoping for the best.

As Bishop Gibbons is a short team (25 players on initial roster, only 18 were suited on Saturday), quantity-wise, injuries during this time of the year are going to be more critical than on a team with a larger roster such as Shaker (42 players on their roster).

Warrensburg gets the Salem Generals (0-0, 1-2) next, who had tough road games against Greenwich (0-0, 3-0) and Rensselaer (0-0, 3-0) in the past two weeks.  We'll get our peek at Salem when they play the Flying Forts of Fort Edward (0-0, 2-1) on September 29th (12:45PM on FOX Sports Radio 1230).  After being shut out against high-flying Cambridge (0-0, 3-0) in week 1, the Flying Forts have put together back-to-back shutouts against Bishop Gibbons and Catholic Central (0-0, 0-3) to be the only team in the North with a winning record heading into divisional play.

This Week's Game to Watch: Rensselaer (0-0, 3-0) @ Canajoharie (0-0, 3-0) - With four teams at 3-0 in the South, these next five weeks are going to be critical towards crowning a #1 seed.  With only four teams making it overall, two per division in Class D, this game will go a long ways towards settling the logjam on the top of the standings.  After allowing 20 points to Warrensburg, Canajoharie has only allowed 6 against Lake George and WhitehallRensselaer's games have been closer, but have done so through careful mix of the run and the pass.  Steven Harwood will be a player to watch for Rensselaer, and Kevin Shannon will be a player to watch for Canajoharie.

THIS WEEK ON FOX Sports Radio 1230:
Johnstown Sir Bills (0-2, 0-3) @ Glens Falls Indians (2-1, 2-1) - Saturday, 1:30PM - The Johnstown Sir Bills clamped down defensively to hold Tamarac to only 6 points off an unfortunate turnover.  They will try to mix up their offense to battle the Glens Falls Indians.  On paper, the Indians may be stronger, but you cannot discount the Sir Bills.  Last year the Sir Bills played spoiler against the Hudson Falls Tigers when they got their first win of the season.  As a result, the Tigers had to play Albany Academy, and although they won earlier in the season against them, the second meeting was not as fortunate as Albany Academy went on to lose to Schalmont in the Class B Super Bowl.

A more thorough preview of this game is coming Friday, and be sure to listen Saturday to FOX Sports Radio 1230 for the game.

09/22 - Johnstown Sir Bills @ Glens Falls Indians - 1:15PM

09/29 - Salem Generals @ Fort Edward Flying Forts - 12:45PM
10/05 - Whitehall Railroaders @ Lake George Warriors - 6:45PM FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS

10/13 - Amsterdam Rugged Rams @ South Glens Falls Bulldogs - 1:15PM
10/20 - Playoff Week - Teams TBA
10/27 - Playoff Week - Teams TBA

Monday, September 3, 2012

High School Football - Week 1 in Review

Labor Day weekend ushered in the beginning of a new High School Football season.  Every week, following the slate of High School Football games here in Section II, look here for our thoughts on the games that took place that week.  New weekly recaps will be posted on Sundays or Mondays during the entire season.

This week: Two close games in Class AA, our full recap of the game we did live on the radio, and our thoughts on early contenders for local titles.

CLASS AA: Bethlehem @ Ballston Spa; Columbia @ Schenectady; Shenedehowa @ Albany
Two tough losses to stomach in week 1 occured at both Ballston Spa and Schenectady.  In Ballston Spa, down by 7 with 15 seconds left, they scored a touchdown to put themselves within one and needing the extra point.  Now, remember, in professional football, the PAT is not always a guaranteed point and that holds even more truer in high school football.  This was the case in Ballston Spa, where with 8 seconds left, the PAT was missed, and Bethlehem would go on to win 19-18.

Over in Schenectady, down 32-6 in the 4th Quarter, they would roll off 25 points to get themselves down by 1 to Columbia.  With the opportunity to tie the game on the extra point, Schenectady pulled out the trick playbook and tried to win the game on a fake for 2.  Only Matt Briggs came and stopped it, and Schenectady's comeback rally would come up 1 point short.

How about Shenedehowa.  Granted they were facing an Albany High team that has lost 37 games in a row going into Friday night's battle, but putting up 58 points convincingly throws them into the mix for the Class AA crown.

CLASS AA-A Crossover - Shaker @ Queensbury
The game we broadcasted live on FOX Sports Radio 1230 was a tale of two different stories.  Originally, our focus was Ryan Griffin, a senior on the Shaker Blue Bisons who has dazzled his way to the top of the media's players-to-watch list, and we found out it was good reason on Saturday.

The true story emerged on Tuesday with the unfortunate passing of Jonathan Vasiliou (pronounced VAS-EH-LEO).  For awhile, it was a question to whether or not we would be able to do the game.  But Queensbury wanted us there, and we were happy to be there. 
For the game: Yes, the Spartans went down to Class AA Shaker 48-20, but the final score was little indication of what to expect from the Spartans.  The Spartans were slow out of the gate, whereas the Blue Bisons were quick, scoring on their first drive on the back of Chris Landers, whose arm cracked the Spartans defense with a 28 yard pass to receiver Michael Lewis, and then used his legs to break through the cracks for a 43 yard touchdown run.  He would go on to have 3 touchdowns.

Star running back Ryan Griffin then used his legs to break the Spartans goal-line defense after being set up by a Jackson 23 yard run.  A punt return by the Blue Bisons then made the game 21-0. 

Griffin also served as the team's main kicker, who did mostly a good job pinning the Spartans deep, with the exception of a kickoff that went out-of-bounds, putting the Spartans on the 35 yard line. 

Up 35-0, the Spartans brought energy to the crowd with a long drive that capped with a 8 yard touchdown rush by Junior Philip Wettersten.  The roar of the crowd there would only be beat in the 3rd Quarter.

After going into the half 42-6, coach John Irion said words of wisdom to the players.  Whatever was said worked, as the Spartans came out and took the kickoff down the field for a 7 play drive capped by Evan Myers, running the ball into the end zone on a 25 yard rush.  The crowd really got into it following a Shaker kickoff return fumble when Alston Moses rushed in a 25 yarder himself to close the score to 42-20. 

Shaker would score once more and then run out the clock in the 4th Quarter to win.  Ryan Griffin did not play much if not at all in the 2nd half, allowing himself to rest up for the rest of the challenging Class AA schedule. 

But you have to give credit to the Spartans for coming out in the 2nd half with the back-to-back touchdown drives.  This Spartans team may have some holes, including Nic Ketter, who led the team with rushing yards last year.  But what we learned on Saturday - they've got several runners who could fill the void if their offensive line gives them the room to.

Class A: Averill Park @ Amsterdam, Bishop Maginn @ Gloversville, Troy @ Burnt Hills
One of the biggest upsets in Class A on Friday night was the Amsterdam Rams losing to Averill Park 30-24.  Amsterdam, a strong favorite to win the #1 seed, made things wide open when Mike Hayes ran in for a 4 yard touchdown for Averill Park in the 4th Quarter. 

Gloversville looked strong, beating Bishop Maginn easily 44-20.  Coach Jared Bongo told the Leader Herald that the team brought back "solid skill players with outstanding speed."  They used that speed to good use against Bishop Maginn and could make a strong case for the #1 seed. 

Troy looked weak against Burnt Hills in the 1st half, getting only 37 yards, but turned it on in the 2nd half to snap a 3 game losing streak to Burnt Hills with the 17-7 victory. 

Class B: Glens Falls @ Schalmont, Schuylerville @ Hudson Falls, Johnstown @ Cobleskill-Richmondville
For about 10 minutes, it appeared as if the Indians return to Class B was going to shake up Section II.  They had a 16-6 lead against the defending Section II Class B champions, and were on a roll.  But then Schalmont showed why they are defending champions by rolling off 35 unanswered points to win 41-16.  Devon Willis is a player to watch this season, with 352 total yards in his season debut.  For Glens Falls, things get difficult as they return home to face Schuylerville.

If Shane Lyon's quote to Tim McManus of the Post-Star is any indication to his talent, the Indians may need to watch out.  He said that his game against the Hudson Falls Tigers was no indication to how good he is going to be this season, as he was rusty and will feel smoother as the season progresses.  Lyon scored three touchdowns, two via his arm and one by way of his legs on an option at the 1 yard line.  His arm was indeed rusty, going 3 for 13, but two of those three going in for touchdowns with no interceptions.  The Tigers saw momentum go their way through the Special Teams in the 2nd Quarter with a 91 yard kickoff return by Trevor Strother to tie the game, but it was the very same Special Teams that lost the momentum with a muffed punt on their own 24 yard line in the 3rd Quarter that led to a Black Horses touchdown.

Johnstown's "very family oriented" team couldn't stop Matt Davenport and Mike Green of the Cobleskill-Richmondville Bulldogs, who combined for 5 touchdowns on the way to a 49-21 victory over the Sir Bills.  If the Bulldogs maintain their intensity heading into this Saturday's game against the Tigers (1:30PM, FOX Sports Radio 1230), it will be a tough time for coach Bill Strong and the Hudson Falls defense.

Class C: Mechanicville @ Hoosick Falls, Watervliet @ Tamarac, Granville @ Corinth
If Friday night was any indication, Hoosick Falls will be a very hard team to beat after shutting out Mechanicville 43-0.  Of the other teams that could provide a potential challenge to Hoosick Falls, it would have to be Watervliet, who downed Tamarac 34-14, or perhaps Corinth, who rolled to a 26-19 victory over Granville

Class D: Greenwich @ Lake George, Canajoharie @ Warrensburg, Cambridge @ Fort Edward
A tough start for the Lake George Warriors, who saw their running back, Willy Blunt go down with an injury early in the game.  John Barnes is a player to watch for the Greenwich Witches, running up 157 yards on 10 carries, including 1 touchdown run and a 81 yard touchdown kickoff return. 

Canajoharie dropped down to Class D and was gifted with the long trip to Warrensburgh where they took advantage of 6 turnovers to win 42-20.  Malachi Prosser ran in for two touchdowns as the Warrensburg Burghers accumulated 297 rushing yards.  Shannon ran in for four touchdowns for Canajoharie, running for 192 total yards.

Cambridge took advantage of four Fort Edward turnovers as they shut out the Flying Forts 41-0.  Matt Parmenter brought the ball into the end zone three times as he ran for 114 total yards in the victory. 

In Summary:
Greenwich already looks hot to take the Class D crown.  Cambridge might make things interesting and it should be interesting on October 5th when the two teams get together in Greenwich for the Route 372 matchup.  In Class C, Hoosick Falls would love to repeat again, and there were no signs on Friday night that they will have a hard time doing so. 

In Class B, the Indians had a big chance to show why their drop-down from Class A could provide valuable to them, but it fell apart down in Schalmont.  Both Glens Falls and Hudson Falls could really use a win this Saturday, but both teams face tough matchups in Schuylerville and Cobleskill-Richmondville respectively. 

Queensbury could use the experience of facing Class AA Shaker and the momentum they gained in the 2nd half on Saturday as they travel down to Averil Park near Troy on Friday night.  A win here will throw the Spartans into the mix for the Class A crown, and a loss could put Averil Park as a frontrunner for the title.

In Class AA, Shaker will be exciting to watch with Chris Landers and Ryan Griffin controlling the offense.  But a tough matchup comes up for the Blue Bison with the Colonie Cup up for grabs. 

FOX Sports Radio 1230 High School Schedule:
Times and Dates subject to change

September 8th: Cobleskill-Richmondville @ Hudson Falls - 1:30PM
September 15th: Bishop Gibbons @ Warrensburg - 1:00PM
September 22nd: Johnstown @ Glens Falls - 1:30PM
September 29th: Salem @ Fort Edward - 1:30PM
October 5th: Whitehall @ Lake George - 7:00PM
October 13th: Amsterdam @ South Glens Falls - 1:30PM
October 20th: TO BE ANNOUNCED - Playoff Week
October 27th: TO BE ANNOUNCED - Playoff Week

The Glens Falls Post-Star
The Ledger Herald
The Albany Times Union
Personal Recollection

Friday, August 24, 2012

What has happened to the New York Mets?

On July 13th, following a 4 day All-Star break, the Mets were 1/2 game behind 2nd place Atlanta for the 2nd and final Wild Card spot.  6 games over .500, and now with the opportunity to cement themselves as a playoff-bound team.

It's hard to believe that was the discussion only 42 days ago.  But in a season with many twists and turns, the Mets have fallen off the road map and into the abyss, 1/2 game away from the cellar of the NL East.

How did things get so bad for the Mets?

Batting - Now, don't get us wrong.  The Mets haven't expressed themselves as a strong overall team in the batter's box.  For three months, the core of the Mets offense centered around one man - David Wright.  His hot April and May cooled to a frosty July and August, and no longer is he a feared man to the opposing pitcher.  Before the All-Star Game, Wright was a .351 hitter, but has since batted a .248. Ike Davis not being a consistent strong batter throughout the season hasn't helped, and Jason Bay... well, the less that is said about him is better.

Overall, as a team, their .244 batting average in this second half doesn't help the cause. 

RISP - A strong batting team is able to either produce a big hit that will bring runners on 2nd and 3rd home, or they are able to pull the ball deep enough to bring in the run from 3rd.  The Mets don't have that firepower.  Continuously through out this second half they have had runners on 2nd or 3rd with nobody out and haven't been able to drive the runner home. Think of runners in scoring position without a single out as opportunities, and when you leave them on base, they are genuine wasted opportunities.

KKKKKKKK - There are many games where the Mets have struck out, resulting in 40% or more of their 27 outs.  Those lead to the wasted opportunities mentioned above, when the pitcher records an out without putting the ball in play.  Granted, a good pitcher will be able to get 10+ K's in a game, but when your K's outweigh your H's on a consistent basis, then there's a problem.

Promotions/Demotions - Lucas Duda was a dud for the Mets when he was on the field.  His fielding errors outweighed his occasional Pepsi Porch power.  Demoted, he is doing more for the Buffalo Bisons than he ever did for the Mets.  Omar Quintanilla wasn't a power hitter for the Mets.  He's still not a great hitter for the O's, but in 2 fewer games he has hit three home runs (compared to 1 with the Mets) and is a .365 hitter at Camden Yards.  Maybe it's time for the Mets to consider a trip to the minors for Jason Bay and see if he can't get out of his trainwreck of a season.

And we could make countless references to a bullpen that has allowed the opposing team to blow games open, but we'll save that for another misadventure.

Now coming up next ... have the Mets given up?

Friday, July 13, 2012

Well... So much for that/Tough road for 2nd half

Well…. So much for that.
By FOX Sports Radio 1230

Since the official announcement of NL position player starters on July 1st, New York area sports fans have been irate over the surprise overtaking of David Wright in the All-Star voting.

You may remember last week that we were crying for David Wright to start, lining his credentials over that of Pablo Sandoval of the San Francisco Giants.

Boy, were we ever wrong.

The public, mostly that of San Francisco Giants fans, spoke “wright” in getting their third baseman in over David Wright with his triple that unloaded the bases.  David Wright, however, came up empty with a fielder’s choice and then a strikeout.

It wasn’t the best argument from the Mets third baseman.  But he needs to put that past him because there’s a lot of baseball still to be played, and believe it or not, the Mets are still in the thick of a playoff chase that is even thicker this year thanks to the additional wild card spot.  However, it's a long and winding road for the Mets ahead if they are to get into position to win the Wild Card.

Tough road to start the 2nd half:

Well, the Mets are going to be put to the test fast with four straight series that could define the path of the team in the 2nd half.  First up for the Mets are the Atlanta Braves down at Turner Field.  The Braves are currently holding one of the two wild card spots, a half game up over the Mets.

After that comes a grueling 20 game stretch without a break in which the Mets will play three in Washington against the Nations, three at Citi Field against the Los Angeles Dodgers, who will surely have more firepower than they exhibited at Dodger Stadium with two guys back from the DL, then three more against the Washington Nationals before taking their show out on the west coast for 11 games. 

That’s 26 games that will shape the Mets and will tell us whether or not they are truly contenders for the Wild Card or even the NL East title. 

Let’s just hope the series against Philadelphia and Chicago were not an indication of how things may go.

Next Friday: FOX Sports Radio 1230 welcomes in the longest running thoroughbred meet in the country with a preview of the 2012 Saratoga Race Course meet.

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Wright Stuff: Why Wright lost the "wright" to start All-Star Game

By FOX Sports Radio 1230's Blogger Staff

If only last night's game happened last week.

If only that game took place in front of 42,000 fans last week at Citi Field instead of the Mets being out west in Los Angeles, we could be talking about David Wright starting instead of Pablo Sandoval at 3B in Kansas City on Tuesday.

Thursday night's clutch base hit with 2 outs in the 9th inning was a big reason why David Wright has become one of the talks of New York.  And he deserves it, with his power to get not only the hit when you need one desperately, but also an inning-ending bare-handed grab to throw a baserunner out at 1st. 

So why didn't Wright win the "wright" to start at 3B?  Before we talk about the reasoning, let's talk about Pablo Sandoval. 

Now, don't get me wrong, Pablo Sandoval has become a solid player for the San Francisco Giants, and I'm sure we're going to hear his name more when the Mets visit the Giants at the end of this month.  In the first series between these two teams, he drove in 4 runs in the 4 game series at Citi Field.  But his .315 batting average and 28 RBIs in 48 games pale in comparison to Wright's .354 average and 59 RBIs in 79 games.  And that includes having to deal with a fractured finger that could have rendered Wright unplayable. 

So how did this happen?

Well, let's start by talking about where the two teams were heading into the final week of voting.  Wright and the Mets were heading west, with stops in Chicago and Los Angeles.  Then there's San Francisco, home and hosting inter-divisional rival Los Angeles before hosting Cincinnati.  Being home is easier to rile up the troops and get them to vote.  Playing against rivals who can pack a stadium doesn't hurt, either.

Couple that with a couple dismal performances by the Mets as a team against the league's worst versus a San Francisco team that went on to not only sweep Los Angeles, they shut them out completely.  Sandoval's 3-for-3 with 3RBI's in the opening game of the series helped.

But the biggest blame could simply be: New York sports fans thought they had already won.  At the last tally before votes were to close, Wright had a decent lead, so there was no reason to believe that he would lose out.  So perhaps some otherwise voters laid off the button and San Francisco voters, knowing that they needed a big effort to get Sandoval in, went en masse. 

They succeeded.  New York fans instead lost.  It's not like Wright won't get to play in the All-Star Game in Kansas City, but with the tremendous play he has offered the Mets all season, helping to propel the Mets to many wins, he deserved to be a starter.  Great play needs to be rewarded, and this time, the fans who vote failed to reward Wright.

And maybe next year New York Mets fans will take this lesson into account when voting for who will start at Citi Field.  If not, we may have to relive more sports blogs such as this.