Wednesday, September 25, 2013

High School Sports: Week 3 Recap: What have we learned?

Three weeks down, four to go in the regular season of the High School Football season.

So what have we learned?

We’ve learned that although some things have changed, some things have remained the same.  New faces in new places haven’t brought an end to old success. A lot of the same teams we had our eyes on last year are still in the top spots this year.

Ultimately … what we’ve learned is that this could be another exciting year for Section 2.  More after the jump.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

NFL Week 3: Predictions

Week 3 in the NFL brings good games in the form of the early Houston/Baltimore match that could come into play later this season when seedings are up for grabs.  Miami gets a real test in the Atlanta Falcons, and the Bills/Jets could be a critical game for the Jets early in the season.

Our picks in GREEN, but take them with a grain of salt.  We'll provide a little analysis on these matchups, but just remember strange things can happen in the National Football League, and we're not responsible if you use our picks for betting purposes.

Thursday Sept. 19
Kansas City @ Philadelphia - Kansas City looks good, but don't count out Michael Vick and the Eagles just yet.  This could go either way, but if Kansas City does win, it will be another example of the weakness in the NFC East early on this season.

Sunday Sept. 22
(early games)
Green Bay @ Cincinnati - Green Bay has weapons.  Cincinnati has ... not sure what they have these days.
St. Louis @ Dallas - St. Louis has emerged to be the NFC counterpart of the Kansas City Chiefs, returning to winning ways after a few rough years.

San Diego @ Tennessee - Another game that could go either way.
Cleveland @ Minnesota - Giving away a running back for a NFL Draft pick... not sure if that's going to help the Browns in this game.  Or this season, too.
Tampa Bay @ New England - New England may have its miscues, but I don't see those miscues shining too proudly against a team that has collapsed twice in the closing minutes.

Arizona @ New Orleans - Speaking of one of those collapses, the team that had that scare against Tampa Bay better have used that as a wake-up call.

Detroit @ Washington - RG3 may improve, but not sure if it will be to the level needed to knock off the Lions this week.

NY Giants @ Carolina - NFC East weakness won't overcome a team that got deflated badly in the closing seconds of that Week 2 game against the Bills.

Houston @ Baltimore - Houston can come out of this game as a true AFC threat if they can knock off the Ravens.  But I'm not sure if the Texans will have the answers just yet.

(Late games)
Atlanta @ Miami - Miami may be 2-0, but will be in for a rude awakening when they find themselves face-to-face with strong NFC opposition.

Buffalo @ NY Jets - The Jets may have the home-field advantage, but the Bills are still sparkling after that last second win last week.

Indianapolis @ San Francisco - New running option will give Andrew Luck some better options.  And that can't be a bad thing when facing a team that was badly humiliated on Sunday Night Football

Jacksonville @ Seattle - Jacksonville won't be making a lot of noise against the team that has its crowd make all the noise for them.

(Sun night)
Chicago @ Pittsburgh - As long as the Steelers don't get in their own way, they should have a win on Sunday Night.

Monday Sept. 23
Oakland @ Denver - Denver looks like a team that could get a first-round bye.  Oakland doesn't.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

NFL: Week 2 in Review

Short Recap.  It's Wednesday already and you've seen enough analysis of Week 2.

SURPRISE OF THE WEEK - Kansas City 17, Dallas 16
For years Kansas City was a team that threatened to make playoffs after playoffs.  They hit hard times, but now it appears that Kansas City, a team that last year finished 2-14, is heading in the positive direction.  Especially after beating the Dallas Cowboys 17-16.

The Chiefs are a new team after Andy Reid took control of the helm and Alex Smith came from San Francisco.  But you cannot put a lot of stock in a 2-0 start just yet, especially since one of the two was against Jacksonville and the other was against a division that isn't looking that strong early on.  But the Chiefs have one thing going for them - two more back-to-back games against the NFC East.  And if the NFC East truly isn't a strong division, a 4-0 record will look really sweet heading into that October 6th game against Tennessee.

DISAPPOINTMENT OF THE WEEK - Seattle 29, San Francisco 3
Speaking of Alex Smith, he's got to be smiling after the Seattle Seahawks didn't just beat the 49'ers, they destroyed them.  Granted the critics are talking about how things could be different when the two meet at Candlestick Park, but the truth of the matter is, the 49'ers have some serious problems two weeks in that need to be corrected.

Colin Kaepernick looked uncomfortable during the game against the Seahawks.  It looked like one of his tosses was right at a defender who picked it off.  He went 13-for-28 for 127 yards, threw 3 picks and fumbled once in the loss.

HANG ONTO YOUR HATS - Buffalo 24, Carolina 23
Most of Ralph Wilson Stadium, despite the urge from the Buffalo Bills to "Bill-eve", had to be thinking that it was over when Graham Gano kicked the field goal with 1:38 left to put the Panthers up by 6.  But then EJ Manuel started something special - a two-minute drill that Buffalo hadn't seen in a long time - that would electrify the 60,000+ that were in Orchard Park on Sunday.

It was aided by a pass interference call that gave the Bills a first down at the Carolina 11, then capped with EJ Manuel's touchdown pass to Stevie Johnson for the tying score, with the extra point to win the game. The game-winning drive was well-executed by Manuel, who worked fast to ensure the Bills quickly reset after every play.

For the Bills, winning the game was essential as going 0-2 into their road game against the New York Jets (4:25PM, 1410 CBS Sports Radio, WENU-AM) would be troubling, and with games still to come against the Ravens, the Saints and the Falcons, it would be a troubling hole to climb out of.

Coming Thursday: The FOX Blogger will pick all games coming up in Week 3, and will include some insight on what games to watch out for.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

High School Fooball: Week 2 Recap

Rain impacted a lot of games this week.

But perhaps the biggest game it impacted turned out to be one of the best battles we've seen in Section 2 in some time, eclipsing last year's overtime thriller between Greenwich and Cambridge.  Details on this and several other Section 2 games after the jump.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Watch out for upcoming posts:

Here's five reasons to keep an eye on our 1230 FOX Sports Radio blog this week.

MONDAY: We'll recap the 2nd week of High School Football, as we highlight some of the big games that took place in Section 2 this week, and also take a look as some of the unexpected.  Expect some mentions of Burnt Hills/Troy and Bishop Maginn/Queensbury as well as Glens Falls/Schuylerville

TUESDAY: We'll post the NFL Week 2 Recap, which will draw on some of the big plays  taking place on the gridiron.  I think we'll relive the EJ Manuel game-winning touchdown with two seconds to play.

THURSDAY: NFL Picks.  Haven't done it the first two weeks, but we'll post who we like and a little analysis.  Don't take our picks to a bookie.... otherwise you'll end up with empty pockets.

FRIDAY: We'll post the Week 3 preview for High School Football.  We'll post an in-depth preview of our feature game, Salem at Warrensburg [Saturday, 1PM on 1230 FOX Sports], and also provide any coach interviews we have for the broadcast.

Also during the week we'll post our complete interviews with Queensbury head coach John Irion, Troy head coach Jack Burger and Bishop Maginn coach Joe Grasso.  There was some stuff Coach Grasso talked to us about regarding his long 37-year tenure with the Griffins that we did not get to air due to time constraints, so we'll post them here.

So be sure to keep an eye out for those blogs.  We'll tweet and post a status update on Facebook, so be sure to like our Facebook Page and follow us on Twitter (@WMML1230).

WEEK 2: Buffalo Bills 24, Carolina Panthers 23

Oh wow.

EJ Manuel makes sportswriters across the country rewrite their recaps as he leads the charge for the go-ahead touchdown with 2 seconds left to beat the Carolina Panthers 24-23.

It was a electric comeback that the Buffalo Bills had been missing all season last year, and unexpected how the Bills had been playing leading to the final drive, which elapsed only 96 seconds.

Stevie Johnson was the recipient of the touchdown pass.

Redemption: The come-from-behind touchdown for EJ Manuel was much-needed redemption, having fumbled the ball on a sack and thrown a pick, both in their own territory and setting up two Carolina 4th quarter field goals.

EJ Manuel threw 27-for-39, passing for 296 yards.  His last-second touchdown was his lone of the game.

Defense Discipline: The Buffalo Bills were flagged 7 times for 55 yards. Two of those flags resulted in Carolina first downs in situations where the Panthers would have otherwise been forced to punt.  In fact, the Panthers were punting to the Bills on one of those two flags when a holding call that came before the punt resulted in the automatic first down.  The other flag was the result of a late hit from Aaron Williams, coming on an incomplete pass on third down.

Good Things: Mario Williams had 4 1/2 sacks for the Buffalo Bills, a career high for him.  The most he had sacked before was in 2007, when he picked up 3 1/2 sacks against the Denver Broncos.

Third Down Efficiency: The Carolina Panthers converted seven of their sixteen third downs.  This is an improvement over last week, when the Patriots converted eleven of their twenty.

NEXT UP: The Buffalo Bills travel away from Ralph Wilson Stadium for the first time this year as they head to East Rutherford, New Jersey to face the New York Jets.  The Jets are 1-1 after losing to the Patriots 13-10 on Thursday Night Football.  Although the Jets may have more rest, the Bills may still be riding high after the finish today.  COVERAGE: 2:00PM Pregame (on 1410 CBS Sports Radio); 4:25PM Kickoff.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The NFL: Week 1 in Review

Wild finishes became the theme for Week 1 in the National Football League.  Whether it be a late field goal to seal victory, or an onside kick that almost worked, the final minutes of some of Week 1's games gives us more reasons why you shouldn't look away during those critical moments.

Here's what entertained us the most in Week 1:

New England (1-0) 23, Buffalo (0-1) 21 - To be honest, the Buffalo Bills surprised me during this divisional showdown with the Patriots.  Granted, there were moments when you watched (or listened) and wondered if this was going to turn into another 30 point loss for the Bills against the division's best team, but the Bills hung in there.

The defense wasn't stellar, allowing the Patriots to convert 11 of their 20 3rd down opportunities.  And discipline was an issue, with the Bills being penalized 10 times for 75 yards.  Those are two things Coach Doug Marrone will want to work on as they prepare for the Carolina Panthers.

The Bills were able to hang in the game thanks to the work of EJ Manuel.  Manuel did look a little rusty at first, but calmed down to complete 18 of his 27 passes, throwing for 150 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Fred Jackson added 67 yards on 13 carries.

Tom Brady did not look as sharp as he usually does, going 29 for 52 for 288 yards, throwing for 2 touchdowns and had one interception.  But he was aided by the leg of Stephen Gostkowski, who converted all three field goal tries, including the 35 yard attempt with 5 seconds left on the clock to give the Patriots the victory.

Detroit (1-0) 34, Minnesota (0-1) 24 - Adrian Peterson's two touchdown runs and catch for a touchdown wasn't enough to overcome Christian Ponder's 3 intersections, as the Lions roar to victory in Week 1.

Adrian Peterson took his first touch of the football 78 yards for the opening touchdown for the Minnesota Vikings.  He would finish with 93 yards on 18 carries, which meant he ran an average of less than a yard per carry after that 78 yard touchdown run. Christian Ponder completed 18 of 26 passes, for 236 yards, but those three picks hurt the Vikings.

Reggie Bush ran for 90 yards on 21 carries, and took a pass from Matt Stafford 77 yards for the score in the 3rd Quarter.  Stafford finished the day 28-for-43, 357 yards with two touchdowns and 1 interception.

Kansas City (1-0) 28, Jacksonville (0-1) 2 - All 30 points in this game was scored by the Kansas City Chiefs.  And that's a weird statistic.  But for some reason, I love scores that have a 2 in it.

Dustin Colquitt put the Jaguars on the board first when his punt for the Chiefs was blocked and went out the end zone for the safety.  But then the Chiefs started scoring the right way, with Alex Smith connecting with Dennis Avery for a 5 yard touchdown pass to give the Chiefs the lead.

Alex Smith would be accountable for 2 touchdown throws, the other a 3 yard pass to Junior Hemingway for his lone reception of the game.  He would complete 21 of his 34 passes for 173 yards.

After the safety, the Jaguars looked flat, as Blaine Gabbert completed only 16 of his 35 passes for 121 yards, and Maurice Jones-Drew only was able to gather 45 yards of rushing offense for the Jaguars.  Overall, it looked like old days could be back in Kansas City with Andy Reid and Alex Smith wearing the Red and White.  And for Jacksonville, they've got a lot of work to do, which won't be easy with a pair of west coast games coming up.

New York Jets (1-0) 18, Tampa Bay (0-1) 17 - The Jets were the only team to get a safety and win the game (Pittsburgh got the safety against Tennessee but lost).

But the play people are talking about is the penalty to Tampa Bay's Lavonte David with just a few seconds left that not only stopped the clock, it also gave the Jets a bonus 15 yards, which made things easier for Nick Folk to boot the 48 yard winning field goal for the victory.

Dallas (1-0) 36, New York Giants (0-1) 31 - The shocking thing about this game was that the Giants were in this game despite 6 turnovers.

Eli Manning's 450 yards kept the Giants in the game, but his 3 interceptions hurt the G-men.  One of those interceptions came in the first play, connecting with a man in silver and blue instead of one of his own.  Luckily for the G-men, the Cowboys were only able to walk away with three points despite three first quarter turnovers.

A scary moment for the Dallas Cowboys came just before the half when it looked like Tony Romo would be out as he was sandwiched between two Giants, but he would later return.

The 6 turnovers are a pause for concern for the Giants, who have to travel to Denver for their Sunday afternoon contest against the Denver Broncos.

Houston (1-0) 31, San Diego 28 - If you went to bed before midnight, you may be surprised to read today that the Houston Texans won.  And if you waited until after halftime to retire to the slumbers, seeing Houston down 28-7 was enough to prompt a good night.

But the Texans came back.  With authority.  The comeback started with Garrett Graham's 7 yard reception to cap a 11 play, 70 yard drive in the 3rd Quarter, and continued with Owen Daniel's 2nd touchdown reception of the game in the 4th Quarter.  The tying play came on a Philip Rivers interception, his lone of the game, as Brian Cushing ran it back 18 yards to the end zone.

The Texans had the ball last, and they made it count.  Randy Bullock's 41 yard field goal with time expiring capped a 9 play drive that took up the remainder 3:53 on the clock, and spoiled the good mood in San Diego as Week 1 drew to a close.

So your turn.  What do you think was the most memorable moment in Week 1?  What are you looking forward to in Week 2?

Monday, September 9, 2013

High School Football - Week 1 in Review

New faces, new places.

That seemed to be the theme as the High School Football season opened up with a full slate of games on Friday and Saturday, as new faces replaced the familiar faces we got to know over the course of the 13 weeks last year, and coaches found their clipboards in new places.

John Bowen comes to mind here.  The frontman for the Ballston Spa Scotties for many years, he found his clipboard in Schuylerville, where he replaced veteran head coach Greg O'Connor during the offseason.  With a new group of kids, some having not played a varsity game all season, it was a question whether or not the Black Horses could match strides with the Hudson Falls Tigers, who have returning talent on both sides of the football.

Surprise of the Week: Schuylerville 30, Hudson Falls 7 - The Hudson Falls Tigers took advantage of a turnover to put 7 up on the board in the 1st Quarter, but then the young squad in Schuylerville settled down and scored the next 30 points as the Black Horses looked as powerful as last year's squad that made it to the Class B Sectional Semifinals.  Geno Brancati of the Hudson Falls Tigers led the rushing attack for the Tigers, getting 56 yards on 17 carries and scored the lone touchdown in the 1st Quarter. Josh Thomas was big for the Black Horses, pounding 163 yards on 22 carries on his way to 3 visits to the end zone.  Will Griffen also had a century game, getting 109 yards on 14 carries.

Disappointment of the Week: Schalmont 51, Glens Falls 0 - It's a disappointment only in the sense that you were hoping for better things from the Glens Falls Indians after last season's run.  But one problem exists.  Devon Willis remains with the Schalmont Sabres.  The All-Star Running Back ran for 1,500 yards last year and is expected to meet or break that figure this year.  He's off to a good start after running for 106 yards.  Dalton Cooke was dangerous behind the Center, throwing for 248 yards, including 3 touchdowns.  Zack Infield, who was playing his first game under Center, threw for 35 yards on 4 for 7 passing.

Game of the Week: Cambridge 34, Greenwich 28 - Nothing like starting off your season with a rival.  That's how Cambridge and Greenwich started the season, playing each other in a rematch of a classic that went to overtime last year.  Most of the game saw the trailer behind by only a single possession, which the largest lead coming at 10:16 left in the 2nd Quarter when Greenwich drove to a 9 point lead.  The key moment of the game came following Greenwich's tying touchdown, when Cambridge was able to take advantage of great field position after Caleb Roland's 55 yard kickoff return, and took the lead for good.

Impressed Performance of the Week: Queensbury's Defense.  The Troy Flying Horses was stocked with talent, with Maurice Jones and Rayshawn Johnson both dangerous when they carried the ball.  For much of the first half, the Troy Flying Horses were unable to penetrate the rich Queensbury Defense until Joe Germinerio's two-minute drill attack of passes and runs brought the Flying Horses to the Queensbury 6.  But the drive would end with an incomplete pass, allowing Queensbury to have a two-possession lead at the half.   In addition, the defense forced two key fumbles that helped put points on the board for the Spartans.  The defense gave up 22 points, but never the lead, as the Queensbury Spartans would prevail 40-22.

No Vulnerabilities here: Two State Champions looked really good this weekend, increasing the likelihood of both teams repeating, at the very least, at the Sectional level.  Burnt Hills dismantled a Lansingburgh team that last year won the Reinfurt division of Class B, with their 69-25 Friday night victory, as 6 different Spartans found the end zone.  Anthony Walker helped the Knights with two touchdown runs of 79 yards and 52 yards, but was kept quiet otherwise.  Meanwhile, the Hoosick Falls Panthers were in good shape to shut out Tamarac, but a turnover in the 4th quarter led to Dan Motzer scoring the lone points as the Panthers won 49-7.  Brandon Hodges crossed the plane four times, his largest being a 46 yard run in the 3rd Quarter.

What to listen for - Week #2: Burnt Hills at Troy, FRI 7PM - This game could become a preview of Week 10, the Class A Super Bowl.  But first, the Troy Flying Horses will need to calm down after their Week 1 loss to the Queensbury Spartans.  Last year, the Flying Horses won and provided the Burnt Hills Spartans with their only loss of the season, but neither team is wanting to look at the past as an indication of how the future will play.

In addition, this weekend will give us the first looks at Fort Edward and Salem in Class D.  Both teams had to sit out their first game after forfeiting due to player count issues, so week 2 is the first time we will get to see either the Flying Forts or the Generals play.  Both teams have talent, and if they can keep their small rosters healthy, could be one of the 8 teams contending for the Class D title towards the end of October.  Salem opens their season with a road game at Hoosic Valley, who took a tough loss against a decent Whitehall team last week.  Fort Edward has a tougher trip this week, heading down to play defending Class D titleholders Rensselaer.

We're going to be back at Queensbury High as the Queensbury Spartans play the Bishop Maginn Griffins.  Both teams are 1-0 after the Griffins put away the South Glens Falls Bulldogs 18-8.  Joe Grasso had an inexperienced group of kids last year as the Griffins went 1-8, but feels things will be better this year as he's been impressed how the work ethic of his players have been during preseason camp.

Neiko Bianchino was a key player on the Griffins last week, throwing for over 125 yards and scoring two 3rd Quarter touchdowns.  Jaushiir Weaver rushed for a touchdown too for the Griffins.

Friday, September 6, 2013

High School Football: Week 1 Preview

Are you ready for some local football?
It's the dawn of a new High School Football season tonight as teams across the entire North Country and Capital District meet on the gridiron, trying to emulate the success that Shaker, Burnt Hills, Glens Falls, Hoosick Falls and Rensselaer had last year. 

So how will the local teams fare?  Let's take a look:

Troy @ Queensbury - 1:30PM Saturday
Radio Coverage: 1230 FOX Sports Radio
It’s a fresh new season for both teams, and time to put the past behind them and look forward to the future.

For Queensbury, that future rests on the legs of Phil Wettersten, who was the Spartans number two rusher behind Alston Moses last year.  Now with Moses gone, Wettersten looks to be that go-to guy, churning 690 total yards for an average of 7.0 yards per carry last year.

But he won’t be the only one churning up yards of offense, as Tim Voorhis, Kalen Minott, Eric Wettersten and more gives John Irion a lot of different options behind the line.  Plus Aidan Switzer will also be available to generate offense through his arm.  Now, Queensbury is not a pass-friendly team, but can do so when needed as Switzer last year went 11 for 23 for 169 yards, including two touchdowns.

Troy, too, has a lot of experience in the backfield in the form of their primary running backs, Rayshawn Johnson and Maurice Jones. And with a experience line returning with three captains, those two could easily find the holes needed to churn up a lot of offense.

So the task for both defenses is to close those holes and to make sure that the running backs have to work extra hard to gain offense.  Both teams have the benefit of a thick roster, coupled with some veteran coaching.  Both John Irion of the Spartans and Jack Burger of the Flying Horses have a combined 36 years of coaching experience in high school football.

Class A only has 9 teams, and with a 8-team playoff system, all but one team will make it past Week 7.  But that doesn’t mean teams have nothing to play for in Class A, being able to play in front of your home crowd in Weeks 8 and 9 is better than being the road team.
Schalmont @ Glens Falls - 1:30PM SaturdayMeanwhile, the past may have been rich to the Glens Falls Indians, but they will have to move on.  With the core group that brought Glens Falls to their first sectional title since 1993 and their first ever Carrier Dome appearance now gone, the Indians will have to rely on the new talent to carry the torch.

How good that new talent will be will immediately be put up to the test when they host the Schalmont Sabres on Saturday.  The Schalmont Sabres fell to the Indians in the Class B Super Bowl, but maintain Devon Willis, who churned up a good piece of real estate last year, and is in the top 30 career rushers in Section 2 already, hoping to move up the list as the season progresses.

The Indians were very good at stopping Willis’s run attack for the most part during the Super Bowl last year, but will need new components to work together to do the same this year.  Willis’s performance may not exactly determine an outcome for the game, but it will definitely set the tone.
Hudson Falls @ Schuylerville - 7:00PM Friday
The team that the Indians beat in the semifinals to move onto the Super Bowl is hosting the Hudson Falls Tigers.  The Schuylerville Black Horses have a new look, from the head coach to the players on the field.  John Bowen takes over the duties for retired coach Greg O’Connor, and now will face a new lineup now that Shane Lyon is graduated.

Shane Lyon was a dangerous threat when holding onto the football, and what made him more of a threat was not knowing what he was going to do with the ball.  Although his passing wasn’t crisp – going 24 for 72 for a 33% completion percentage, it made defenses worry as he ran a lot of quarterback options, accumulating 1200 yards of offense to lead all rushers, nearly doubling the efforts of Dan Waldron, their second biggest rusher at 680 yards. 

Both those players are not with the team, leaving the Black Horses with underclassmen running the show.  Skyler Bateman has experience touching the ball, accumulating 105 rushing yards and crossing the endzone 3 times during his season last year.  He looks to be a bigger threat this year, and so too does Josh Thomas.

The opposite is true in Hudson Falls, where they have plenty of returning talent on both ends of the ball, including junior Geno Brancati.  Last year Brancati was responsible for 8 touchdowns, running 746 yards.  But Brancati wants more, as he told Laura Owens of the Glens Falls Post-Star that he wants to break the millennium mark this season, scoring more than 20 touchdowns.  He also wants to be Section II’s leading rusher, which will be a tough task for the junior with Devon Willis still carrying the ball over in Schalmont.

On the other side of the ball, Hudson Falls is returning back to the defense that brought the Tigers to Dietz Stadium for the State Semifinals in Kingston back in 2008, a 3-5 formation. 
Greenwich @ Cambridge - 1:00PM Saturday
Also in Week 1, it’s the battle of Route 372 as cross-highway rivals square off at Cambridge Saturday afternoons as the Greenwich Witches take on the Cambridge Indians.  Last year’s matchup turned out to be one of the best games of the year, as the Indians and Witches went to overtime before the Indians would go on to win.

The loss for Greenwich was key as it put them behind both Rensselaer and Cambridge in a division where only two teams make the playoffs.  Two things benefit Greenwich this year over last year without even playing a game – the fact that Class D has gone to a 8 team playoff system, and also the fact that Greenwich is now in Class D North, apart  from Cambridge and Rensselaer.

On the field, Josh Barnes has earned a lot of preseason attention, and with good reasons.  He was one of the top rushers in Section II last year, devouring 1480 yards of turf on his way to 17 touchdowns.  His return gives Brandon Linett some options with his Multiple-I offense.

With a return of 3 of their 5 offensive linemen, Greenwich should be a top candidate to win Class D North.
Cambridge wants to return to the Class D Sectionals, where their time last year came to a surprising end when they lost 27-26 to the Salem Generals in the semifinals at Schuylerville.  It will be tough with a younger squad, notably without Matt Parmeter, who led the team with over 1200 yards of offense. 

Even though Saturday’s cross-highway rivalry will not count towards towards playoff seeding, both teams will want to start off well, and, of course, there is that presence of wanting to be the better team. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Football's back this weekend!

Queensbury High School, WMML-AM Photo
High School Football starts a football weekend on 1230 FOX Sports Radio and 1410 CBS Sports Radio.

First, we look at the local talent as the Queensbury Spartans welcome the Troy Flying Horses to its campus this Saturday.  Both teams made it to the Class A Sectional Semifinals, with Queensbury bowing out to Burnt Hills and Troy losing to Amsterdam.

In both games, the losing team had the lead at one point in the contest.  But for both teams, it's a fresh new start in a class that could be very competitive.

I met with Queensbury head coach John Irion, now in his 17th year at the helm, yesterday.  In a short interview, he mentioned that he has a wide range of options when it comes to running backs, and also a few returning players that could help push the Spartans to the top of the Class A Northwest.

Phil Wettersten returns as a back option, and should get the main nod for the game this Saturday.  Alston Moses also could provide Irion with a lot of options, both with the run and pass game.

Edit Note: I misheard Irion during our interview, thinking he was mentioning Alston Moses.  Special thanks to Don Lehman of The Post-Star for the correction.

If there's a spot where the Spartans could look rugged, it will be on the line.  Despite returning senior Marc Lambert, the line will be filled with many new faces, which could give Wettersten some trouble if not prepared.

For Troy, last year's loss to the Amsterdam Rugged Rams left a bitter taste after leading 14-0.  But 34 straight points brought the Amsterdam Rugged Rams to the Class A Super Bowl, and gave the Flying Horses their 2nd straight semifinal exit after making it to the Carrier Dome in 2010.

The start of our High School Football coverage kicks off at 1:15PM this Saturday on 1230 FOX Sports Radio.

Then on Sunday, it is the start of the 2013 National Football League schedule as the Buffalo Bills welcome Tom Brady and the New England Patriots to the Ralph.

It appears that EJ Manuel will get the starting nod, which is a huge weight off the Bills shoulders, as the Bills looked to be a much improved team when he was playing in the preseason.  Without him, the Bills offense looked sketchy, especially against the Redskins and the Lions.

But the task remains tough - trying to figure out how to beat Tom Brady.  You can't just take a lead and expect him to fold.  This was seen in great detail in Week 4 last year when the Buffalo Bills jumped out to a 21-7 lead in the 3rd Quarter, but then hit a brick wall as Tom Brady and the Patriots rattled off 5 straight touchdowns to turn the tables on the Bills, as the Patriots would go on to win 52-28.

Bills coverage this Sunday will be on 1410 CBS Sports Radio as the Mets finish their series against the Cleveland Indians on 1230 FOX Sports Radio.  Pregame for the season-opener for the Buffalo Bills kicks off at 11AM, with the first kick at 1PM.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Offensive Explosion: Mets roll with big 3rd

Zack Wheeler's now 7-3 on the year after the New York Mets use a 6-run 3rd inning in their 11-3 win over the Washington Nationals.

Already with a 2-0 lead in the 3rd, The Mets pieced together three straight singles before Ike Davis provided the first out via a sacrifice fly to left field to plate the 2nd run of the inning.  Then three more straight singles chased starting pitcher Dan Haren from the game.  Two straight walks from new pitcher Tanner Roark plated the 4th run of the inning, and then back to bat for the 2nd time in the inning, Eric Young brought the last two runs of the inning home with a single to left to give the Mets a 8-0 lead.

Zack Wheeler retired the first 8 of the game before surrendering the first hit of the game to relief pitcher Roark.  He and following hitter Denard Span would be stranded after Ryan Zimmerman lined out.

The Nationals would get on the board after Zack Wheeler started the bottom 6th by hitting Anthony Rendon, who moved to 3rd base on Denard Span's single.  A walk to Bryce Harper loaded the bases, and then Jayson Werth and Ian Desmond brought runs home.  But the threat was over when Adam LaRoche lined out, with the Mets up 8-2 at that time.

The Mets would add three more runs in the 8th, and the Nationals would plate one in the 9th, but it would be the Mets taking their second straight against the Nationals with their 11-3 victory.

Zack Wheeler gave up 5 hits in his 6 2/3rd innings, striking out 3 and walking 1, as his record improves to 7-3 on the year.  Dan Haren pitched only 2 2/3rd innings, his shortest start since September 7th, 2005, when he gave up 5 runs on 8 hits against the Seattle Mariners as a member of the Oakland A's.  This was the second time this year that Haren failed to make it to the 4th inning, the last coming on June 22nd when he pitched 3 1/3rd innings against the Colorado Rockies.

Associated Press via
No Ike: Ike Davis left the game in the 3rd inning with a side injury during his sacrifice fly.  There's no timetable for his return, but sources are saying that the Mets 1st Baseman will be out for the remainder of the season.

Under The Lights: The Mets aim to sweep the Nationals on national television tonight as Jonathan Niese will try to carry a winning record for the first time since his April 12th outing against the Minnesota Twins.  This is Niese's first time seeing the Nationals hitters this year.  Last year Niese was 1-0 with 1 no-decision against the Nationals, giving up only one run in the two outings at Nationals Park.  Ross Ohlendorf will take the mound for the Nationals, giving up 6 hits and only 1 run in his last start against the Mets on July 26th.  In that game, he struck out 8.

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