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.