Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Doug Marrone will not return to the Bills in 2015

The Buffalo Bills announced today that Doug Marrone has exercised a right in his contract that allows him to opt out of his current deal with Buffalo and thus will not return as head coach for the 2015 season.

The head coach led the Buffalo Bills to a 9-7 record in 2014, their first winning season since 2004.  However, offensive woes plagued the Bills and kept them from ending a league-high 15 year streak without making the playoffs.  Marrone was the head coach of the Bills for two seasons.

Marrone is reported to still earn his $4,000,000 that he would have otherwise earn as head coach, and is eligible to interview for other head coaching vacancies.

There are rumors that Marrone could wind up coaching fellow AFC East rival New York Jets.

According to reports, Marrone quarreled with management at times, including team General Manager Russ Brandon.  Marrone also had issues with 2013 1st Round draft pick EJ Manuel, which led to his benching during the 2014 season after going 2-2 in the first four games of the season.

Marrone was able to opt out of his contract due to a clause that allows him to cancel due to a change in ownership.

2014 in Review

A brand new year rings in at midnight tonight, bringing to an end the year that was.

And what a year it was. From the race track to the football field, a lot happened here in the North Country.  More after the jump.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Board Room: What went wrong for the Bills?

With the Buffalo Bills 26-24 loss to the Oakland Raiders, the thought about the Bills making the playoffs can effectively be put to bed.

It will be 15 straight years that the Buffalo Bills season comes to an end after Week 17.  15 years since the Buffalo Bills saw the "Music City Miracle" happen before their eyes, knocking them out of the Wild Card Round as the Titans went on to victory, eventually making it to the Super Bowl.

So where did it go wrong?

The easiest finger to point is to the reason that's correct.  The offense.  The defense wasn't the reason for the Bills demise in 2014.  Except for that 37-22 loss to New England in Week 6, the Bills have kept other teams at bay, holding teams to 14 or fewer points 5 times this season.

And the least we say about Dan Carpenter and special teams, the better, because Dan Carpenter's leg has been the reason why the Bills have won as much as they have all this year.

The offense was anemic at times, downright terrible at others, and rarely the true gem it needed to be in order for the Bills to be successful.

Signs of the offense faltering showed up following the Bills loss to San Diego and Houston, prompting EJ Manuel's benching for Kyle Orton.  Kyle Orton came up as top passer in four of the next five games, with that fifth being a loss to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.

But signs of Orton's problems started to shine dimly in narrow victories against Detroit and Minnesota, and then magnified as the Bills emerged out of the Bye week with back-to-back losses to Kansas City and Miami.

The Bills are now 3-4 after the Bye week heading into this Sunday's game against the New England Patriots, and if the Patriots have to play hard to fight for the right to host the AFC Championship next month, it's not going to be easy.

So let's take a look at the 2014 season:
WEEK 1: at Chicago - WON 23-20 (OT) - First, people treated this as if it was a big upset of the Chicago Bears.  Knowing what we know now, this wasn't a monumental upset over a team destined for the playoffs, but, instead, an average win at most over a squad that's 5-10 with one game to go.

Second, the Bills were lucky to walk out of that game alive after giving up a 17-7 halftime lead, needing two Dan Carpenter boots to help free the Bills of their mistakes.

WEEK 2: vs. Miami - WON 29-10 - Bills fans were elated after this game, as the Bills knocked off the team that in Week 1 knocked off the New England Patriots.  And convincingly, too, on a day when they honored the late Ralph Wilson.

But the signs of the troubles to come were rampant in this game.  Of the 29 points, 15 came from the leg of Dan Carpenter, and another 7 came on a touchdown return by C.J. Spiller.  That means the Bills offensive unit only found the end zone once, coming on a EJ Manuel to Sammy Watkins pass to score in the third quarter.

WEEK 3: vs. San Diego - LOSS 22-10 - And here's where we started to see the troubles that led to EJ Manuel's benching.  Manuel completed 23 of 39 passes for 238 yards and a touchdown, but was plagued for three sacks and an intentional grounding penalty that gave San Diego two points on the safety.  The word "sacked" would also become a regular theme from here on out.

WEEK 4: at Houston - LOSS 23-17 - The good was EJ Manuel's two touchdowns.  The bad was his 2 interceptions, including the one to J.J. Watt that gave the Houston Texans the lead for good.  The ugly was Manuel's 21/44 for 225 yards.  This is an example of a game that got away from the Bills, one they should have won.

And 12 weeks later, it can be said that this was one they needed to win.

WEEK 5: at Detroit - WON 17-14 - This is a game that the Bills did not deserve to win.  After spotting the Lions their fourteen points, Dan Carpenter chipped away at that lead with two field goals, and the Bills were able to make a two point conversion on a touchdown early in the fourth quarter.  But then Dan Carpenter booted the game-winning field goal.

But the Bills didn't deserve to win this game.  They got lucky because of Alex Henery's inaccurate kicking, missing three field goal attempts.  Those three misses kept the Lions from winning, and forces them into a meaningful game in Week 17 against the Packers where the division and a potential 1st round bye is up for grabs.

WEEK 6: vs. New England - LOSS 37-22 - This game came at the heels of the announcement that Terry Pegula would be approved by the NFL to become the owner of the Buffalo Bills, essentially guaranteeing Western New York that the Buffalo Bills will remain there for years to come.

People were talking about the Patriots being a little off leading up to this game, which coupled with the announcement, led many in Western New York to believe this would be the year the Bills would finally knock off the Patriots.

Instead, Tom Brady made a statement that he's just as good as he's been in prior years, and Kyle Orton made Bills fans queasy with his interception and turnover, which helped lead to the Patriots taking a 13-7 lead at the half.  C.J. Spiller's fumble didn't help matters either.

WEEK 7: vs. Minnesota - WON 17-16 - For the third out of four times this season, the Bills won a game they probably shouldn't have won.  In this case, the Bills won thanks to a drive that was orchestrated in the closing minutes, culminating in Sammy Watkins bringing home Kyle Orton's pass with one second left on the clock.

This helped electrify the crowd at the Ralph, who earlier was reeling when C.J. Spiller went down with an injury on a 50 yard run and needed to be carted off.

Kyle Orton's stats wasn't great, but they weren't bad in this game.  He completed 31 of his 43 passes for 283 yards and two touchdowns, but did get picked off.  However, the Minnesota Vikings were 2-4 going into the game, meaning a stronger Bills squad should have easily plucked the Vikings.

WEEK 8: at New York Jets - WON 43-23 - The New York Jets gifted the Buffalo Bills with 6 turnovers, making it easy for the Bills to walk out of MetLife Stadium with the victory.  Kyle Orton didn't have to do much, going 10-for-17 for 238 yards and 4 touchdowns.

Geno Smith looked awful, throwing three picks and getting benched in favor of Michael Vick, who finally drove the Jets down the field to score.  It could be argued that the Bills should have won by more, but the running game was knocked down a peg because of the injuries to Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller.

It gave the Bills fans a sense of hope that would last through the bye week.

WEEK 9: BYE WEEK

WEEK 10: vs. Kansas City - LOSS 17-13 - The earlier losses to San Diego and Houston hurt, but this one stung stronger and is a real reason why the Buffalo Bills will be spending their January watching football instead of playing.

It didn't start that way.  The Bills entered the fourth quarter up 13-3, but had already lost the opportunity to score 7 when Bryce Brown fumbled the ball just outside the plane of the goal line, as the ball went out of bounds to give the Chiefs control at their own 20.  It was one of four empty trips to the Red Zone, where the Bills settled for two field goals from Dan Carpenter.

Then Kansas City scored 14 in the fourth quarter, and the Bills came up empty.  Kyle Orton completed 29 passes, but had to throw the ball 48 times in order to get the 259 yards of offense he produced.  It wasted a defensive effort where Alex Smith was dropped 6 times, and left the Bills with a 5-4 record.

WEEK 11: at Miami - LOSS 22-9 - Yep.  If the previous game didn't put the Bills playoff hopes on life-support, this lackluster effort did.  When you score 9 points in the NFL, you can tell that it was a heavy Dan Carpenter day for the Buffalo Bills.  On the primetime stage of Thursday Night Football, the Bills relied on the field goal when their offense stopped inside the 20, resulting in a 9-3 third quarter lead that was easily turned around by the Miami Dolphins when Ryan Tannehill connected with Brandon Gibson to give the Dolphins the 10-9 lead.

A safety, a touchdown and a field goal later, the Bills playoff hopes were dealt a major blow.

WEEK 12: vs. New York Jets (at Detroit) - WON 38-3 - After a freak winter storm dealt six feet of snow to the Orchard Park area, it was apparent that the Buffalo Bills would not be able to play their Week 12 game at the Ralph.  When the snow finally stopped flying, it was determined that the game would be played at Ford Field in Detroit, and questions developed whether or not the Bills would be mentally and physically prepared for this game that was rescheduled to Monday Night.

But it quickly became apparent which team was more focused for the game.  The Bills had no problem against the Jets, making Bills fans wonder if the cobwebs from the previous two weeks were out of the system.

WEEK 13: vs. Cleveland - WON 26-10 - With a trip to Denver and New England, and a home game against the Green Bay Packers still on their schedule, the Bills knew they had to win this game to remain in the hunt.

They did, while pulling a punch that would turn to be the fatal blow to the Cleveland Browns postseason hopes.  But while the Bills won by 16, all the problems that were talked about showed up again.

The Bills should have won by more.  But Kyle Orton was only 17/31, throwing 190 yards and 1 touchdown and getting picked off twice.  The Bills were 1 for 5 in the red zone, instead turning to Dan Carpenter to kick four field goals in the fourth quarter.

WEEK 14: at Denver - LOSS 24-17 - Peyton Manning wasn't at the top of his game, throwing two picks.  The Broncos were ripe for the taking, but the Bills couldn't cash in, as Kyle Orton threw two picks and was sacked four times.

He finally found the end zone in the fourth quarter, first passing to Chris Hogan early in the quarter and then with a minute left rushing to close to 7.  But the onside kick didn't work, and Peyton Manning was able to knee to give the Broncos the win.

WEEK 15: vs. Green Bay - WON 21-13 - Aaron Rodgers wasn't himself, either.

This time, however, the Buffalo Bills were able to do enough to keep the Packers at bay.  They earned a victory over a team they weren't expected to beat, and because of that, the Bills remained in the playoff hunt for one more week.

But all the problems listed above continued to plague the Bills.  Kyle Orton was intercepted once and was 14 for 27 for 158 yards.  His offense never found the end zone, instead all points were either scored on special teams or defense.

Dan Carpenter made four field goals, Marcus Thigpen had a 75 yard punt return for a touchdown, and a safety led to all 21 points for the Bills.

Had the Green Bay Packers been at the top of their game, things would of been different.

WEEK 16: at Oakland - LOSS 26-24 - This was the fatal blow for the Buffalo Bills.

Yes, the Bills had two key defensive injuries.  But at the hands of this defeat was another lackluster showing by the Buffalo Bills offense where Kyle Orton's 329 yards and 3 touchdowns were rubbed out because of two interceptions and two sacks.  The Bills inability to convert on 3rd down, converting only 4 of their 15, also helped contribute to their loss.

The Bills rushing was non-existent, getting 13 yards on 13 carries, further enhancing the need for Kyle Orton to play well.

In the long run, the Bills fate was sealed well before this trip to the west coast, but the Bills could have made Week 17 meaningful for them for the first time in awhile.  Instead, the Bills will head to Foxborough with only the chance to make 2014 a winning season.

If the Bills and Doug Marrone are smart, they should start EJ Manuel against the Patriots, and throw the playbook out into the Atlantic Ocean.  The Bills should start experimenting and figuring out what they have as far as talent is concerned for the year ahead.

So that they can draft for it.

Bills Pros: 
The defensive 11 is the biggest pro for the Buffalo Bills, and is a huge reason why the Bills even mattered in 2014.  Whether it was defensive sacks, interceptions, or stopping a team and forcing them into three and outs, the Buffalo Bills defense held strong and deserved much better this year.  The only key issue for the Buffalo defense was taking penalties at the wrong time, which led to opponents getting 39 first downs through the season via the flag.

Bills Cons:
The offensive 11.  The Buffalo Bills were ranked 29th out of 30 teams for scoring touchdowns inside the Red Zone, and relied way too heavily in the ability of Dan Carpenter in order to put points on the scoreboard.  The offensive line failed to protect their quarterback, resulting in 37 sacks and many other rushed passes that either was off the mark or intercepted.

The Bills don't have a big-name quarterback, and might not be able to pick one up easily after foregoing their draft picks to pick up Sammy Watkins in the 2014 draft.  So the Bills need to do the next best thing and work on their offensive line.  A better quality line will lead to better run and pass potential.  You'll still have rough decisions by middle-of-the-road quarterbacks that will cause trouble and lead to some unnecessary sacks, but you'll minimize how many of them burn you in the long run.

In Closing:
The Buffalo Bills are close to finally being relevant when it comes to being a playoff team.  A few more players, and we could start talking about the Buffalo Bills and January football.  They already have the defense to keep teams close.  Now they have to pick up the offense that will drive them to victory.

More touchdowns, less field goals.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Thoughts from the Press Box: "T" ignites Queensbury Spartans

Queensbury's Brett Rodriguez looks to inbound the ball
with Glens Fall's Dylan Balcom defending.
GLENS FALLS - For the first 12 minutes of Friday night's Foothills Council game between the Queensbury Spartans and the Glens Falls Indians, the Spartans found themselves called for foul after foul.

At one point in time, the scoreboard read 10 for the visitor to the home team's 2.

Doug Fraser was notably upset about something, which earned him a technical foul.

Joe Girard III sank both free throws, giving the Glens Falls Indians the 25-24 lead.

That technical seemed to ignite the Queensbury offense, who went on a 18-1 run to end the second quarter to lead 42-26 at the halftime break.

Queensbury would extend their lead to 20 before Glens Falls started chipping away the lead, getting it to within 7 before Glens Falls's foul troubles of the second half started eating their chances away, resulting in the Indians tallest player, Alex Wright, to foul out.

The game took many twists.  Up until that 18-1 run, it looked like the game was going to be close throughout, resembling the game played at Glens Falls High School two years prior where Sam Sax drove the lane and scored the game-winning lay-up with under three seconds left.

Then it seemed like a blowout was imminent. Credit the Indians, they never gave up, allowing them to chip away at the Spartans lead.  But as noted above, the foul troubles, which was the inverse of what the first half brought, saw Queensbury being in the double bonus instead.

The win makes Queensbury an early favorite to be the North Division winner in the new-look Foothills Council, which became a ten-team, two-division conference with the addition of Amsterdam and Schuylerville.

Queensbury improves to 3-0 in the council, and 3-1 overall.  Their one loss was to Green Tech, who are the defending state champions in Class AA.  The Spartans will begin their holiday schedule by traveling to Burnt Hills on Monday.  The Indians, who have lost two of their last three games, have no games scheduled during their holiday break, and will resume play on January 6th as they face the Schuylerville Black Horses.

The two teams will meet again at Queensbury on Tuesday, February 3rd.

***
LOOSE ENDS: Will Springstead noted it on his Post-Star blog, and I'll note this here... looks can be deceiving.  Queensbury's Bailey Dray doesn't have the look of a basketball player, but if you underestimate him, he's going to burn you from near and far.  He's got the quick step and the conscious ability to distribute the ball easily to the hands of an open teammate.

It's part of the reason why he scooped up a season-high 27 points in the victory.

Joe Girard III is going to give Jimmer Fredette's records a run.  The eight grader is averaging better than 23 points per game, and could have brought in more if the Glens Falls Indians weren't silenced during the second quarter.  Girard has fundamentals to work out, but could easily join the list of 30 point-per-game scorers in the years to come.

***

NEXT UP: Our next Friday Night Hoops broadcast will be on Friday, January 2nd, when we travel to Argyle for the Argyle Tournament.  The first game will feature Heatly taking on North Warren at 6:30PM, then Ticonderoga will play Argyle at 8PM.  

Our first hockey broadcast will hit the air on Monday, December 29th, when we air the first day of the Rivermen Tournament live from the Glens Falls Recreation Center.  The Queensbury Spartans will take on the Rye Garnets and the Glens Falls/Hudson Falls/South Glens Falls Rivermen will take on the Beekmantown Eagles.  Coverage begins at 5:20PM on FOX Sports Radio 1230.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

From The Board: Bills O saved by their D and Special Teams.

Joed Viera | Syracuse Post-Standard
Don't think because the Buffalo Bills knocked off the Green Bay Packers, it means they deserve to play in the NFL Playoffs.

In fact, the Buffalo Bills have a lot of work to do if they are even going to be considered for a playoff spot -- and that doesn't include the help they need from outside factors.

But it is nice to see with two weeks left in the season, and with the Oakland Raiders coming up this Sunday, the Bills could very well enter the final week of the regular season as a team still "in the hunt".

With that being said, the Bills need to work on their offense.

Because their current package isn't getting the job done.  The Bills are lucky their special teams, especially Dan Carpenter, and their defense carried them to victory on Sunday.  Because Kyle Orton and the offense wasn't getting it done.

Yes, Orton moved the ball on occasion.  But 14/27 for 158 yards isn't going to get the job done, especially when the Bills have to face the New England Patriots at Foxborough to close the season.

The telling number is the 0 touchdowns that the Bills offense scored all game.  The Bills points came via a punt return for a touchdown, four field goals from Dan Carpenter, and a safety with less than two minutes to play.

The Bills need to get the ball into the end zone with their offensive line on the field.  The Bills are next-to-last when it comes to scoring touchdowns in the Red Zone (40% - Jacksonville is the only team worse with 38% conversion.  Driving the field to score field goals isn't going to get it done.

When Dan Carpenter booted the second field goal of the third quarter, the Bills were only up 6.  The same when Mason Crosby answered Carpenter's 4th field goal with his own to close the Packers to within six again.  Both times, the thought was in mine, and many Bills followers mind, that Aaron Rodgers would lead the team down to the field to victory in the closing minutes of the game to give Green Bay their 11th win of the season.

The Bills got lucky when Aaron Rodgers fumbled an attempted pass into the end zone, and because of the Holy Roller rule that prohibits an offensive player besides the fumbler to advance a fumbled ball within two minutes of the half or end of game, the Bills were given the two point safety, enhancing their lead to eight.

The origins of the Holy Roller rule

The defense has been great throughout the season for the Buffalo Bills, but they're not going to go anywhere in January as long as the Buffalo Bills offense remains anemic.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Indian River floods Queensbury's Rush Attack, Wins State Championship

SYRACUSE - Down 19-0?

No problem for the Indian River Warriors, who adjusted their game plan midway through the second quarter and came back to a 63-38 win over the Queensbury Spartans for the Class A Championship.

It is the first state championship for Indian River, and the end of a 25 game winning streak for the previous defending champs.

But the way it started, it looked like Indian River was going to be on the receiving end of the blow out.  It took only two plays before Erik Wettersten ran in from 4 yards out, with Tyrell Adams setting up the touchdown run with a 65 yard gain up the right side.

Then after an Indian River fumble on the kickoff return, Brett Rodriguez scored from 9 yards out to give Queensbury the 13-0 lead.

Indian River would drive the length of the field, but a fumble at the Queensbury 5 yard line gave the Spartans the ball.  Drew Wilson connected with a wide-open Brett Rodriguez to make the score 19-0.

Indian River would storm back with an eight play, 75 yard drive, capped with a quarterback keeper as Densel Barnes ran in from 4 yards for their first score.

But a fumble on the second play of the ensuing drive gave the Warriors great field position to close the first quarter, and Romel Washington made the Spartans pay for that miscue with his 36 yard jet sweep touchdown run to start the second quarter.

The Spartans answered back with Drew Wilson's pass to a wide open Brett Rodriguez, who lined up as a wide receiver on the right sideline, but Chris Goudy's rush on the 2 point conversion failed, to make the score 25-14.

But then the Spartans became unraveled.  And the Warriors began their game of deception.  A fake handoff on the ensuing kickoff got the Spartans to bite, allowing Chase Farrell to run the ball to the Queensbury 45.  Dustin Sharritt would score two plays later, pulling the Warriors to within a field goal.

It only got worse for Queensbury from there.  Tyrell Adams was hurt on the bench, never to return to the game with ice down around his ankle.  On the next series, Queensbury would fall victim to two penalties, with Keeghan O'Leary getting slapped with an "ineligible participation" penalty after his helmet came off during a 1st Down play where Erik Wettersten tried to run to the outside, and Drew Wilson getting tabbed with an intentional grounding call after the ball sailed out of bounds on the next play.  The Spartans would end up punting the ball from their own 15 yard line.

Indian River would score again to make 29-25 at the half, converting a fourth down with a jet sweep to set up Dustin Barnes 4 yard touchdown run.  The Warriors would receive the ball first to start the third quarter, having deferred to the second half.  Connor Brown made that pay off with his 23 yard run to cap a four play drive, expanding the Indian River lead to 36-25.

After another touchdown, Indian River booted the ball towards Erik Wettersten, who bobbled the ball and was brought in by Brett Rodriguez.  However, trying to make something happen, he ran backwards and was down at the 7 yard line.  Rodriguez made up for that miscue with a 93 yard touchdown run to close the gap to 12.

Romel Washington scored the second of his two touchdowns after the kickoff, going in 68 yards for the score to make it 50-31 at the end of the third quarter.

Junior Dustin Sharritt scored the third touchdown of the game, and Freshman Brandon Smith would add to the Warriors lead late in the fourth quarter to make it 63-31.

Brett Rodriguez would return the kickoff 76 yards for a touchdown with two minutes left, but it was too little too late.

Romel Washington was named the game's Most Valuable Player, running 196 yards on 13 carries and scoring two touchdowns.  Dustin Sharrit was a key contributor, scoring 3 touchdowns on his 20 carries, picking up 89 yards in the process.

Brett Rodriguez scored two touchdowns and picked up 146 yards on 18 carries, most of that coming on the 93 yard touchdown run in the third quarter.

Indian River used misdirection to fake out the Queensbury Spartans.  The Spartans fell victim several times, allowing huge lanes to open up for the Warriors to gain consistent yardage.  And 5' 4" Romel Washington made his short speed pay dividends on the jet sweeps, allowing him to burn the Spartans with 196 yards.  This helped Indian River convert five of their eight third downs.

They also clogged up the holes inside, forcing Queensbury runners to the outside, where defensive backs were waiting to take the ball carrier down.  The Spartans had 289 rushing yards, but only 133 yards of that coming in the second half.  They only had four first downs in the second half, limiting the Spartans possession time, an attribute that the Queensbury Spartans used effectively through their 25 game winning streak

It is the first championship for the squad that played in Section 10 until the 2008-2009 season, but is the first trip to the State Tournament as a representative in Section 3.

TEAM
1
2
3
4
F
Queensbury Spartans (12-1)
19
6
6
7
38
Indian River Warriors (13-0)
7
22
21
13
63

Scoring
1st Quarter
11:37 - Erik Wettersten (QSBY) - 4 yard run.  (Escamilla kick) - 7-0
10:57 - Brett Rodriguez (QSBY) - 9 yard run.  (kick failed) - 13-0
03:57 - Brett Rodriguez from Drew Wilson (QSBY) - 57 yard pass.  (run failed) - 19-0
00:54 - Densel Barnes (IR) - 4 yard run.  (Iketau kick) - 19-7

2nd Quarter
11:53 - Romel Washington (IR) - 36 yard run.  (Iketau kick) - 19-14
07:50 - Brett Rodriguez from Drew Wilson (QSBY) - 26 yard pass.  (run failed) - 25-14
07:21 - Dustin Sharrit (IR) - 9 yard run.  (Barnes run) - 25-22
03:01 - Densel Barnes (IR) - 4 yard run.  (Iketeau kick) - 25-29

3rd Quarter
10:29 - Connor Brown (IR) - 23 yard run.  (Iketau kick) - 25-36
05:40 - Dustin Sharrit (IR) - 2 yard run.  (Iketau kick) - 25-43
05:17 - Brett Rodriguez (QSBY) - 93 yard run.  (run failed) - 31-43
04:57 - Romel Washington (IR) - 68 yard run.  (Iketau kick) - 31-50

4th Quarter
04:16 - Dustin Sharrit (IR) - 7 yard run.  (kick failed) - 31-56
02:13 - Brandon Smith (IR) - 9 yard run.  (Iketau kick) - 31-63
02:00 - Brett Rodriguez (IR) - 76 yard kickoff return.  (Escamilla kick) - 38-63

Individual Stats
RUSHING: Queensbury - Brett Rodriguez: 18-146-2; Tyrell Adams: 2-86-0; Chris Goudy: 6-26-0; James Kassebaum: 2-14-0.  Indian River - Romel Washington: 13-196-2; Dustin Sharrit: 20-89-3; Connor Brown: 8-72-1; Densel Barnes: 10-45-2

PASSING:  Queensbury - Drew Wilson: 6-11 162yds, 2TD, INT; Brett Rodriguez: 0-1.  Indian River - Densel Barnes: 1-1 40yds

RECEIVING: Queensbury - Brett Rodriguez: 3-88 57yds, 2TD; Keegan O'Leary: 2-73; Hunter Scott: 1-1.  Indian River - Gary Ruckman: 1-40.


Saturday, November 29, 2014

Queensbury vs. Indian River: Things to Know:

Queensbury Spartans (12-0) vs. Indian River Warriors (12-0)

Start Time: Approximately 3PM.

As Queensbury/Indian River is the second of two games at the Carrier Dome, the game will not begin until after Schalmont/Maine-Endwell wraps up.

That game is scheduled for Noon.

After those two teams are done, they both will meet at mid-field for the awards presentation and championship photo.

Only after all that is done will both Queensbury and Indian River be allowed on the field to warm up.

So it could take upwards of 40 minutes after the conclusion of the first game before the kick-off between Queensbury & Indian River.  Case in point, Hoosick Falls and Chenango Forks finally kicked off at 3:40PM, held back because the Chester/Randolph game ran long.

Home Team: The Western Semifinal winners are the home teams this year at the Carrier Dome, therefore, Indian River will be the home team and will sit on the Press Box side.  Queensbury will be the away team and will sit on the far sideline.  It's opposite of last year's setup, when Queensbury was the home team.

Admission: Admission to the Carrier Dome is $10, which includes the Class B Championship before it between the Schamont Sabres and Maine-Endwell Spartans (kick at Noon).

Parking: There are parking lots a couple blocks to the west of the Carrier Dome, at $10 per car.

Directions: There are several ways you can get to the New York Thurway from the Queensbury area,

  • Take the Northway SOUTH to Exit 15.  Hang a right on the exit ramp for Route 50 SOUTH to Route 29 WEST.  Follow signs for Route 29, heading onto Route 9N past the Hospital before taking a left on WEST AVE.

    Take WEST AVE to Route 29, and take a RIGHT.  Route 29 WEST will take you into Fulton County and JOHNSTOWN.  At Route 30A, take a left and follow signs to the Thruway, taking you into Fonda and Fultonville, where you will catch the New York State Thruway.  Take the Thruway (I-90) WEST towards Buffalo. [$4.75 toll to Syracuse]
  • Take the Northway SOUTH to Exit 12, Route 67.  Take a right for Route 67 WEST towards Ballston Spa, and follow the road through Ballston Spa towards Amsterdam.  In Amsterdam, take Route 30 SOUTH to the Thruway. [$5.15 toll to Syracuse]
  • Take the Northway SOUTH all the way to Albany, catching the New York State Thruway WEST at Exit 1W.  [$6.35 toll to Syracuse]
Once in Syracuse, take Exit 36 for Interstate 81.  Pay the toll and take Interstate 81 SOUTH.  Follow Interstate 81 for about 3 miles to Exit 18 (which is right after I-690), Harrison Street/Adams Street.

Keep left at the fork on the ramp for Adams Street, travelling under I-81 for about 1/2 mile.  Take a left onto Adams Street, looking for Irving Street.  Take a right onto Irving Street and continue for a half mile until you find the Carrier Dome parking on your right.

Travel Time: 3 hours, not including stops.  Keep in mind Sunday is a major travel day for people returning from the Thanksgiving holiday, therefore roads may be more congested than normal.

Weather: There's a slight chance of rain showers in Syracuse, with temperatures in the low-to-mid 40's.

Thoughts from the Press Box: Kingston Musings

Last year, Cornwall made Queensbury fans sweat as Tyler Peddie was able to make it in to claw the Dragons within a point of the Spartans.

Especially when they went for two.

Mitchel Crispens batted the ball away and Queensbury was one step closer to their first state title.

This year, Cornwall made Queensbury sweat in a great renewal of a game between two teams that deserved to advance to the Dome.

This time, Queensbury came up with the defensive stops when they needed it most, and they were able to win 28-21 to advance to this Sunday's game at the Dome.

It was a game Queensbury really needed.  Very few times this season would Queensbury be required to give their starters a full 48 minute game.  Outside of the Scotia game in Week 9, the outcome wasn't really in doubt in any of their games entering the fourth quarter.  Some games were closer than others, but for the most part, Queensbury had a cushion entering the final frame.

But here, like last year, Cornwall forced Queensbury to have to play a full game with their #1 crew on the field.  It showed that the Spartans have the agility to play four full quarters if they need to.

It would seem like that's a minor thing, but when you get deeper into the tournament, and the teams get stronger, there lies the lingering question of whether or not a team will start to crumble the closer the clock reads 0:00 in the fourth quarter.

Queensbury didn't here.  And because of that, they should be ready to go for the Championship Game.
***

Penalties: The Queensbury Spartans and the Cornwall Green Dragons executed a mostly penalty-free game.  A lot of that can be at the result of John Irion's attempt to clean up some of the mental mistake penalties, like the holds that have called back several touchdowns during the season.

The Spartans had no holding calls on Friday.  

In fact, the first penalty flag flew in the second quarter, when Erik Wettersten was slapped with a "Hit to the Head" penalty that ultimately resulted in a Cornwall touchdown.   It was the first of two of those penalties for the junior, and Wettersten should be counting his blessings that he wasn't deemed ineligible for the championship.

Penalties like that are something Wettersten needs to watch out for, because in this era we live where concussions are a major concern, they are going to be flagging that more often on all levels of football from prep to the pros.  

After the game, I was outside taking some pictures while they were handing out the honors.  As Jeffrey Underhill was noted as the Defensive Player of the Game for Queensbury, there were people nearby muttering that Underhill "had a good game, but not as good as Erik's".

Not to take away from Underhill's game and award, but Erik Wettersten's name may have been dropped from consideration for that defensive award because of those two personal foul penalties.

***

Cambridge: The Cambridge Indians fumbled away their chances to play for the State Championship as their first three drives resulted in turnovers.

The Indians ran into a strong squad in the Hambletonians, and with a strong squad, you cannot give them special opportunities.  While the first turnover shouldn't have been called a turnover as the player was out of bounds before it happened, the second turnover on the throw by Ethan English was poorly-advised, and the third was a horrible ball exchange.

Cambridge had their opportunities, especially the one gifted to them when the refs missed a fumble deep in Hambletonian territory late in the game, which ultimately led to Caleb Rowland's touchdown to the right side.  

But the turnovers hurt.  Badly.


The Indians had a great season, making it one step deeper than they did last year when they were knocked off by the Moriah Vikings in the regional round.

***

Syracuse-bound: For the third time in as many years, we're heading to Syracuse to cover a State Championship.  It's something I never thought would happen when we made plans to start broadcasting local high school sports, and will reflect on that more on a special "Thoughts from the Press Box" come Sunday morning.

We'll be on the air live from the Carrier Dome approximately 2:45PM, when things wrap up after the Schalmont/Maine-Endwell game.

For those who expecting the Buffalo Bills on FOX Sports Radio 1230, be advised we are moving the Bills broadcast to our sister station, CBS Sports Radio 1410 (WENU) so that we can carry the Championship game.

NYSPHSAA State Championship Schedule

All games at the Carrier Dome, Syracuse
The Western State Representative will be the home team for all five games

Class D Championship
IX-Chester Hambletonians (10-3) 41, VI-Randolph Cardinals (12-1) - 48

Class C Championship
II-Hoosick Falls Panthers (12-1) 14, IV-Chenango Forks Blue Devils (11-1) 20

Class AA Championship
IX-Newburgh Free Academy Goldbacks (10-3) 20, VI-Jamestown Red Raiders (12-1) 41

Class B Championship
II-Schalmont Sabres (12-0) vs. IV-Maine-Endwell Spartans (12-0) - Noon

Class A Championship
II-Queensbury Spartans (12-0) vs. Indian River Warriors (12-0) - 3 p.m.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Section 2 Teams Who Have Played at Syracuse


SECTION 2 TEAMS WHO HAVE PLAYED AT SYRACUSE
Since the State Tournament began in 1993
Local teams in bold; State Champions in CAPS

1993: No Section 2 representatives

1994: Rensselaer (D-lost to Caledonia-Mumford 36-20); Hudson (C-lost to Walton 28-18)

1995: Rensselaer (D-lost to Caledonia-Mumford 41-0); AMSTERDAM (B-beat Lake Shore 11-8); Shenendehowa (A-lost to Jamestown 32-18)

1996: WATERVLIET (C-beat LeRoy 20-19); Ravena (B-lost to Springville 9-0); TROY (A-beat Whitesboro 27-13)

1997: Queensbury (A-lost to Vestal 14-11); Troy (AA-lost to Fairport 35-14)

1998: Lake George (D-lost to Maple Grove 39-6)Queensbury (A-lost to Aquinas 33-16); TROY (AA-beat Fairport 26-9)

1999: CAMBRIDGE (D-beat Clymer 28-0); Troy (AA-Lost to Webster 35-18)

2000: Fort Edward (D-lost to Doldgeville 55-3)

2001: Cambridge (C-lost to Delhi 39-21)

2002: Shenendehowa (AA-lost to Webster-Schroeder 28-7)

2003: Cambridge (D-lost to Onondaga 41-21); Hoosick Falls (C-lost to Caledonia-Mumford 30-26)

2004: No Section 2 representatives

2005: Cambridge (D-lost to Randolph 35-6); AMSTERDAM (A-beat Geneva 35-14)

2006: Albany Academy (B-lost to Geneva 33-7)

2007: Lansingburgh (A-lost to Aquinas 34-12)

2008: Burnt Hills (A-lost to Sweet Home 35-28)

2009: Burnt Hills (A-lost to Sweet Home 34-7)

2010: Schalmont (B-lost to Hornell 50-20); Troy (AA-lost to Rush-Henrietta 40-28)

2011: Burnt Hills (A-lost to Maine-Endwell 27-20)

2012: HOOSICK FALLS (C-beat Hornell 34-21); Glens Falls (B-lost to Maine-Endwell 42-12); BURNT HILLS (A-beat Sweet Home 40-20)

2013: Schalmont (B-lost to Maine-Endwell 22-21); QUEENSBURY (A-beat Williamsville North 36-7)

2014: Hoosick Falls (C-lost to Chenango Forks 20-14); Schalmont (B-lost to Maine-Endwell 27-19); Queensbury (A-lost to Indian River 63-38)

2015: Greenwich (C-lost to Chenango Forks 42-7); Schuylerville (B-lost to Cazenovia 22-19); Saratoga Springs (AA-lost to Aquinas Institute 44-19)

Déjà Vu - Queensbury is Syracuse-bound again


KINGSTON - For the third time in three years, a North Country team will be playing at the Carrier Dome.

The Queensbury Spartans will play for the NYSPHSAA Class A Championship next Sunday after beating the Cornwall Green Dragons 28-21.

Tyrell Adams scored three touchdowns, including a 61 yard touchdown in the fourth quarter, to extend the Spartans lead to 28-13.

Cornwall spotted the Spartans a 14-0 lead after Brett Rodriguez set up his one yard touchdown run after somehow catching a 37 yard pass from Drew Wilson with teammate Keegan O'Leary and two Cornwall defenders also vying for the ball.

But the Green Dragons were able to drive down the field, capping a 2:22 drive with Matt Robinson's three yard touchdown run to half the deficit with 52 seconds left in the first half.  The touchdown was aided by Erik Wettersten's personal foul penalty for a hit to the head that gave the Green Dragons bonus yards.  The Spartans ran out the clock on the ensuing drive, and kicked off to the Green Dragons to start the third quarter.

But the Green Dragons were unable to do anything, and the Spartans began a punishing eight minute drive that would wear down the Green Dragons, finished by Tyrell Adams's three yard touchdown run, his second of the game.

After both teams traded six points, including Adams 61 yard run up the left side with Drew Wilson as a lead blocker, the Cornwall Green Dragons clawed within one possession with Kevin Gangemi's three yard touchdown run with 2:20 left to play.

An onside kick attempt failed, as the Spartans were able to retrieve the ball at the 45 yard line.  Cornwall then used all three of their timeouts to stop the clock, but found themselves helpless when Erik Wettersten was able to seal victory with his three yard run for the first down with less than two minutes to play.

Drew Wilson took two knees, and the Queensbury Spartans celebrated their second straight semifinal victory over the Cornwall Green Dragons.

Last year, Queensbury had to hold on, needing a Mitchell Crispens deflection on a two point conversion try that would have given Cornwall a 29-28 lead with over three minutes to play.  Instead, the Green Dragons trailed, and Kody Bruno iced the game with his touchdown run to make it 36-27.

The Queensbury Spartans have won their 25th straight game, and will face Indian River in the Championship at the Carrier Dome on Sunday.  The Warriors beat Irondequoit in the Western Semifinals 49-22.

It is the second straight trip to the Carrier Dome for Queensbury, who last year claimed the Class A title when they beat the Williamsville North Spartans (Section 6) 36-7.  This is Queensbury's fourth trip to Syracuse overall, going in back-to-back years in 1997 and 1998.

#2 CORNWALL (11-1):       0   7   0  14  21
#1 QUEENSBURY (12-0):   8   6   8   6   28


1st Quarter:
02:43 - Tyrell Adams (QSBY) - 8 yard run.  (Adams run) - 0-8

2nd Quarter:
03:14 - Brett Rodriguez (QSBY) - 1 yard run.  (kick blocked) - 0-14
00:52 - Matt Robinson (CORN) - 3 yard run.  (Growney kick) - 7-14

3rd Quarter:
0:30 - Tyrell Adams (QSBY) - 3 yard run.  (Adams run) - 7-22

4th Quarter:
09:28 - Kobie Thomas from Jason Bailey (CORN) - 8 yard pass.  (pass failed) - 13-22
05:56 - Tyrell Adams (QSBY) - 61 yard run.  (run failed) - 13-28
02:20 - Kevin Gagemi (CORN) - 3 yard run. (Peddie from Bailey pass) - 21-28

***

The NYSPHSAA Class A Championship
Queensbury Spartans (12-0) vs. Indian River Warriors (12-0)
Sunday, November 30th, 2014 - 3PM

IF YOU GO: The Carrier Dome is on the campus of Syracuse University.  Take the New York State Thruway (Interstate 90) Westbound towards Syracuse/Buffalo. 

Take Exit 36 for Interstate 81, Syracuse/Watertown.

Follow Interstate 81 South to Exit 18 (right after Interstate 690), Harrison Street/Adams Street.

Keep left for Adams Street, traveling underneath Interstate 81 for about 1/2 mile.  Take a left onto Adams Street, then look for Irving Street.  Take a right and continue for 1/2 mile until you find the parking lot on the right.

TOLLS: $4.75 from Fonda-Fultonville (Exit 28); $5.15 from Amsterdam (Exit 27); $6.35 from Albany (Exit 24)
PARKING: $10
ADMISSION: $10 (includes admission to the early game - Schalmont vs. Maine-Endwell at Noon) + fees.  [Purchase Tickets Online]

Travel Time: Approximately 3 hours.  Please bear in mind that Sunday is a major return day for travelers from the long holiday weekend, and therefore traffic may be heavier than normal on Interstate 90.

IF YOU DON'T GO: We will have the live broadcast from Syracuse on FOX Sports Radio 1230 beginning at approximately 2:45PM, depending on when the Class B Semifinal game wraps up.  

In addition, there will be television coverage on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel, Channel 50 here in the Glens Falls area.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Cambridge fumbles in Kingston, falls to Hambletonians 47-14

KINGSTON - The Cambridge Indians had three drives to start off their afternoon at Dietz Stadium in Kingston.

They all ended in turnovers.  Two fumbles and a pass intercepted, all which allowed the Chester Hambletonians to build a lead that they would not relinquish.

One of those two fumbles came on an attempt to double hand-off, as Jarred Sausville did not get firm control of the football, bouncing off the turf and recovered by a Chester defender in Hambletonian territory.  

The Cambridge Indians were able to get the ball up to the Hambletonian 23 yard line before the fumble.  

The Hambletonians were not able to generate any points from that fumble, already up 12-0, leading to the only punt between either team all game. 

Chester would add eight more before Cambridge would finally get some points on the board, but needed the help of the officials.  In the red zone, Ethan English pitched the ball over to Caleb Rowland, who ran to the right and was tackled.  He lost the football in the process, covered up by the Hambletonians.  But the referees blew the whistle too early on the forward progress, keeping the ball in Cambridge's possession.

A few plays later, Ethan English threw a ball to the left side of the end zone, but did not complete his pass as time expired in the second quarter.  However, a pass interference penalty gave Cambridge an untimed down, which they took advantage of to score their first seven points when Caleb Rowland ran the ball from the right side for the touchdown.

However, the second half became the half of Angel Suarez, churning up large quantities of yardage per play as he helped put more points on the board for the Hambletonians.  Cambridge was able to answer back once for a touchdown, but then the Hambletonians stamped their second straight trip to Syracuse with Suarez's second and third touchdowns of the half.

It put the Indians in a deep hole they were unable to get out of, as the Hambletonians went on win 47-14, setting Chester up with a rematch of last year's State Championship as they face the Randolph Cardinals next Saturday at Noon.

The Cambridge Indians finished with five fumbles.  Ethan English was not able to show off some of his magic that he showed teams in Section 2 after their other loss this season when they lost to the Whitehall Railroaders 21-19 on a soggy afternoon in October.  

Friday, November 21, 2014

On The Road Again: Heading to Kingston

On the road again.

We're hitting the road to catch today's Class D and Class A Semifinal games featuring the Cambridge Indians and the Queensbury Spartans.

We'll be tweeting during the Cambridge Indians/Chester Hambletonians game a plenty, so follow us on Twitter for game updates.

During the Queensbury Spartans/Cornwall Green Dragons game, our tweeting ability will be limited due to the on-air broadcast, so please be sure to follow The Post-Star's Pete Tobey for continuing updates.

We'll be on-air live at 7:45PM from Dietz Stadium for the broadcast of the Queensbury/Cornwall game.

GAME PREVIEW: Queensbury vs. Cornwall

Dietz Stadium in Kingston
©2012 FOX Sports Radio 1230/WMML-AM
It's déjà vu.

Without the 50 degree evening.

It'll be about 30 degrees colder when the Queensbury Spartans take to the field to play the Cornwall Green Dragons tonight at 8 p.m. at Dietz Stadium in Kingston.

But otherwise what both teams will see are almost carbon copies from what they saw last year when the two teams met in last year's Class A State Semifinal game at Dietz.

Queensbury won that game, 36-27, on their way to the State Championship the following week.

In that game, Cornwall leaned towards their passing game, trying to beat the Queensbury secondary with wide routes.  Mike White, Cornwall's star quarterback, threw 7-for-10 for 128 yards and 2 touchdowns until an injury sidelined him for the remainder of the game.  Jason Bailey came on in relief, completing 9 of his 15 passes for 144 yards.

130 of those yards on 8 catches were completed to Kobie Thomas, Matt Robinson caught 6 passes for 110 yards and Tyler Peddie caught 2 for 31 yards.

All four of those players are still on the roster for the Cornwall Green Dragons.  Jason Bailey has completed 161 of his 240 passes this year, with nearly 2,400 yards.  He has thrown 30 touchdowns against 7 interceptions.  Tyler Peddie has become Bailey's favorite deep target, catching 29 passes for 615 yards.  14 of those 29 passes were brought in for a touchdown.

Kobie Thomas has caught the most passes from Bailey, catching 42 passes for 531 yards and 6 touchdowns.  Matt Robinson has 531 receiving yards this year, scoring 6 touchdowns.  His 88 yards against Rye was the most of the regular receivers for first-year coach Michael Connolly's squad.

The receiver Queensbury didn't see last year is senior Mike Reilly.  He has 433 receiving yards on 35 catches this year, finding the end zone 4 times.

The rushing attack for Cornwall is led by Kevin Gangemi, who has churned up 1,039 yards on 181 carries, scoring 13 times for the Green Dragons.

For Queensbury, Brett Rodriguez scored two touchdowns last year, rushing for 103 yards on 10 carries.  Erik Wettersten and Chris Goudy also had carries for John Irion's offense.

This year, Tyrell Adams has taken over the reigns as leading rusher, surpassing Rodriguez in weeks 8 and 9 when Rodriguez's play was limited due to a shoulder injury.  Tyrell Adams has 963 yards on 75 carries this year, scoring 15 touchdowns on the ground.  He scored one against Massena last week on the ground, and caught passes from Drew Wilson and Brett Rodriguez for two more trips to the endzone.  Brett Rodriguez has 828 rushing yards this year, scoring 11 touchdowns on 74 carries.  He had two carries for 65 yards, scoring a touchdown on one of those carries, and threw for a touchdown as well.

Erik Wettersten had a season high 23 yards per carry and two touchdowns when he carried for 69 yards on three carries in the Spartans 48-0 win over the Massena Red Raiders.  He has 376 yards on 52 carries.  And Chris Goudy has 526 rushing yards for Queensbury.

The Spartans come in with 3,731 rushing yards and 360 passing yards.  The Green Dragons have nearly 2,400 passing yards, and just short of 1,600 rushing yards.

But the Green Dragons have never beat Section 2 in the State Semifinals.  In four of the last five years, the Green Dragons have made it to Dietz, only to see their season come to an end at the hands of Section 2.  In 2009, 2011 and 2012 it was because of Burnt Hills.  Last year, their season came to an end at the hands of the Queensbury Spartans.

The Green Dragons does have a win over a Section 2 opponent this year, beating Amsterdam 50-7 at the Carrier Dome in Week 1.

***

IF YOU GO:  Dietz Stadium is just off Washington Avenue about a mile from the traffic circle that links Route 28 and 587 with the New York State Thruway.

Take Interstate 87 south to Exit 1W, hopping on the New York State Thruway south towards New York City.

Take Exit 19, Route 28 for Kingston.  The toll will be $2.70.

When you enter the traffic circle, you will want the second exit for Washington Avenue.  Exit onto the road and travel about 1 mile.  Dietz Stadium will be on your right, across the road from a Greyhound Bus Station.

Parking is free, however could be limited as the Class D Semifinal game precedes the Queensbury game which Cambridge will be taking on Chester at 4PM.

This year Section 2 will be treated as the home team for all except the Class AA Semifinal, so you'll be sitting on the right side of the stadium where the press box is set up.

IF YOU DON'T GO:  We'll have coverage of the Class A State Semifinals beginning at 7:45PM live from Dietz Stadium on FOX Sports Radio 1230.  In addition, the game will be carried on the other local radio station as well as television coverage on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel (Channel 50 on most Time-Warner Cable systems) beginning at 8PM.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

NYSPHSAA State Semifinals Schedule (as of 11/20)

Here's the schedule for this weekend's State Semifinals, which are being played in Rochester and Kingston.  There have already been three schedule changes announced out west, as lake-effect snow has hindered travel out that way.

This year, with the exception of the Class AA game, Section 2 will be noted as the home team for the Eastern Semifinals.  In the Class AA game, Newburgh Free Academy will be recognized as the home team, with Shenendehowa being the away team.

We'll be live in Kingston tweeting as the Cambridge Indians take on the Chester Hambletonians on Friday, and then on-air as the Queensbury Spartans take on the Cornwall Green Dragons.

Coverage for our live broadcast will begin at 7:45PM on FOX Sports Radio 1230.

SEMIFINALS SCHEDULE
Eastern Semifinals at Dietz Stadium, Kingston
Western Semifinals at Sahlen's Stadium, Rochester
Friday, November 21st

Class D
East: Chester (9-2) vs. Cambridge (10-1) - 4PM
West: Tioga (10-1) vs. Randolph (10-1) - 5PM

Class A
East: Cornwall (11-0) vs. Queensbury (11-0) - 8PM

Saturday, November 22nd

Class C
East: Millbrook (8-2) vs. Hoosick Falls (11-0) - 11AM
West: Maple Grove/Chautauqua Lake (11-0) vs. Chenango Forks (10-1) - Noon

Class B
East: Marlboro (9-2) vs. Schalmont (11-0) - 3PM

Class AA
West: Henninger (11-0) vs. Jamestown (10-1) - 4PM
East: Shenendehowa (11-0) vs. Newburgh Free Academy (8-2) - 7PM

Sunday, November 23rd


Class A
West: Irondequoit (11-0) vs. Indian River (11-0) - Noon

Class B
West: Cheektowaga (9-2) vs. Maine-Endwell (11-0) - 3PM

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Spartans Freeze Red Raiders Offense, Advance To Semifinals

POTSDAM - Coach John Irion of the Queensbury Spartans talked this week about wanting a faster start after last year's game.

He got it, as the Queensbury Spartans scored 34 before the half, and added another 14 in the second half as the Spartans kept the Massena Red Raiders offense silent with the 48-0 shutout at Potsdam High School.

After a three-and-out to begin the game, the Queensbury Spartans took advantage of a 60 yard pass from Drew Wilson to Tyrell Adams to give the Spartans a 7-0 lead two minutes into the game.  On the ensuing kickoff, an attempt by Matt Thibault to hand-off to Josh Manley failed, resulting in a fumble that went Queensbury's way.

Tyrell Adams took the following play in for a 5 yard touchdown, only 13 seconds after the first score.

The Spartans made it 20-0 a couple minutes later Erik Wettersten ran in from four yards out.

Brett Rodriguez would score his first of two touchdowns through the air when he connected with Tyrell Adams on the option pass from 45 yards out, to cap the first quarter scoring at 27.

The Spartans also got touchdowns by Erik Wettersten, Brett Rodriguez and Sean Doran.

Massena couldn't catch many breaks, going three-and-out several times, and turned the ball over on a few occasions.  Junior Quarterback Maddox Merry overthrew his receivers on several occasions, and the runs of Josh Manley, Isaiah Dillabough and Jason Zembek all were kept well short of their averages.

The win improves the Spartans to 11-0, and sets up a rematch of last year's State Semifinals as they face the Cornwall Green Dragons, who on Saturday defeated the Rye Garnets 21-17 to advance.  That game will be Friday night, 8 p.m. at Dietz Stadium in Kingston, and will be aired live on FOX Sports Radio 1230 as well as on television on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Queensbury vs Massena - 7PM at Potsdam High

We're heading out the door for the long trek up north to catch the Queensbury Spartans as they open the state playoffs against the Massena Red Raiders.

Our coverage begins at 6:45PM on FOX Sports Radio 1230.

We'll be tweeting some at @WMML1230, so follow along as we see if the Queensbury Spartans can make it back-to-back trips to Dietz Stadium in Kingston for the State Semifinals.

Week 11: NYSPHSAA Regional Football Schedule

Tonight kicks off the State Regionals (Quarterfinals) weekend, as the field in all five classifications works down to the four teams that will be playing in Kingston (Eastern Semifinals) and Rochester (Western Semifinals) next weekend.

Here, courtesy of Pete Tobey and the Post-Star, is the schedule for this weekend's games.

Number to the left of the team represents the section they are representing.

CLASS AA
2-Shenendehowa (10-0) vs. 1-John Jay-East Fishkill (9-1) - Saturday, 7PM at Dietz Stadium, Kingston
9-Newburgh Free Academy (8-2) - Bye

Eastern Semis: Saturday, November 22nd at 7PM at Dietz Stadium, Kingston


4-Corning (9-1) vs 3-Henninger (10-0) - Saturday, 3PM at Cicero-North Syracuse High School
5-Victor (9-1) vs. 6-Jamestown (9-1) - Saturday, 6PM at All High Stadium, Buffalo

Western Semis: Saturday, November 22nd at 6PM at Sahlen's Stadium, Rochester

CLASS A
2-Queensbury (10-0) vs. 10-Massena (5-4) - Friday, 7PM at Potsdam High School
9-Cornwall (10-0) vs. 1-Rye (9-1) - Saturday, Noon at Mahopac High School

Eastern Semis: Friday, November 21st at 8PM at Dietz Stadium, Kingston

4-Union-Endicott (3-6) vs. 3-Indian River (10-0) - Friday, 7PM at Cicero-North Syracuse High School
5-Irondequoit (7-3) vs. 6-Sweet Home (9-1) - Friday, 8PM at All High Stadium, Buffalo

Western Semis: Friday, November 21st at 8PM at Sahlen's Stadium, Rochester

CLASS B
7-Peru (10-0) vs. 2-Schalmont (10-0) - Friday, 7PM at Shenendehowa High School, Clifton Park
1-Our Lady of Lourdes (8-1) vs. 9-Marlboro (8-2) - Friday, 7PM at Dietz Stadium, Kingston

Eastern Semis: Saturday, November 22nd at 3PM at Dietz Stadium, Kingston

4-Maine-Endwell (10-0) vs. 3-Homer (10-0) - Saturday, 6PM at Cicero-North Syracuse High School
5-Batavia (9-1) vs. 6-Cheektowaga (8-2) - Saturday, 3PM at All High Stadium, Buffalo

Western Semis: Saturday, November 22nd at 3PM at Sahlen's Stadium, Rochester

CLASS C
2-Hoosick Falls (10-0) vs. 7-Saranac Lake (9-1) - Saturday, 1PM at AuSable Valley High School
9-Millbrook (7-2) vs. 1-Woodlands (4-4) - Saturday, 3:30PM at Mahopac High School

Eastern Semis: Saturday, November 22nd at 11AM at Dietz Stadium, Kingston

4-Chenango Forks (9-1) vs. 3-Utica-Notre Dame (9-1) - Saturday, Noon at Cicero-North Syracuse High School
5-LeRoy (10-0) vs. 6-Maple Grove/Chautauqua Lake (10-0) - Saturday, Noon at All High Stadium, Buffalo

Western Semis: Saturday, November 22nd at Noon at Sahlen's Stadium, Rochester.

CLASS D
7-Ticonderoga (7-3) vs. 2-Cambridge (9-1) - Saturday, 1PM at Schuylerville High School
1-Tuckahoe (6-3) vs. 9-Chester (8-2) - Saturday, 3PM at Dietz Stadium, Kingston

Eastern Semis: Friday, November 21st at 4PM at Dietz Stadium, Kingston

4-Tioga (9-1) vs. 3-Dolgeville (9-1) - Friday, 5PM at Cicero-North Syracuse High School
5-Red Jacket (10-0) vs. 6-Randolph (9-1) - Friday, 5PM at All-High Stadium, Buffalo

Western Semis: Friday, November 21st at 5PM at Sahlen's Stadium, Rochester

Thoughts from the Press Box: Saying Goodbye

CLIFTON PARK - As the last of the fans began to leave Steuerwald Field, an empty feeling began to fill Shenendehowa High School.

It was twenty minutes after Queensbury finished the Burnt Hills Spartans season, winning the Class A Super Bowl 34-13 to advance to the State Tournament.

The custodial staff was cleaning up the debris left by the fans.

The Times Union reporter James Allen was interviewing coach Matt Shell for his newspaper article.

And one player, kneeing on the five yard line.

Like several of his teammates, Danny Maynard had his high school football career come to an end on Saturday night.  Unlike those other teammates, Maynard spent the last minutes before boarding the bus back to Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School kneeing on the field.

It's then when you realize.   It's tough saying "goodbye".

Even if you are a successful athlete who will be playing sports during his collegiate career.  Maynard signed a National Letter of Intent this week to play collegiate baseball at Notre Dame as a catcher.

Danny Maynard was a member of the 2012 Burnt Hills State Championship team.  In fact, he was the State Class A Most Valuable Player that year as a Sophomore, and has seen his game improved over the years.  Coach Shell, when I spoke to him prior to the first meeting in Week 7, had nothing but outstanding things to say about Maynard.

In fact ... maybe all those accolades he has earned made it harder to say "goodbye".

Danny Maynard did not play in the Exceptional Seniors bowl at Shenendehowa this week, which made this game his true exit from the game he played exceptionally well.

So the last image of him on the football field will be this.  Whatever comes of his baseball career moving onto Notre Dame after his senior year this upcoming Spring, we wish Danny Maynard a lot of success.

He's earned it.

And it's images like this that makes you realize what goes through the minds of our local athletes when they realize their high school football career comes to an end.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Queensbury Adjusts To Sectional Title

CLIFTON PARK - The Queensbury Spartans made some adjustments during the half.

It only took 1:29 for it to pay off.  After coming out of the locker room up 8-6, the Queensbury Spartans showed off their offensive adjustments, as Tyrell Adams scored on a 56 yard run to extend the Spartans lead to 14-6.

It was the first of 19 straight points for Queensbury as they would win their second straight Class A Sectional Championship title over the Burnt Hills Spartans 34-13.

Queensbury will now travel north to face the Massena Red Raiders, the Section X representative, up at Potsdam High School on Friday, November 14th.

For the first 25 minutes, the game felt like it was going to be very tight and close, like last year's Sectional Championship where the Queensbury Spartans won on a last minute Kody Bruno touchdown to win 14-7.

The first quarter ended with no score, helped by Tyrell Adams picking off John Clayton in the end zone to snuff out a Burnt Hills drive.  But Queensbury was unable to do anything with the ball, and gave it back to Burnt Hills.

Erik Wettersten broke the scoreless tie with his 56 yard run, and Brett Rodriguez ran the ball in for the two point conversion to give Queensbury a 8-0 lead.

Queensbury's next drive ended in their own territory with the decision to go for it on fourth down.  But Brett Rodriguez was unable to make it to the marker, giving the Burnt Hills Spartans the ball at the Queensbury 27 yard line.

A couple minutes later, John Clayton hooked up with Brendan VanAllen for the two yard touchdown reception, but the two point conversion run failed to leave the southern Spartans trailing 8-6.

But the third quarter was big for Queensbury.  After Tyrell Adams's score, Burnt Hills was unable to answer back.  With less than three minutes left to play in the quarter, Drew Wilson fired his first pass to Brett Rodriguez, who scored from 6 yards out to pad Queensbury's lead to 20-6.

In the fourth quarter, Brett Rodriguez scored on a 17 yard run to give Queensbury a comfortable 27-6 lead, which became valuable when Burnt Hills scored on a one-handed Patrick Brown grab on a John Clayton pass to score from 45 yards out to return the game to a two possession lead for Queensbury.

But Drew Wilson's second pass of the game, a 39 yard reception to a wide-open Brett Rodriguez, sealed the victory for the Queensbury Spartans.

For the second straight year, the Burnt Hills Spartans season comes to an end at the hands of the Queensbury Spartans in the Sectional Championship.

And for the second straight year, the Queensbury Spartans will face the Massena Red Raiders in the State Regionals.

Burnt Hills Spartans 0 6 0 7 13
Queensbury Spartans 0 8 12 14 34

1st Quarter:
No Scoring

2nd Quarter:
8:30 - Erik Wettersten (QSBY) - 56 yard run.  (Rodriguez run) - 8-0
3:23 - Brendan VanAllen from John Clayton (BH) - 2 yard pass.  (run failed) - 8-6

3rd Quarter:
10:31 - Tyrell Adams (QSBY) - 56 yard run.  (run failed) - 14-6
2:38 - Brett Rodriguez from Drew Wilson (QSBY) - 6 yard pass.  (pass failed) - 20-6

4th Quarter:
6:10 - Brett Rodriguez (QSBY) - 17 yard run.  (Escamilla kick) - 27-6
4:06 - Patrick Brown from John Clayton (BH) - 45 yard pass.  (Perregaux kick) - 27-13
3:22 - Brett Rodriguez from Drew Wilson (QSBY) - 39 yard pass.  (Escamilla kick) - 34-13

STATS - Stats are those we kept in our radio booth and are not official stats.
RUSHING:
Burnt Hills: Danny Maynard: 19-79 (long: 17); John Clayton: 6-5 (long: 5); Mike Leveroni: 2-1; Tyler Dowdle: 2-12 (long: 7)
Queensbury: Brett Rodriguez: 13-74-1 (long: 17); Tyrell Adams: 13-91-1 (long: 56); Erik Wettersten: 6-86 (long: 56); Chris Goudy: 4-5; Drew Wilson: 1-6; Hunter Scott: 1-(2); James Kassebaum: 1-(5)

PASSING:
Burnt Hills: John Clayton: 13-30-145; 2TD/INT (long: 45)
Queensbury: Drew Wilson: 2-2-45; 2TD (long: 39)

RECEIVING:
Burnt Hills: Tyler Dowdle: 6-37 (long: 17); Patrick Brown: 4-45 TD (long: 45); Brendan VanAllen: 1-2 TD; Mike Leveroni: 2-48 TD
Queensbury: Brett Rodriguez: 2-45 2TD

©2014 FOX Sports Radio 1230/WMML-AM  All rights reserved

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Sectional Championships across New York: Scoreboard (updated 11/9)

With the close of the Sectional Championships comes the NYSPHSAA Tournament.

Below are the results (through Saturday night) and the other games still to be played in the Sectional Championships across New York State, as originally compiled by the hard-working folks at the NYSSWA.

The format for the State Tournament is as follows:

STATE REGIONALS:
Class AA:
Section 1 vs. Section 2 - at Dietz
Section 9 - Bye into Semifinals
Section 3 vs. Section 4
Section 5 vs. Section 6

Class A:
Section 1 vs. Section 9
Section 2 vs. Section 10 (Massena)
Section 3 vs. Section 4
Section 5 vs. Section 6

All other classes:
Section 1 vs. Section 9
Section 2 vs. Section 7/10 winner
Section 3 vs. Section 4
Section 5 vs. Section 6

Eastern Semifinals is Sections 1/9 vs. Sections 2/7/10 at Dietz Stadium, Kingston
Western Semifinals is Section 3/4 vs. Section 5/6 at Sahlen's Stadium, Rochester

Championships at the Carrier Dome, Syracuse

SECTIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
CLASS AA
Section 1 Championship
John Jay (East Fishkill) (9-1) 13, Arlington (8-2) 3
Section 2 Championship
Shenendehowa (10-0) 25, Albany CBA (8-2) 20
Section 3 Championship
Henninger (9-0) vs. Liverpool (9-0) at Carrier Dome, Sunday, 5 p.m.
Section 4 Championship
Elmira (7-3) 0, Corning (9-1) 16
Section 5 Championship
Victor (9-1) 23, Pittsford (6-4) 0
Section 6 Championship
Jamestown (10-0) 34, Orchard Park (8-2) 14
Section 9 Championship
Monroe-Woodbury (7-3) 7, Newburgh Free (8-2) 15 (OT)

CLASS A
Section 1 Championship
Yorktown (9-1) 14, Rye (9-1) 35
Section 2 Championship
Queensbury (10-0) 34, Burnt Hills (7-3) 13
Section 3 Championship
Indian River (10-0) 40, East Syracuse-Minoa (6-4) 6
Section 4 Championship 
Vestal (4-5) 7, Union-Endicott (3-6) 28
Section 5 Championship
Greece Athena (8-2) 22, Irondequoit (7-3) 29
Section 6 Championship
Sweet Home (9-1) 27, South Park/MEC (8-2) 18
Section 9 Championship
Cornwall (10-0) 40, Port Jervis (6-4) 0
Section 10 Championship
Massena (5-4) - only Class A team in Section 10

CLASS B
Section 1 Championship
Our Lady of Lourdes (8-1) 18, Nanuet (7-2) 14 (last week)
Section 2 Championship
Schalmont (10-0) 40, Schuylerville (9-1) 8
Section 3 Championship
Cazenovia (9-0) vs. Homer (9-0) at Carrier Dome, Sunday, 2:30 p.m.
Section 4 Championship
Maine-Endwell (10-0) 48, Norwich (6-4) 20
Section 5 Championship
Livonia (8-2) 14, Batavia (9-1) 15
Section 6 Championship
Bennett/Olmsted (9-1) 34, Cheektowaga (8-2) 40
Section 7/10 Playoff
Peru (10-0) 59, Franklin Academy (3-7) 6
Section 9 Championship
Marlboro (8-2) 25, Burke Catholic (8-2) 13

CLASS C 
Section 2 Championship
Hoosick Falls (10-0) 31, Fonda-Fultonville (8-2) 14
Section 3 Championship
Herkimer (9-0) vs. Notre Dame (8-1) at Carrier Dome, Sunday, 11 a.m.
Section 4 Championship
Chenango Forks (9-1) 42, Newark Val. (7-3) 21
Section 5 Championship
LeRoy (10-0) 34, Bath (8-2) 24
Section 6 Championship
Maple Grove/Chau. Lake (10-0) 37, Southwestern (7-2) 7
Section 7/10 Playoff
Saranac Lake (9-1) 34, Ogdensburg Free Academy (9-1) 26
Section 9 Championship
Millbrook (7-2) 24, Sullivan West (8-2) 0

CLASS D 
Section 1 Championship
Tuckahoe (6-3) 40, Haldane (4-5) 0
Section 2 Championship
Cambridge/Salem (9-1) 42, Whitehall (7-3) 0
Section 3 Championship
Sandy Creek (8-2) 25, Dolgeville (8-1) 26
Section 4 Championship
Tioga (9-1) 43, Unatego/Franklin (8-2) 13
Section 5 Championship
Red Jacket (10-0) 52, Avon (6-4) 6
Section 6 Championship
Randolph (9-1) 28, Franklinville/Ellicottville/West Valley (8-2) 0
Section 7/10 Playoff
Ticonderoga (7-3) 41, Tupper Lake (3-7) 13
Section 9 Championship
Chester (8-2) 55, Livingston Manor (6-4) 0