Monday, March 10, 2014

2014 Football: Most intriguing and interesting matchups

Now that Regionals are done, we have a chance to talk football.  Section 2 has released the 2014 football schedules. The full list can be found here (AA and A) and here (B, C and D).

Like we did last year, here's our thoughts on the most intriguing and interesting games week-by-week.

Class AA: Guilderland at Colonie - Games that involve two teams who met in the playoffs are always a nice draw, especially when they ended the way last year's postseason battle did.

Guilderland won last year's quarterfinal on a last-second field goal after Colonie tied the game up with less than two minutes left.

While we cannot guarantee the same this time around, both teams will get to see how they look, competition-wise, at the end of 48 minutes.

Class B: Cohoes at Broadalbin-Perth - Like with Guilderland/Colonie, this gives us a rematch of a last year playoff game.

Broadalbin-Perth shocked the top seed of the Reinfurt division last year after a furious 2nd quarter comeback that sent the Patriots to Shenendehowa for the Super Bowl, and the Tigers wondering what could have been.

Class B: Glens Falls at Schalmont - Unlike the two games above, this doesn't involve a couple of teams who made the playoffs last year.

But what it does involve, are two teams hoping to make a statement in a non-conference game, as Schalmont moves to the Reinfurt to balance the league's conferences.  Schalmont was 30 seconds removed from a championship last year when a gutsy Maine-Endwell drive ended with a touchdown and a 2 point conversion.  The Sabres will be without their all-time leading rusher, Devon Willis, but will make up for it with Hunter Gac and Nick Gallo.  The Indians are trying to restructure their squad into the team that made it to the Carrier Dome two seasons ago, having barely making the playoffs last year to continue their 15 year streak thanks to scoreboard watching.

Class C: Corinth at Lake George/Hadley-Luzurne - The last time these two teams met was 2011, when both teams met in a crossover game at the end of the season.

The merging of the Lake George program with Hadley-Luzurne ensures football will be played in the Village of Lake George for years to come.  While the expense of this rivalry is the end of the Lake George/Warrensburg rivalry for the time being, the combined squads can now renew a rivalry with the Tomahawks.

Class A: Queensbury at Troy - For both teams, it will be a different look than what we saw last year.

Queensbury lost some, but not all of their running core that made up their 2013 State Championship squad.  They'll still have Brett Rodriguez and Erik Wettersten.  Plus the play we saw from the next-in-line during late games also gives us reasons to think nothing but good things for the Spartans.

Troy will feature a new look, now that their longtime coach, Jack Burger, will no longer be on the sidelines. They also will no longer have the help of Joe Germinerio under center, as he, and his brothers, have transferred to LaSalle Institute.  With a new coach, and a new quarterback, it'll be interesting to see how Troy enters this game.

There'll be a lot of eyes watching that week one Averill Park/Troy game for that sole reason.

Class B: Cohoes at Schalmont - Last year's #1 seeds meet up in what could turn out to be a huge deciding factor on how the Reinfurt Division will turn out.

In addition, two new entries into Class C get tested against the top teams of the class as Lake George/Hadley-Luzurne meet up with Hoosick Falls at home, and Schoburg travels to Chatham.  Both of those games will give the newbies a chance to know what they're up against in this classification.

Class A: Burnt Hills at Troy - Let's look back to Week 2 of the 2013 season.

Fresh off a loss to Queensbury, Troy returned home to face the Burnt Hills Spartans.  On what could be nicely said as a "rainy" night, the two teams battled the elements.  Troy had struck first, and held Burnt Hills scoreless until they were finally able to find the end zone in the 4th Quarter.

The two teams then continued their battle into the overtime series, then finally in the 4th Overtime series, Jash Quesada broke through the Troy defense and scored the game-winning touchdown.

The two teams would once again meet in the Sectional Semifinals, with the Spartans claiming victory on a night that was much dryer than the first meeting last year.

Class C: Granville at Corinth - One of Corinth's two regular-season losses last year came against Granville, and it wasn't pretty.

They want revenge, and they'll have their chance to produce it when these two teams meet in Week 3.

Class D: Rensselaer at Cambridge - Lately, it has come down to these two teams when determining the Southern Division champion.  And not only the division.

Last year's top two teams came to Rensselaer and Cambridge.  Entering the 2012 playoffs, it was these two as the top two in Class D, before Cambridge got shocked by Salem .

With only four playoff spots up for grabs this year, this game could be very important.

Class AA: Saratoga Springs at Shenendehowa - Last year, Saratoga Springs controlled throughout as they knocked off Shenendehowa, forcing the Plainsmen into a must-win game against the Bethlehem Eagles for the last playoff spot.

Both teams have tough roads and could enter this game needing a win to keep their dreams of a playoff berth alive.

Class A: Scotia at Queensbury - The last time these two teams met, it was in the 2012 playoffs, with the Queensbury Spartans winning in a rain-delayed quarterfinal that set up a semifinal meeting of the Spartans.

With Scotia dropping to Class B for the 2013 season, these two did not get the chance to meet, but will get the opportunity to do so here.

Class A/B interclass: Schalmont at Burnt Hills - The Sabres are 27-1 in the regular season since the start of the 2010 season, with that lone loss coming against Burnt Hills in a non-league game in Week 2 of the 2012 season.

The Sabres will get a chance to avenge that 37-0 loss with a trip to Burnt Hills in a non-league game.

Class B: Cohoes at Glens Falls - These two opposite division teams met last season in Week 8, when the top-seeded Tigers finished off the Indians.

For the Indians this will be another measuring stick to see how far they have come since last season.

Class C: Fonda at Chatham - Last year these two finished 1-2 in the south.  Fonda's lone divisional loss came at the hands of the Panthers, who soundly beat the Braves 44-14.

Class D: Whitehall at Warrensburg - Last year it came down to these two teams to settle who would pick up the #3 and #4 seeds in the North Division.  This year, these two teams meet mid-season, and it could come down to this game when settling the dust in the division.

Warrensburg won the game last year in a game that was shortened by 4 seconds due to a injury to a Railroader during a pass play.  It was a game that Whitehall had in control through the half, but then costly mistakes by Justin Hoagland allowed Warrensburg to come back for the victory.

Class B: Hudson Falls at Glens Falls - Last year in this blog, I wrote how it was the Jug Game, enough said.  While that sentiment will always carry with me regardless of the year, let's talk about this game in further detail.

In last year's edition of the Jug Game, Hudson Falls was poised to win, but a late storming comeback by the Indians, aided by some personal foul penalties by the Tigers, allowed Glens Falls to maintain the Jug.  This, in turn, kept their playoffs alive.

Glens Falls may be needing a pick-me-up entering this week depending on their early-season encounter with Broadalbin-Perth and non-conference games against Schalmont and Cohoes.  Hudson Falls will want some momentum for their following week games against Class A's Mohonasen and Broadalbin-Perth as they wrap up the season with three straight away games.

Class B: Ravena at Schalmont - Schalmont is used to playing Ravena.  That's because the Sabres have played the Indians the last five years in a row, four of which have come in the Sectional Playoffs.

This, however, will be the first time these two teams meet as conference-mates.

Class C: Hoosic Falls at Corinth - These two met last year with the divisional title on the line in Week 7.  This year, however, sees this game played out two weeks earlier.  That doesn't mean this game will be any less intense, as both teams could come into this game still seeking an undefeated season.

Class D: Cambridge at Whitehall - Last year the Railroaders had to play Cambridge in the first round of sectionals, with rough results.  It'll be interesting to see where the Railroaders position themselves through the season.

It could very well be a preview of the playoffs.

Class AA: CBA at Saratoga - Saratoga's loss to CBA last year made the difference as CBA claimed the #1 seed in the tournament, and Saratoga became the #2 on the tiebreaker.

Class A: Troy at Amsterdam - Now as divisional rivals, these two teams meet in Week 6 in a match that could determine who gets the #1 and #2 seeds in the southeast division.

Class AA: Guilderland at Shenendehowa - Sometimes early-season games can come back to haunt or help you.  Case in point with the Dutchmen.  Last year's win over the Plainsmen set the Dutchmen up to be the #3 seed, which gave them an away game at Colonie to which they won, earning them a spot in the semifinals.

While we don't know if Guilderland could have beaten Shaker in the #4 v. #1 match, the moral of the story here is that the Dutchmen got where they were last year because of one win in particular.

This year could come down to a difference in seedings as well, and how appropriate it's the final game of the regular season for these two squads.

Class AA: Colonie at Shaker - The 2014 renewal of the Colonie Cup is like 2013, the final game of the regular season for both squads.  Last year's match determined who would be the #1 and #2 seeds.

Class A: Troy at Lansingburgh - These two schools haven't had the opportunity to play each other much, which is a shame given their close proximity to each other.  But that will change as both squads are Class A schools.

The last time these two met, was in 2011 when the Flying Horses came away with the 26-0 win.

Class A: Queensbury at Burnt Hills - It doesn't matter which 2013 battle of the Spartans you remember - the epic game at Queensbury where an extra point going off the uprights made the difference between overtime and Queensbury winning, or the Super Bowl match that was settled with 80 seconds left to play when Kody Bruno stutter-stepped his way to the end zone to give Queensbury the lead for good.

It doesn't matter that these two are playing in a non-conference game.

What matters is that these two are playing each other.  And that this could easily be a preview of things to come in the Class A Sectionals.

That isn't to say that any other game won't be interesting.  But these are the match ups that caught our eye when the schedule was released.  As in the case of 2013, we will look over our options and disclose our plans for live broadcasting of high school football in a few months.

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