Week 3 gives us the opportunity to see some of the top teams separate themselves from the pack. Some did it better than others, while some teams picked up badly-needed wins to keep their playoff chances afloat. While there's still a lot of football to be played, we have a better understanding on which teams will be playing meaningful games come Week 8 (9 in Class D) and which teams won't.
So here are the teams that made great strides (Winners) this past week, and those who stumbled some (Losers).
WINNERS: Shaker Blue Bison (2-1) - The Shaker Blue Bison didn't just beat Schenectady on Friday night, they dominated them in a fashion that will return the Blue Bison in the discussion on who should be playoff contenders. Matt Woods was a strong part of the attack, completing 12 of 18 passes for 239 yards in a better effort than we had seen from him in the previous two games (combined 12 for 33, 154 yards).
LOSERS: Schenectady Patriots (2-1) - Entering 2-0, the Patriots had the opportunity to show they are playoff worthy after missing last year. While this one game won't break the Patriots season, getting shut out by Shaker after a great effort in the raw and rainy conditions at Bob Ford Field against Albany gives Mark Cerrone and his assistant coaches plenty to think about heading into another tough tussle this Friday against Bethlehem.
GAMES TO WATCH:
Saratoga Springs (2-1) at Shenendehowa (3-0) - The 2014 version of this rivalry is emphasized by Shenendehowa's return to the top of the ladder, sporting a 3-0 record after last week's win against CBA. Saratoga Springs dropped their second week game to Shaker, but bounced back soundly as they knocked off Guilderland last week.
Bethlehem (3-0) at Schenectady (2-1) - The Patriots got a rough awakening when they got shut out by Shaker last week. Bethlehem needed a late comeback to persevere over winless La Salle. If the team that soundly beat Ballston Spa and Albany shows up, the Patriots could make this a tight battle with the current leader of the Liberty Division.
WINNERS: Bishop Maginn Golden Griffins (3-0) - How nice it was for Joe Grasso to win his 200th career game at home when the Golden Griffins won against Mohonasen. And after a pair of rocky seasons, Bishop Maginn is among the top teams in the Southeastern Division. Granted the hardest part of their season is still ahead, with games against Troy, Amsterdam and Averill Park still to come, but if the Golden Griffins pick up a win in at least one of those three, they'll be in good position for a playoff berth and possibly their first winning season since 2011.
Averill Park Warriors (2-1) - The Warriors never led until when it mattered most as they outgunned Amsterdam on Friday night. The boost was much needed for the Warriors, who in Week 1 lost to Troy in a game which the Warriors held a 14-0 lead entering the 4th Quarter.
LOSERS: Amsterdam Rugged Rams (1-2) - Critics were hard on Amsterdam in Week 1 when they lost to the Cornwall Green Dragons at the Carrier Dome. Those same critics are shining even brighter after giving up 58 points to Averill Park in a game that turned into a shootout. While the Cornwall loss is understandable (the Green Dragons advanced to the State Semifinals at Kingston last year and played a close match against Queensbury), the hard-fought loss to Averill Park stings even more.
GAMES TO WATCH:
Burnt Hills (3-0) at Schalmont (B) (3-0) - These two titans of their respective classes met last in 2012, with Burnt Hills winning 37-0 on their way to winning the state title. They started slow against Scotia, but easily took care of Green Tech and Troy the last two weeks. Schalmont has rolled over their competition this year, and will appreciate the test to see how far the Sabres have come since last year's trip to the Carrier Dome. Both teams will be in for a battle on both sides of the ball.
Bishop Maginn (3-0) at Averill Park (2-1) - Bishop Maginn got to celebrate Joe Grasso's 200th win on home turf last week, and has coasted their way through the first three weeks of the season. But they're going to get tested between now and the end of the regular season, with the first test coming at Averill Park. The Warriors come in after an offensive battle with the Amsterdam Rugged Rams and are hoping that momentum will carry them to their third divisional win of the season. A win will put the Warriors in good position for a top seed in the Southeast Division with only one divisional game left on their schedule.
WINNERS: Schuylerville Black Horses (3-0) - The Black Horses are now one win away from matching their win total from the last two seasons, and now are the favorites to walk away with the #1 seed in the Western Division. The last time Schuylerville got to play in Week 10 was in 2008, when they were a Class C squad who fell to Watervliet in the Super Bowl.
Glens Falls Indians (1-2) - The Glens Falls Indians gave their season a much-needed shot in the arm with their 27-7 win over Cobleskill to win their first game of the season. After starting the season with three straight road games, the Indians get to stay home the rest of the regular season. With Broadalbin-Perth already out of the way, a pair of wins during this homestand should catapult the Indians into the playoffs for the 16th straight year, the fourth longest active streak in Section 2.
LOSERS: Cobleskill-Richmondville (1-2) - The Bulldogs looked good against Hudson, but failed to solve the Miner problem against Glens Falls, and now finds themselves with an 0-2 divisional record. Cobleskill-Richmondville had their 10 year playoff streak snapped back in 2012, and could find themselves outside looking in for the third straight season as the Bulldogs still have yet to face Schuylerville and Broadalbin-Perth.
GAMES TO WATCH:
Cobleskill-Richmondville (1-2) at Johnstown (2-1) - For that reason listed above, this Friday's game against the Johnstown Sir Bills is going to be a must-win for the Bulldogs. Cobleskill-Richmondville is a game behind everyone except Schuylerville in the standings, and cannot afford to go 0-3 in the division with the top two teams still on their schedule. Johnstown has momentum on their side after shutting out Schoburg last week.
Broadalbin-Perth (2-1) at Hoosick Falls (C) (3-0) - Hoping to bounce back after losing to Schuylerville, the Broadalbin-Perth Patriots find themselves having to travel to northeastern Rensselaer County for a Friday Night battle with the team holding a 52 game Section 2 win streak. Hoosick Falls has been in control of their Section 2 opponents for the last five seasons, but the Patriots are a strong threat to end that long streak.
WINNERS: Voorheesville Blackbirds (3-0) - The Blackbirds took firm control of first place with their 10-7 win over Mechanicville in the closing minute on Saturday. Voorheesville has the tiebreakers over Holy Trinity, Mechanicville and Watervliet, the only teams with divisional wins, placing them as the heavy favorite to win the Central Division title.
LOSERS: Mechanicville Red Raiders (2-1) - It's really hard to place a team as a loser in this category, as the ones who lost, outside of Mechanicville, had .500 or .000 records going in and lost to better teams. Mechanicville faced a strong faced a strong defensive team that has allowed just over 12 points per game in their first three games, and will have to study the game film well so that they can better plan their attack for Holy Trinity in Week 7.
GAMES TO WATCH:
Greenwich (3-0) at Corinth (2-1) - The Witches have adjusted nicely to their Class C surroundings, but it's exam time. Three tough games coming up for Greenwich starts with Corinth on the road before hosting undefeated Coxsackie-Athens then Hoosick Falls in Week 6. Corinth rebounded nicely from their loss to Schuylerville with a win over Granville last week. But they, like Greenwich, have Hoosick Falls still looming on their schedule and would like good momentum heading into that pivotal North Division match.
Stillwater (0-3) at Mechanicville (2-1) - Stillwater heads into this rivalry game needing a win in a big way, having already dropped two of their divisional games. Mechanicville lost a back-breaker to Voorheesville in the closing minute on Saturday, having a 7-3 lead much of the way. A Mechanicville win will put them in better position for a wild card, whereas a Stillwater loss might put them in a hole too deep to dig out of.
Chatham (2-1) at Fonda (2-1) - Admit it, when you saw this game listed on the schedule in March, you were thinking this was going to be the game that would settle the top spot in the South Division. A win by Chatham could set up an interesting scenario come Week 6 when Fonda hosts Coxsackie-Athens, but a Fonda win will set things up for that game to determine who wins the division.
WINNERS: Cambridge/Salem Indians (3-0) - A statement game against the team that they have had to deal with on a regular basis for the Sectional Title, but as Doug Luke pointed out after the game, there are still some things the Indians will have to work on as the Indians made some sloppy mistakes with the game in hand.
Whitehall Railroaders (3-0) - Speaking of statements, the Railroaders have outscored their opponents 117-6 since their Week 1 game against Canajoharie. A lot of it has come thanks to senior quarterback Justin Hoagland, but he is getting much needed assistance by Jarrett McMahon and Brad Hanna. How good the Railroaders really are will be tested on October 4th when they face Cambridge, in what could turn into a battle of the unbeatens.
Ticonderoga Sentinels (Section 7, 2-1) - Going outside the section, the Ticonderoga Sentinels made a statement against the Moriah Vikings on Friday night, escaping central Essex County with a 31-0 win in a game that the Sentinels were never really pressured, and now becomes the favorite to be the team that has to face Section 2's champion come Week 11.
LOSERS: Rensselaer Rams (2-1) - The Rams lost a lot of talent at the end of last season, but was able to get things done against Fort Edward and Warrensburg the first two weeks of the season. But the Rams came up empty against Cambridge, only scoring points after Cambridge had a commanding lead. The loss brings serious doubts to whether or not the Rams can make their 7th straight Super Bowl appearance.
GAMES TO WATCH:
Hoosic Valley (3-0) at Canajoharie (1-2) - It's been a great start to the season for the Hoosic Valley Indians, reaching a 3-0 record for the first time in program history. But their three wins have come against winless teams. The difficulty for the Indians will begin to rise when they face Canajoharie. Canajoharie separated themselves from that pack last week with their win against Warrensburg, and will give their playoff chances a boost over Warrensburg and Fort Edward with a win.