Some thoughts heading into the final week of the regular season...
Guilderland is in control of their destiny. All they need to do is be tied or in the lead with Shenendehowa at the end of any quarter in their game on Friday and they will be the Divisional Champs and will get home field for Weeks 8 and 9.
Troy is showing a lot of promise as they make their way closer to the Section 2 playoffs. With the growth of Germinerio and Holmes, the Flying Horses are flying high after their upgrade from Class A to Class AA this season. It's a shame we won't see a Troy/Queensbury showdown, because that would be rather interesting.
Meanwhile, Saratoga Springs is showing how graduation can knock a good team down several pegs. Entering the final week of the regular season, the Blue Streaks are faced with a must-win against Ballston Spa in order to give their thin postseason hopes a chance.
As far as the playoffs go, if Shenendehowa fails to grab a home playoff spot, they are the best candidate to win on the road next week against Shaker. But a lot depends on how healthy the team is coming out of this week's game against Guilderland.
The Northwest Division provides no surprises, as Queensbury and Amsterdam have scooped up the home seeds for next week. Gloversville and South Glens Falls making the playoffs aren't surprises either, as we're still watching a Scotia team rebuild after what they lost a couple seasons ago.
The Southeast Division, however, is a different story. We expected Burnt Hills to clean up a division that was in theory to get softer with the departure of Troy to Class AA. But little did we expect Averill Park to provide Burnt Hills with the stunner by way of their 19-16 win a couple weeks ago. That leaves the Warriors with the upper hand as they head into their final game of the regular season against Lansingburgh.
Glens Falls is a stacked team and it's no surprise they made easy work on their way to the North's #1 seed. Schuylerville played well to secure the division's #2 seed after losing the quantity of talent that helped bring the team to their first ever Carrier Dome appearance. It's no surprise that Broadalbin-Perth and Hudson Falls are fighting for the last playoff spot, as well.
But the big surprise in Class B is this year's rise of the Hudson Blue Hawks. Going 3-4 last year and being first round chow for the Schuylerville Black Horses, the Blue Hawks have taken over the Reinfurt Division, rising to a 6-0 record that has solidified as the season progressed. With one challenge left separating the Blue Hawks from a blemish-free regular season, Hudson has guaranteed a home date next week, with either Broadalbin-Perth or Hudson Falls making the long trip down to Columbia County.
However, it's good to see Schalmont bounce back from their 0-2 start to win their last 4, setting up Friday's winner-takes-all against Hudson. We said this back in Week 3, and will say this again, Schalmont's 0-2 start was not a measure of their talent, but a measure for how tough their competition was (Glens Falls and Schuylerville). Hudson had an easier crossover schedule in Weeks 1 and 2. Plus Jake DeFayette and Cameron Brooks have only gotten better as the season progressed.
Class B should feature one of the more exciting playoffs in Section 2, perhaps being second only to the wild showdowns that will come in Class C.
Speaking of Class C, congratulations to Hoosic Valley. After never making sectionals prior to last year, the Indians are not only poised to make their second straight appearance, but perhaps as the tournament's #1 seed.
But they will have a tough fight in front of them if they are going it to states. Greenwich, Stillwater, Voorheesville, Watervliet and Mechanicville all look good. If there's going to be a classification where top seeds get knocked out early, this is going to be the one.
Two things surprise us more in Class C this year. First is the sharp drop of the Fonda-Fultonville Braves, who went from sectional title contender last year to winless this year, a rough ending for a team that started the season with great fanfare with the debut of their new turf field and permanent lights.
The other is the growth of the Lake George/Hadley-Luzerne War Eagles. Sitting on the bubble, the War Eagles are one win away from making the playoffs for the first time since the combo squad formed. Head Coach Jeff Bennett has developed a squad that was winless in divisional play in 2015 to a 4-2 squad that should post a winning season this year regardless of whether or not they make the playoffs.
The sectional committee is going to have their hands full trying to sort out who deserves to make the playoffs and who doesn't in Class C.
It's business as usual in Class D, with Cambridge looking the best, unless Whitehall has something to say about that in their Saturday afternoon showdown coming up this weekend. If a new team is to make the playoffs this year, it will be Warrensburg.
But after losing back-to-back games, the Burghers need some help. Either way, this is a good season from a team that had a lot of question marks going into the season with the addition of new head coach Mike Perrone.
Overall, the season has been great. We have one more week before the games really matter, and the competition heats up. Which will be perfect now that the weather is starting to reflect the season. So grab that coat, head to your local high school, and enjoy some high school football this weekend!