Shaker, Bishop Maginn & Troy in the Spotlight – High School Football Week 4 Preview
Can Shaker bounce back after a loss to Shenendehowa and beat Burnt Hills? Can Bishop Maginn stay unbeaten against Averill Park? Can Troy continue its unbeaten ways at Glens Falls? The area high school football season enters week number four with several interesting games on tap. Thirteen teams are 3-0 while one team (Chatham) is 2-0.
Shaker, a Class AA team, will entertain Class A rep Burnt Hills tonight at 7. Both coaches (Matt Shell, Burnt Hills and Greg Sheeler, Shaker) played at Gloversville High School under retired coach Bob Gould.
Shell was a member of the 1986 and 1987 Huskies teams.
"Shaker is a very good team. We must win the field position battle, turnover margin and kicking game in order for us to be successful," said Shell.
Last week, Burnt Hills knocked off Schenectady, 34-12, to return to its winning ways after losing to Amsterdam, 23-7.
Sheeler played for Coach Gould during the 1996 and 1997 seasons. Shaker is coming off a 34-0 loss to Shenendehowa.
"Obviously, we were disappointed with the outcome of the (Shenendehowa) game, but I was proud of our team's effort. We played very physical for most of the game and if we can find a way to limit the big plays we are right there. Offensively, I was disappointed that we were unable to punch the ball in. We moved well at times but stalled out due to mostly mental mistakes," said Sheeler.
So what does Sheeler expect from Burnt Hills?
"Burnt Hills will be a tough opponent (Friday night). Coach Shell is somebody I look up to as a person and as a coach. We have no time to dwell on Friday's defeat, we just have to improve and get prepared for this week's matchup. Burnt Hills presents many challenges for our defense. They are a very balanced offense and use many backs in their wing-t attack. Defensively, they have one of the toughest defenders in the section in middle linebacker Dylan Wydronkowski. We have to account for him and be very fundamental with our blocks and fakes to be effective," he said.
Bishop Maginn is off to a perfect start (2-0 in Southeast Division and 3-0 overall) and would like to keep it that way as Averill Park provides the opposition in Class A Southeast Division Friday.
"This week's game versus Averill Park is highly important for keeping playoff hopes alive. Given our lack of size and lack of numbers and depth, each game brings a new challenge. We have played extremely well in portions of each of our first three games, but we must be more consistent defensively if we are to be successful throughout the season," said Maginn head coach Joe Grasso.
Averill Park has had two losses against Lansingburgh and Troy, two of the top teams in Class A.
"They (Averill Park) were very good versus Troy and completely outplayed Green Tech in their big victory. Their flexbone offense puts a lot of pressure on the defense with a strong inside run game, option and wide pitch play. The fullback is tough and fast, the quarterback is quick and runs the option like a magician and they have excellent speed on the outside. Their offensive and defensive lines have very good size and strength. It will be a big challenge defensively for Maginn," said Grasso.
Maginn has a multi-faceted attack with Matthias McKinnon (465 yards) and Shaquille McCarthy running the ball. Quarterback John Sica has thrown for over 400 yards thus far to tight end Javon Williams, and wide outs Derrek Thomas and Deandre Gibbs. The offensive line must be tougher and stay on their blocks longer to be successful. Center/noseguard Sean Spath (3-year starter) and Xavier Vasquez anchor the offensive and defensive lines. Javon Williams, Wali Cooper, McKinnon and McCarthy are outstanding defenders.
This will be the Griffins first home game after a scrimmage at Ballston Spa, and three successive games on the road against South Glens Falls, Scotia, and Mohonasen.
Averill Park head coach Zach Gobel knows he will face a very talented Bishop Maginn squad and will have his hands full.
"Bishop Maginn is a team with some very good athletes. Their QB, Sica, is an accurate passer with a strong arm. He has dangerous weapons in McKinnon, McCarthy, Williams and Thomas. Their offensive and defensive lines are strong. Vickers, Spath, and McKinnon are also very good defensive players," he said.
Averill Park has opened the season with a 1-2 record and faces a tough task against the Griffins.
"The keys to the game for us are to play physical and execute. We are starting to get some injured players back and they (as well as the healthy players) must stay healthy. Ben Leffler is one of the returning injured players (OL/DL). Our less experienced players must also continue to develop. In addition to our experienced players, like Joe Marino (RB/LB), Jon Will (RB/DB) and Axel Bryce (OL/DL) performing, we need players like Jon Rodgers (OL/DL), Colin Fleming (DB/RB), Taylor Hotaling (QB), and Tyler Vanderbogart (OL/DL) to perform," said Gobel.
Unbeaten Troy (3-0) takes a trip up the northway to battle Glens Falls (1-1 in Northwest and 2-1 overall) in an interdivisional contest Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
"Yes, I'm happy we are 3-0, but we are now getting into the 'meat' of our schedule as we face three pretty good football teams (Glens Falls, Bishop Maginn, and Lansingburgh) who currently have a combined record of 8-1. We are a relatively young and inexperienced team that needs to improve everyday in practice if we want to be a good team come playoff time," said Troy head coach Jack Burger.
On offense, Raheem Felder is back at quarterback and the ability to move Daquan Holmes to receiver makes Troy more dangerous in the passing game.
"We have received good production from our two tailbacks, (Maurice Green, 253 yards rushing and Dan Reichelt, 264 yards. rushing) so far in our first three games. On the defensive side, we have played a bit inconsistent for a Troy defense in spite of giving up only 18 points. With the addition of Felder in the secondary and Nick Valenti (a starter as a sophomore at defensive end last season) back from a hip injury, we hope to play more sound as a defensive unit," said Burger.
Chatham will journey to Fonda-Fultonville in an important Class C South Division game Saturday at 1 p.m.
Fonda-Fultonville leads the South with a 3-0 record while Chatham is 2-0.
"They (Chatham) are a very good team. They have size up front and very good skill players," said FF head coach Tom Carpenter.
On the other side, Chatham has posted two impressive victories over Voorheesville and Coxsackie-Athens.
"This will be a big game for us and a big game for the South division. We come in off of two nice victories over Voorheesville and Coxsackie-Athens. In the Voorheesville game, we were able to establish the run with Chase Smith and will need to do the same Saturday against Fonda to be successful. Against Coxsackie, we threw the ball well behind our quarterback Jason Summers and will need to do the same this weekend.
Chatham didn't play the first week since Cairo-Durham dropped football.
"Fonda has multiple weapons offensively. Their quarterback can run and throw the ball very well, their running back runs extremely hard and is tough to tackle, and they have a core of wide receivers that run great routes and have very good hands. We are going to have our hands full defensively. Coach Carpenter and his staff will have them prepared and we will need to play very well to come out on top," said Chatham head coach Shawn Caldwell.
Article by Mike Collar