Week Two In High School Football Sees Key Matchup Between Burnt HIlls and Amsterdam
It’s only the second game of the high school football season and already we have a key matchup – when Burnt Hills travels to Amsterdam in a Class A Northwest Division game Friday night at 7.
Both teams posted wins last weekend as Burnt Hills got the best of Gloversville, 36-6, and Amsterdam turned away Queensbury, 29-7.
“We had a good run and was the team to beat and now they’re the team to beat,” said Amsterdam coach Pat Liverio. “You got to work for the points. They (Burnt Hills) never make a mistake, always in position. Our big plays have been passing and we struggle running. We have to improve that area. It’s a constant work in progress.”
Burnt Hills has had its way with Amsterdam the last two years, winning 58-0 in 2009 and 58-27 in 2010.
Can the Rugged Rams afford to fall behind early against a very offensive-minded Burnt Hills team?
“I don’t think our guys will panic if Burnt Hills gets an early lead. We have to stay healthy and also play good defense. We have to make a few stops,” said Liverio, entering his 16th season.
Vinny Sobkowich will get the start at quarterback. He’s coming off an impressive performance against Queensbury throwing three touchdown passes and running for another. Geo Rodriguez is ready in the backfield while Sobkowich looks to throw to receivers Matt White, Hector Hill and Nick Liverio.
Burnt Hills, with Matt Shell at the helm for his 10th season, are use to winning. Last year, the Spartans finished 11-1, losing to Harrison (Section I), 17-7, in the state semifinals.
The Spartans have won three straight sectional championships.
“Amsterdam teams play the right way. Pat (Liverio) and his staff do an outstanding job. They have a great track record. Anytime you play Amsterdam you know you have to be at your best,” said Shell.
Tom Ruppel scored twice, including a big 85 yard punt return, to spark the Burnt Hills squad in its win over Gloversville.
“I think it’s going to be a great game and what a venue. It’s a great community that loves football. We lost a lot of backs and skilled kids. But, we have a good core of kids. We have three or four veterans on the line returning and that helps. It comes down to fundamentals,” said Shell.
The game will be televised on Time Warner Sports at 7 p.m.
A Class AA Empire Division game features CBA of Albany going to Albany High, also a 7 p.m. start.
“I have a soft spot in my heart for the kids in the Albany program…many of which my staff and I introduced to football when they were in the modified program at Albany and I was the coach at Albany,” said CBA coach Joe Burke.
Burke served as head coach at Albany from 2003-07, then became an assistant at Bishop Maginn the next two years before accepting the head job at CBA.
In the openers, CBA defeated LaSalle, 43-29, behind Cameron Wynn’s four touchdowns while Albany suffered a 40-6 loss to Saratoga Springs. Albany has a 29-game losing streak.
“I often stress to our kids that they are kids just like you. They will be just as big and strong as you and will have kids who can get to the end zone very quickly, just like you. Regardless of who we are playing and especially this Friday night, we need to pay attention to our reads and keys on defense, run to the ball and don’t give any momentum to our opponent,” said Burke.
Ted Cillis is CBA’s quarterback. In the first game, Cillis passed for 160 yards. CBA experienced success on the ground with 300 yards.
Earl Ricketts, Wynn and Cody Zappone rushed for the bulk of the yards. Pete Luizzi, Tory Williams and Pete Rustowicz are the leading receivers.
The line is led by Mike Zaloga, Sully Crotty, Trevor Degre, Vinnie DiBiase, Nick Cleveland, Greg Cleveland and Patrick Vivian, all who rotate through the five spots.
Nick Cleveland and Greg Cleveland anchor Zaloga, Crotty, Degre and DiBiase on the front line defense. Nick Gentile, Pete Reilly and Andy Curro and the skilled players mentioned above round out the defense.
“Offensively, we need to control the line and score. We need to be focused on all fundamentals and not get distracted, and have the courage to handle any adversity as its arises because on any given night, with the momentum in place, it will be their night and this is not a stretch. They have some very good football players. We need to play hard to the end,” said Burke.
Albany coach Jon McClement knows the uphill battle his squad faces, and the task got a little tougher with the ankle injury of senior captain Michael Allinger. The starting tight end/inside linebacker will miss this game.
“We had to make some adjustments from Saratoga to CBA. I think CBA has more speed at running back. Our kids just go out and play. Every year we have a new group of players where other programs don’t. And we’re playing another playoff opponent. We’ve been front-loaded the past couple of years. The schedule is the schedule,” said McClement.
One of the improvements to the Falcons this season has been strength and McClement feels that strength and conditioning coach Art Eastman is responsible.
“Our kids may get beat on a play, but it won’t be because they’re (opponent) not stronger. We’ve improved and the kids have to be patient,” said McClement.
Schenectady entertains Ballston Spa in a Class AA interdivision game Friday at 7 p.m.
“We are very happy to get off to a 1-0 start, but know we have a lot of improving to do as a team. My kids continue to work hard to get better each day. Ballston Spa is one of the better football programs in our area. Coach (John) Bowen will have his team well prepared. We must play disciplined and aggressive on offense, defense and special teams,” said Schenectady coach Jim Kramer.
Elsewhere, Fonda-Fultonville will visit Canajoharie in a Class C South Division game on Saturday at 7 p.m., instead of Friday.
This marks the second week in a row that Fonda-Fultonville has experienced a game being switched. The Braves opened the season with a thrilling 15-14 win over Watervliet.
Jarrett Ladd scored on touchdown passes of 27 and 58 yards to spark the Braves. Kevin Twardzik made the defensive play of the game with an interception in the final minute.
Canajoharie beat Coxsackie-Athens, 31-6, as Kevin Shannon rushed 143 yards on 17 carries and one touchdown.
“It was rough for awhile. We have a good group. That was a tough opener for both teams. Watervliet was a big test. This is a rivalry game. We’re not looking past Canajoharie who is coming off a big win,” said FF coach Tom Carpenter.
The Class B interdivisonal game featuring Johnstown and Ravena will now be played at Johnstown Friday at 7 p.m. The game was originally scheduled for Ravena but the field is unplayable.
Article by Mike Collar