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Thursday, 03 September 2015 12:21

"Friday Night Lights" Kicks Off

By | News

Area H.S. Teams Begin Action This Weekend

SARATOGA SPRINGS – The ball is on the tee – ready for kickoff. It’s time to get fired up!


While most of us have spent the past few weeks enjoying the track, SPAC, and our own backyards, our area high school football teams have been hard at work getting ready for the 2015 fall season. 


The results of all this practice, practice, run it again, one more time, and once more drills will be on display throughout the region as each of our favorite varsity teams hit the gridiron for games that count, starting this evening:


  • -Saratoga Springs HS will host Bethlehem Central;
  • -Ballston Spa hosts Colonie Central; 
  • -Schuylerville will visit Johnstown; and
  • -Burnt Hills will visit Averill Park.


We ventured out to each team’s practices to grab some photographs and soak up some vintage ‘coach-isms’ as they urge and inspire their respective squads. Here are the top three we overheard, in no particular order: 


“Stop being comfortable!” 


“No walking please… you can walk home if you feel like walking!”


“I know you guys know what you should be doing, so go ahead and do it please!”  


It’s obvious that the coaches are already in mid-season form. Best of luck to everyone!



Schuylerville – led by Coach John Bowen, the Black Horses are coming off a big year (9-1 overall, with a perfect 5-0 in league play), averaging 36.2 points per game while surrendering only 11.4 ppg on defense…. Some returning players to watch include QB/DB Will Griffen, who will have an experienced tandem to throw to in WR/DB’s Tanner Dunkel and Joe Vanderhoof, along with RB/OLB Skyler Bateman and RB/DB Zach Pierce… An early test comes with their first two games on the road (at Johnstown Sept. 4, followed by Broadalbin-Perth on Sept. 11) but after that they are at home against traditionally strong Mechanicville (Sept. 18) and Glens Falls (Oct. 9).


Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake – Coach Matt Shell, in his 14th season, has a veteran squad that is looking to build upon a 7-3 season (4-1 in league play) that saw them go to the Section 2 class A finals… The Spartans are led by third-year starting QB John Clayton, RB’s Johnny O’Donnell and Michael Leveroni and a pack of experienced linemen for an offense that averaged 35.1 points per game last year. Their biggest tests should come on the road: Following the opener at Averill Park on Sept. 4, they will have road games at Queensbury on Sept. 26 and Scotia/Glenville on Oct. 16.


Ballston Spa – The Scotties are led by Coach Dave Murello, whose teaching skills will certainly need to be tested after losing a large graduating class from last year’s squad ….Key players to watch among the small roster include Senior QB Ryan Reed, along with FB/DE Elijah Washington, RB/ILB Ian Graham and RB/DB John Amash. The key to the Scotties’ fortunes will come in its last five games, with road contests against Albany (Sept. 19), Shenendehowa (Oct. 2) and Saratoga Springs (Oct. 16) along with hosting CBA on Sept. 25 and Guilderland (Oct. 9).


Saratoga Springs – Blue Streaks Coach Terry Jones promises that opponents will be kept off-balance with a wide variety of offensive options at his team’s disposal. “They’re all going to touch the ball,” he said at practice recently…. Among the key options for Senior QB Brian Williams are RB’s Robert Houghton and Ryan Manlapaz, as well as RB Dakota Harvey, who returns to the Blue Streaks after a year at Albany Academy. WR Nick Kondo, who is returning after being injured last season, will join WR Luke Thompson on a talented squad, with several also returning on the line,  to an offense the averaged 32.1 points per game last season. 

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