Tentative football schedules announced

After injuries depleted its roster to less than 16 players, the Johnstown varsity football team shut down its 2012 season after three games.

The Sir Bills took the time to rebuild and are scheduled to open the 2013 varsity football season on the road Sept. 6 against Cobleskill-Richmondville.

“We are looking at 25 to 26 kids on the varsity next year,” Johnstown coach Matt Benton said. “The kids coming up through our program who will be juniors next year are football-minded. Definitely football players. The junior class has good athletes coming back as seniors and they are very positive and looking forward to the season. Our weight room has picked up and the kids are getting stronger and faster. We are going to a combine in Scotia this weekend and will take between 20 and 25 kids. We are trying to get the strength and speed training across the board with all the sports. It is all about the commitment right now.”

With the release of news BEDS counts for schools and a realignment of the football classification numbers, Scotia-Glenville will drop down from Class A to Class B and will compete in the Class B West division with Johnstown, Broadalbin-Perth, Glens Falls, Hudson Falls, Cobleskill-Richmondville, Schalmont and Schuylerville. Albany Academy, Cohoes, Green Tech, Hudson, Ichabod Crane, Lansingburgh and Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk comprise the Class B Reinfurt division.

The realignment places football schools with enrollment of 1,000 and up in Class AA; 600-999 in Class A; 400-599 in Class B, 260-399 in Class C and 259 and lower in Class D.

Amsterdam (866) and Gloversville (675) are class A; Johnstown (478) and Broadalbin-Perth (417) are listed as Class B; Fonda-Fultonville (325) will compete in Class C and Canajoharie (228) is classified Class D. Scotia-Glenville dropped to the Bs with a BEDS count of 599 and Glens Falls remains Class B with 524.

“I think it [Class B] gets tougher every year,” Benton said. “Last year, we had Glens Falls drop down now we have Scotia coming in this year and they had a great season last year. A lot of teams are starting to evolve and we are still in the process of rebuilding our program and picking the numbers up.”

With an eight-team division, the West teams will not play regular season crossover games.

“It is good. We get right into it and see where we stand at the beginning of the year,” Benton said. “We open with Cobleskill and then host Broadalbin who is coming off a pretty good season last year and then at Scotia. Those three games will be crucial for us to see where we are as a program and to be able to see if we can compete with these programs.”

The Broadalbin-Perth Patriots will be the first to test the Tartans as they open their season on Sept. 6 at Patriot Field.

“We face them in week one, so we will see how we stack up right out of the gate,” B-P coach Jim Pelneau said. “It is a nice challenge having them drop down from the A’s last year.”

Pelneau said the realignment brings a new, but exciting challenge having all division games.

“I don’t know if there is any more pressure but it will be like college football where every single week we will be battling for position to get into sectionals,” he said. “As it is, we always prepare to win every game anyways. In playoffs, it was always the top four in each division crossing over. I look forward to getting into the top four. The kids are in the weight room and working hard and a lot of them are participating in spring sports to get ready. We are just excited to get going.”

The Gloversville Huskies made their return to sectional play last season and will kick off the 2013 season with a pair of road games. The Huskies’ season opener will be on Sept. 6 at Class A Southeast’s Mohonasen before traveling to face Class B Ichabod Crane in Week 2.

Gloversville then turns its attention to a challenging three-game home stand against Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, Amsterdam and Bishop Maginn.

“At least the first two games are non-league,” Gloversville coach Jared Bongo said. “Our first two league games are at home and it is actually better to play Burnt Hills and Amsterdam at home rather than on the road.”

Ichabod Crane is a new team on the Huskies’ schedule.

“Scotia dropped down to the Bs and every class A team now has to play either a Class AA or Class B team,” Bongo said. “Last year, we went up and played Class AA Niskayuna and this year we get Ichabod Crane. I know they are a good team and we will have to be ready to play them. We usually start a little earlier, which pushes the date back but I feel this is a pretty fair schedule for us. Our guys are excited about it and we have some special kids coming back.”

The 2013 season will start later this year with the first week’s games being played the weekend after Labor Day when school is in session.

The Amsterdam Rams will host four games this season at Lynch Middle School in what looks to be a Class A schedule that will test the Rams.

After opening the season with crossover games against Averill Park and Mohonasen, the Rams hit an unenviable stretch of game.

“It is very tough with Troy at home then going to Gloversville, which is always a tough game at their place,” Amsterdam coach Doug Edick said. “Then we get Queensbury and Burnt Hills. I think it is real tough but it is basically the same schedule [as last year] only replacing Ravena with Troy.”

The Fonda-Fultonville Braves will see a change from last year as they pursue a Class C championship.

The Braves will host four Saturday afternoon games at John Boshart Field on the Fonda-Fultonville High School campus. However, they will play three Friday night games on the road this season.

“We have three Friday night games this year and last year, we did not play any,” Fonda-Fultonville coach Tom Carpenter said. “The kids seem to like Friday night games.”

Fonda-Fultonville opens its season at home against Voorheesville before traveling to play Taconic Hills. The Braves also welcome Catholic Central back to their schedule.

“Catholic Central played down [in Class D] last year even though they were a C,” Carpenter said. “Catholic Central and Tamarac have been back and forth the past couple of years. Watervliet at home is good but then we have to go to Chatham. We go to Taconic Hills this year. It is a long trip but a great facility to play at. We are hopeful that Cairo-Durham fields a team, which is something we have had to deal with the past couple of years.”

Cairo-Durham dropped out of the 2012 season just before opening week. The Braves are scheduled to host Cairo-Durham in Week 3.

There are 14 Class C teams playing in two seven-team divisions. Fonda-Fultonville, Cairo-Durham, Chatham, Coxsackie-Athens, Taconic H ills, Voorheesville and Watervliet make up the South Division. Catholic Central, Corinth, Granville, Hoosick Falls, Mechanicville, Stillwater and Tamarac make up the North. The top four teams in each division advance to sectional play.

Class D will have a change of format in its sectional competition.

In 2012, the top two teams in each division advanced to sectionals, while the rest went to crossovers with no chance of battling for a title. That put Canajoharie and Greenwich, which had strong seasons on the outside looking in despite having better records than a qualified team from the North.

Class D has switched its format to an eight-team playoff bracket with the top four teams from each division competing in sectional quarterfinal games in Week 8 and semifinal games being played at Schuylerville High School in Week 9.

“They [the football committee] were looking at us and Greenwich last year,” Canajoharie coach Ken Sullivan said. “We kind of shot ourselves in the foot, but Greenwich was a legitimate playoff team and they were out of it. This year, seeing that we had the numbers, they opted to go for an eight-team playoff, which is nice. You take your top four teams from each division and the fourth-place team from the South plays the No. 1 from the North and so on.”

Greenwich has switched to the North Division with Fort Edward Lake George Salem, Warrensburg and Whitehall. Canajoharie will compete with Cambridge, Rensselaer, Schoburg and Bishop Gibbons along with Hoosic Valley in the South.

The Cougars will see some new teams on the gridiron this season.

“Bishop Gibbons is reportedly combining with Spa Catholic so they might pick up a couple of athletes,” Sullivan said. “Schoburg [Schoharie and Duanesburg combined] dominated at the junior varsity level last year, but the adjustment to varsity is huge. Hoosic Valley, which is a big school with athletes, has dropped down this season and as soon they get their program going back in the right direction they will be back in the Cs. They will not be eligible for sectionals.”