Schoburg junior varsity football experiment a success
Schoburg junior varsity football coach Ken Meyer said he considered the season a success when the young athletes from Schoharie and Duanesburg came together for their first organized practice in August.
“Our goal was to get out and play football. We wanted to give kids an opportunity,” Meyer said after Wednesday’s workout. “We’ve been building for this for years. Our first goal was to get on the field.”
Schoburg got the green light to do so last spring when the respective school boards from Schoharie and Duanesburg agreed to the self-funded program. Turns out, the mix of players, some with no football experience at all and others who competed in the Helderberg Valley Pop Warner league, are pretty good at the game.
“We’re playing outstanding defense. We’ve only allowed 10 points,” said Meyer. “We put a focus on the right way to tackle, and they’re employing what we teach. Our offense is pretty good, too, but the defense really stands out.”
Schoburg is undefeated after games with Coxsackie-Athens, Voorheesville, Canajoharie and Chatham.
“The kids have been exceptional,” Meyer said. “They’re doing what we’ve asked them to do. They’re listening, and they’re playing hard. It’s been a coaches dream the way things have gone so far, especally being a first-year program.”
Schoburg has games remaining against Taconic Hills, Fonda-Fultonville, Mechanicville and Albany Academy. Schoburg’s roster of 30 has players ranging from grades 9-12. The eight seniors see game action only when opposing coaches agree.
“We’re hoping maybe in Week 9 we can play a varsity team that has an open week. We would love that. That would be a great thing for us,” Meyer said. “It would be good for our seniors, and it would be good to get a taste of what varsity football is about.”
Meyer would like to see Schoburg fielding a varsity team next season. The school boards and Section II football heads would all have to agree before a move up is made.
“Our bigger goal is to play Friday night football,” Meyer said. “We’ve got the kids going. We’re building the program. We’ve got the communities behind us. I think we’ve made a pretty good impression so far.”
Niskayuna record-setting midfielder Aidan O’Brien and three other Silver Warriors have made verbal commitments to play college lacrosse on scholarship.
O’Brien, who set a Niskayuna freshman record with 32 points on 20 goals and 12 assists, will compete for the University of North Carolina. The Tar Heels have made 27 NCAA Division I tournament appearances and own four national championships.
O’Brien is currently the leading rusher and touchdown scorer for Niskayuna’s football team. At North Carolina, he will join Niskayuna senior attackman Luke Goldstock, who committed to the Tar Heels before last season.
Niskayuna senior midfielder Tyler Pantalone, junior midfielder Ryan Lawson and senior defenseman Dom Sloma have selected Siena College, Quinnipiac Univer-sity and Marist College, respectively, as their future destinations.
Prior to last season’s run to the state Class A semifinals, senior attackman Lucas Maloney decided to attend Penn State and junior attackman Mike D’Amario chose Virginia.
Niskayuna went 20-2 last season, which included coach Mike Vorgang’s 300th victory.
Streaks head south
The Saratoga Springs girls’ cross country team will vie for its 10th Race of Champions title at Saturday’s Great American Cross Country Festival in Cary, N.C.
The Blue Streaks will compete against 30 other teams from across the country in the five-kilometer race at the WakeMed Soccer Complex. Saratoga prevailed in each of its previous nine appearances in North Carolina, from 2000-05 and in 2009, 2010 and last year when Taylor Driscoll and Keelin Hollowood placed 11th and 12th, respectively.
Those two, along with Olivia Morrow, Sarah Morin, Spencer Hayes, Madeline Samuel and Meredith Hungerford, form the Saratoga nucleus.
Hayes and Morrow took the top two spots at last year’s GACCF Red Invitational. Saratoga won that team title and also scored best in one of the junior varsity races.
Driscoll defended her Queensbury Invitational title last week with the fourth-fastest time (17:37.7, 5k) in the history of the event.
Top Amsterdam singles players Cristiana Johnson and Kristie Kaczmarek completed undefeated Big 10 seasons, and the Rams finished a perfect run through the league with a 9-0 victory over Schenectady Wednesday.
Amsterdam improved to 10-0 in the league and 12-0 overall with the sweep. Brittany Durose, Ella Dybas and Audrey Flint also went undefeated in league play, as did the doubles tandems of Tessa Filiberto and Caitlyn Gannon, Gabby DiSalvi and Arizona Santiago, and Lucia Liverio and Latifa Woods.
Geneva quarterback Shane Sweeney tied the overall state record and set a New York State Public High School Athletic Association mark with eight touchdown passes last week in a 54-7 Section V win over Midlakes.
Sweeney passed for 412 yards on 24 completions, and with his eight TD strikes equaled the total produced by Gary Castine of Buffalo St. Joseph’s in 1969.
The Section II record book does not list single-game touchdown passes, though Brian Grastorf of Niskayuna tossed six of them in a 2005 win over Schenectady. Grastorf set the Section II passing record in that contest with 436 yards.