GUILDERLAND CENTER – Section 2 football teams participated in preseason scrimmages across the region Saturday, Aug. 25. One such scrimmage was held at Guilderland High School, where the Dutchmen hosted Queensbury, Albany and Green Tech. The regular season begins Friday, Aug. 31. Photos by Rob Jonas
Colossal Class C boasts 19 teams; Class AA and Class D down to one division each
By ROB JONAS
The Section 2 football landscape has shifted significantly for the 2018 season.
New classification numbers produced by the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) have pushed several schools into new classes this year. As a result, Class A and Class C have seen large growth in their ranks, while Class AA and Class D are down to one division each after having two divisions last year.
“This year has had probably the most movement, at least in Section 2,” said Section 2 football coordinator Bob Dorrance.
A total of eight schools moved into new leagues, including defending state champions Troy (Class AA) and Cambridge (Class D). Troy, LaSalle, Columbia and Ballston Spa moved down to Class A, while Cambridge, Greenwich, Granville and Canajoharie stepped up to Class C. Cambridge also picked up players from Salem, while Canajoharie has added players from Fort Plain. Additionally, Helderberg Valley – a combination of Berne-Knox-Westerlo and Duaneburg – will play against its Class C brethren after playing a Class D schedule last year.
As a result, Class A will have 13 teams playing in two divisions after having nine teams play in one division last year, while Class C will have 19 teams crowded into three divisions. Reciprocally, Class AA will be down to 10 teams playing in one division, and Class D will have six teams – one of which (Cohoes) is ineligible for the playoffs because it is playing down from its assigned level.
“This hurts us at the Class D level, but it works well for us at the other levels,” said Dorrance.
Dorrance said NYSPHSAA’s new classification numbers are meant to eliminate large discrepancies between schools in a classification. This was especially true at the Class AA level, where high schools with under 1,000 students were sometimes playing against schools with twice the student population.
Nonetheless, Dorrance said he didn’t support the plan because it pushed too many Section 2 schools into the middle classifications, which left the largest and smallest classifications with only a handful of teams.
“I was one of two [NYSPHSAA football committee members] who voted against it,” said Dorrance.
The biggest impact from realignment has been scheduling games, especially in Class D where there are only six teams. Each team has five games within Class D, with the rest of their eight-game regular season schedule pitting them against either Class C schools or out-of-area teams. Class A, Class B and Class C also had scheduling issues due to having an odd number of schools.
“It was a challenge to put together a schedule at the Class C and Class D levels,” said Dorrance. “The only way to make it work was to combine the two levels and create a schedule that way. Our Class C and Class D coordinators did a great job of working together to come up with a schedule.”
All Section 2 football teams begin formal practices Monday, Aug. 13. The first week of the regular season begins Friday, Aug. 31 and Saturday, Sept. 1.
2018 Section 2 football divisions
Class AA: Albany, Bethlehem, Christian Brothers Academy, Colonie, Guilderland, Niskayuna, Saratoga Springs, Schenectady, Shaker, Shenendehowa
Capital Division: Amsterdam, Averill Park, Columbia*, Green Tech, LaSalle*, Troy*
Grasso Division: Ballston Spa*, Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, Gloversville, Mohonasen, Queensbury, Scotia-Glenville, South Glens Falls
North Division: Broadalbin-Perth, Glens Falls, Hudson Falls, Johnstown, Schuylerville
Reinfurt Division: Cobleskill-Richmondville, Hudson, Ichabod Crane, Lansingburgh, Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk, Schalmont
North Division: Cambridge/Salem*, Corinth, Granville*, Greenwich*, Hoosick Falls, Lake George/Hadley-Luzerne
Central Division: Canajoharie/Fort Plain*, Fonda-Fultonville, Holy Trinity, Mechanicville, Stillwater, Tamarac
South Division: Cairo-Durham, Chatham, Coxsackie-Athens, Helderberg Valley+, Taconic Hills, Voorheesville, Watervliet
Class D: Cohoes (ineligible for playoffs), Fort Edward, Hoosic Valley, Rensselaer, Warrensburg, Whitehall
*- Denotes new team in class
+-Denotes team returning to play within its class