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Diary of a Mad Sportswriter: October 2008

Diary of a Mad Sportswriter

Stan Hudy is a sportswriter for The Saratogian and Community News. He covers high school and youth sports in the Saratoga County area as well as writing a weekly book review on sports books. He's not just a "stick and ball" sportswriter, he's willing to take on any sport as well as any subject.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Section II field hockey seedings announced

SARATOGA SPRINGS - The Saratoga Springs field hockey team received the No. 1 seed in the Section II Class A playoffs beginning this week. The Blue Streaks will host No. 8 Columbia 3 p.m. Thursday afternoon at the high school. Shenendehowa is the No. 2 seed and will face No. 7 Guilderland Thursday.
The Class A semifinals will be held Oct. 28 at 2:30 p.m. with the finals set for 3 p.m. Nov. 1 at the Johnstown High School Knox turf field.

In Class B Glens Falls is the No. 1 seed and will host No. 8 South Glens Falls 3 p.m. Friday afternoon. Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake is the No. 6 seed and will travel to face No. 3 Ichabod Crane 3 p.m. Friday.

The Class B semifinals will begin 2:30 p.m. Oct. 29 and the finals will be held 7 p.m. at Johnstown.

In Class CC No. 2 Greenwich will take on No. 7 Schuylerville 3 p.m. Wednesday and No. 6 Schuylerville will travel to face No. 3 Hoosick Falls. The semifinals are set for Saturday with times to be announced and the finals are scheduled for 5 p.m. Thursday night at Johnstown.

In Class C No. 1 Warrensburg and No. 2 Johnsburg received byes.

The Class C/CC playoff contest will be held 5 p.m. Nov. 1 at Johnstown.

Section II Field Hockey seedings
Class A
Thursday, Oct. 23, 3 p.m.
No. 8 Columbia at No. 1 Saratoga Springs
No. 7 Guilderland at No. 2 Shenendehowa
No. 6 Shaker at No. 3 Queensbury
No. 5 Niskayuna at No. 4 Bethlehem

Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2:30 p.m.
Columbia-Saratoga winner vs. Niskayuna-Bethlehem winner at higher seed
Guilderland-Shenendehowa winner vs. Shaker-Queensbury winner at higher seed

3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 1 at Johnstown High School Knox turf field

Class B
Friday, Oct. 24, 3 p.m.
No. 8 South Glens Falls at No. 1 Glens Falls
No. 7 Scotia at No. 2 Johnstown
No. 6 Burnt Hills at No. 3 Ichabod Crane
No. 5 Hudson Falls at No. 4 Taconic Hills

Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2:30 p.m.
South High-Glens Falls winner vs. Hudson Falls-Taconic Hills winner at higher seed
Scotia-Johnstown winner vs. Burnt Hills-Ichabod Crane winner at higher seed

7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 1 at Johnstown High School Knox turf field

Class CC
Wednesday, Oct. 22, 3 p.m.
No. 1 Granville - bye
No. 7 Corinth at No. 2 Greenwich
No. 6 Schuylerville at No. 3 Hoosick Falls
No. 5 Coxsackie-Athens at No. 4 Lake George

Saturday, Oct. 25, Time TBA
Coxsackie-Athens-Lake George winner at Granville
Schuylerville-Hoosick Falls winner vs. Corinth-Greenwich winner at higher seed

5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10 at Johnstown High School Knox turf field

Class C
Tuesday, Oct. 21 3 p.m.
No. 1 Warrensburg - bye
No. 2 Johnsburg - bye
No. 6 Hadley Luzerne at No. 3 Germantown
No. 5 Salem at No. 4 North Warren

Saturday, Oct. 25, Time TBA
Salem-North Warren at Warrensburg
Hadley-Luzerne-Germantown winner at Johnsburg

7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10 at Johnstown High School Knox turf field

Section II Class C/CC playoff
5 p.m. Nov. 1 at Johnstown High School Knox turf field.

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Shen girls four takes Head of the Charles title

BOSTON – The Friends of Shenendehowa Crew, Inc. youth women’s four raced to its first-ever Head of the Charles title Sunday morning in Boston.

The boat of Abby Knight, Stephanie Dararaw, Rachel Boudreau, Lauren Boudreau and coxswain Lindsey Blake covered the 3-mile serpentine course in 19 minutes, 16.075 seconds, beating second place Winsor Crew at 19:18.325 and was the fastest entry out of the 65 boat race. Shenendehowa’s second entry, its ‘B’ boat finished in 46th place at 22:03.321.

Last year the Shenendehowa entry, without Dararaw, Rachel Boudreau and Blake, earned a second-place finish.

“Last year we knew we did well because we passed the first boat in front of us and didn’t see anyone behind us and it felt good,” Knight said. “The boat that beat us came from bow 50, they came out of nowhere.

“This year we passed the boat in front of us again and kept on going and prayed that was no higher bows to beat us,” Knight said. “They are so fast with the results that five minutes out of the boat, people calling say it was unofficial that we had won it.”

One of the biggest challenges facing the Shenendehowa entry was the unfamiliarity of the course, the crew and the sport of rowing to freshman coxswain, Blake.

“She had a lot of learning to do,” Knight said. “We had to teach her how to talk and steer in general. She studied this course like nuts and practiced the course on Friday. She’s a quick learner and took a really good course. We were all very impressed with her.”

Another difference for the Shenendehowa boat were the medals.

“When there are 65 boats or more they give out medals from 6th place on up,” Knight said. “Last year for second place we got our medals in the mail last year, we got ours today.
“It’s a lot better, we had a little ceremony,” Knight said. “They are a lot bigger than the ones in the mail.”

Blogger note:What makes this win even more impressive is that for the second year in a row, this entry and its varsity program is without a coach.

Last year's coach bolted for another opportunity at the beginnning of the season, this year, according to reports, had a falling out with the board and has left.

Credit to current novice coach and former rower, Drew Croft, for helping out this boat.

The Saratoga youth women’s eight raced its way to a fifth-place finish at the prestigious fall rowing event, completing the course in 17:54.061. Boston-based Community Rowing Inc. captured the race in 17:23.121. Burnt Hills Rowing Association came in 16th at 18:19.117. Saratoga’s ‘B’ entry was 36th at 19:04.675 and its ‘C’ entry finished in 19:17.102 out of the 68 boats entered.

The Saratoga youth boys four raced to an 18th-place finish in 18:15.548 out of 70 boats entered. The Canadian entry from St. Catharine’s Rowing Club won the race in 17:16.152.

The Burnt Hills Rowing Association youth boys eight finished in 34th position in 16:45.157 and Saratoga Rowing was 50th at 17:06.601 out of the 66 entries. Eton College won the event in 15:12.930.

Kurt Borchardt, representing the Saratoga Rowing Association completed the men’s single event in 20:49.697 for a seventh-place finish.

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Section II football seedings announced

Three Saratoga varsity football teams received No. 1 seeds in the Section II playoff pairings announced today by the Section II football committee.

Saratoga Springs (6-1), Burnt Hills (7-0) and Schuylerville (7-0) each earned the top seed in Class AA, A and C, respectively and will face its first round opponents Friday night at home.

In Class AA No. 2 Empire Division seeded Shenendehowa (5-2) will host Liberty Division No. 3 seeded Niskayuna (5-2) 7 p.m. Friday and Empire Division No. 4 seeded Ballston Spa (4-3) will travel to face the Liberty Division No. 1 seeded Schenectady (6-1) 7 p.m. Friday night.

In Class A Northwest No.1 seed Burnt Hills (7-0) will host the Southeast No. 4 seed Averill Park (3-4) 7 p.m. Friday.

In Class C North division No. 1 seed Schuylerville (7-0) will host Southeast No. 4 seed Tamarac (4-3), 7 p.m. Friday while North No. 4 seed Corinth (3-4) will travel to face South No. 1 seeded Chatham 7 p.m. Friday.

Non-playoff teams, South Glens Falls (0-7) will host Scotia (1-6) 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Stillwater (1-6) travels to face Catholic Central (0-7) 1 p.m. Saturday and Mechanicville (3-4) will host Hoosic Valley (2-5) 1 p.m. Saturday.

Class D will continue its regular season schedule as Saratoga Central Catholic will host Salem, 7:30 p.m. Friday night at East Side Rec.

Class AA
L4 Columbia (3-4) at E1 Saratoga (6-1), 7 p.m. Friday
L3 Niskayuna (5-2) at E2 Shenendehowa (5-2), 7 p.m. Friday
E3 Bethlehem (4-3) at L2 La Salle (5-2), 7 p.m. Friday
E4 Ballston Spa (4-3) at L1 Schenectady (6-1), 7 p.m. Friday

Class A
NW4 Gloversville (3-4) at SE1 Bishop Maginn (7-0)7 p.m. Friday
NW3 Glens Falls (4-3) at SE2 Troy (6-1), 1:30 p.m. Saturday
SE3 Lansingburgh (4-3) at NW2 Amsterdam (4-3), 7 p.m. Friday
SE4 Averill Park (3-4) at NW1 Burnt Hills (7-0), 7 p.m. Friday

Class B
W4 Broadalbin-Perth (2-5) at R1 Cohoes (7-0), 1:30 p.m. Saturday
W3 Cobleskill (2-5) at R2 Ravena (5-2), 7 p.m. Friday
R3 Albany Academy (4-3) at W2 Hudson Falls (6-1), 1:30 p.m. Saturday
R4 Hudson (2-5) at W1 Schalmont (6-1), 7 p.m. Friday

Class C
S4 Tamarac (4-3) at N1 Schuylerville (7-0), 7 p.m. Friday
S3 Watervliet (5-2) at N2 Hoosick Falls (6-1), 7 p.m. Friday
N3 Cambridge (4-3) at S2 Fonda (6-1), 1 p.m. Saturday
N4 Corinth (3-4) at S1 Chatham (7-0), 7 p.m. Friday

Crossover games
Class AA
Albany (0-7) at Pine Bush, 7 p.m. Friday
Shaker (2-5) at Guilderland (2-5), 7 p.m. Friday
CBA (1-6) at Colonie (1-6), 7 p.m. Friday

Class A
Queensbury (2-5) at Mohonasen (1-6), 7 p.m. Friday
Scotia (1-6) at South Glens Falls (0-7), 1:30 p.m. Saturday

Class B
Cairo-Durham (1-6) at Johnstown (2-5), 7 p.m. Friday
Taconic Hills (0-7) at Coxsackie (3-4), 1 p.m. Saturday

Class C
Stillwater (1-6) AT CCHS (0-7), 1 p.m. Saturday
Hoosic Valley (2-5) at Mechanicville (3-4), 1 p.m. Saturday
Voorheesville (1-6) at Granville (2-5), 1 p.m. Saturday

Class AA semifinals
Friday November 1, 7 p.m.
Bethlehem/LaSalle winner vs. Niskayuna/Shenendehowa winner at highest seed
Columbia/Saratoga winner vs. Ballston Spa/Schenectady winner at highest seed

Classs A semifinals
Friday, Nov. 1 7 p.m. or Saturday Nov. 2 1 p.m.
Gloversville/Maginn winner vs. Lansingburgh/Amsterdam winner at highest seed
Averill Park/Burnt Hills winner vs. Glens Falls/Troy winner at highest seed

Class B semifinals
Friday, Nov. 1 7 p.m. or Saturday Nov. 2 1 p.m.
Broadalbin/Cohoes winner vs. Albany Academy/Hudson Falls at highest seed
Hudson/Schalmont winner vs. Cobleskill/Ravena winner at highest seed

Class C semifinals
Friday, Nov. 1 7 p.m. or Saturday Nov. 2 1 p.m.
Tamarac/Schuylerville winner vs.Cambridge/Fonda winner at highest seed
Watervliet/Hoosick Falls winner vs. Corinth/Chatham winner at highest seed

Class D semifinals
Warrensburg (4-3) at Rensselaer (6-1), Oct 30 at 7 p.m.
Canajoharie (4-3) at Fort Edward (4-3) Nov. 2 at 1 p.m.

Super Bowls
Sites to be determined, Friday, Nov. 8 7 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 9 1 p.m.

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Saturday, October 04, 2008

Saints stay focused in rout

You always try to keep things in persepective while on the sidelines of any sporting event. There is the obvious rule of "No cheering in the press box."

Even though I don't spend too much time in the local press boxes, I do avoid any cheering, but sometimes opinions do creep into your head for a story.

On Saturday, Saratoga Central Catholic almost had it, an awesome story, something easy to write, something enjoyable to read...a varsity football victory for the first time in 20 years.

The program finally returned to the varsity level this year and The Saratogian has done a quality job covering their progress this season. But to date, still no wins.

But, early on Saturday afternoon, I thought the Saints were on the verge.

Even after giving up an opening kickoff return for a touchdown the Saints responded with their own score.

Then Saratoga Central Catholic tacked on another for the lead, 13-7.

Bishop Gibbons went ahead, 14-13, but who cares, the Saints ran back their own kickoff return with a nifty lateral on the next play.

Then it was all Bishop Gibbons the rest of the way in a 60-19 rout.

It's a tough story to write, the locals getting blown out and it appeared to be all about Knights junior quarterback Derrick Pitts who ran, threw and was all-everything for Bishop Gibbons.

The more his numbers increased, the more tackles he broke, the more I thought I was really seeing something special.

Oops, I fell into the mistake of "assume" ing that it was special.

That was until Pitts was stood up, wrapped up and put down on the ground by Saints 6-foot-5 defensive end Brennan Haley. So what, one run for no gain. Not a big deal on a 218 yard, 31 carry day.

Pitts didn't see it that way and began jawing with Haley. Hankies flew and Pitts was called for the unsportsmanlike penalty.

He was shocked by the call. Not only because he lost 15-yards for his team, but that the Saints player wasn't also flagged. He spent the next two plays talking to the referee about the infraction and his opinion of the call.

Bishop Gibbons didn't convert on third down and Pitts couldn't get a handle on the 41-yard field goal attempt. Saratoga fumbled on the next play, turning the ball back over to the Knights.

Three plays later, Pitts scores his fifth score of the day and Bishop Gibbons goes ahead, 45-19.

He was pretty happy with his efforts and told the Saints so, without a flag this time.

With a heafty lead with 4:12 left in the third quarter should Knights coach Joe Whipple have ordered an onsides kick that Bishop Gibbons recovered? Do you think it was enough or did the touchdown five plays later make a difference in the Section II tiebreaker?

The interception by Ryan Maxwell late in the game of a Saratoga Central pass and score was unavoidable. A players is going to go to the house if he can help it. But Pitts' return to hold for the extra point kick, then picking up the ball and diving to the pylon for the two point conversion did seem a bit much.

It did give him 38 points on the day, adding his name to the Section II record book again. He had 36 points against Whitehall earlier this year.

Not a lot to write about, but then the phone rings.

Saints coach Phonsey Lambert called to see what I had for the score.

It seemed odd, but the game was called into "The Source" as a 67-19 finale, not the 60-19 I had. It was also reported that Pitts had 289 yards and 8 TDs.

A few phone calls later, "The Source" used my numbers, so I'm grateful, but the story became more about how Saratoga Catholic didn't take the bait and wasn't drawn into any infractions.

It's got to be hard to be part of a long, first season back as a varsity football team going five games without a victory, but the Saints never gave up.

I've been on the sidelines for teams that have faced a little adversity, down by a score and you can feel the wheels come off. That hasn't been the case for Saratoga Central yet this season and I hope it continues.

Plus their numbers, also compared to mine, were right on. :)

Here is the story and photo gallery from the game.

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