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Time to put on the pads

Albany hopes to make the playoffs after being edged out of the final Sectional berth last year by Niskayuna in a four-way tiebreaker.

Ballston Spa Scotties

Head coach: John Bowen

Key veterans: Dom Monaco (quarterback/free safety), Chris Adams (defensive end/fullback), Anthony Scarpetti (running back/outside linebacker), Steve Duncan (strong safety/running back)

Key newcomers: Jake Davis (offensive line/middle linebacker), Dan Decker (offensive line/outside linebacker), Tim Spadaro (cornerback/split end), Eric Marciano (defensive end/fullback)

Outlook: The Scotties will have one of the smallest offensive lines in Section II. The biggest player they will have on the line weighs 220 pounds, and the others range from 185 to 200 pounds. "What they lack in size, they make up for in heart and determination," said Bowen.

Bowen said being placed in a division with perennial powers such as Shenendehowa and Colonie will make Ballston Spa's road to a Sectional berth tough. "You've got Shen, which is always good. They graduated a lot last year, but coach (Brent) Steuerwald always has a good team," said Bowen. "And based on what's on paper right now, Colonie has a good team."

Bethlehem Eagles

Head coach: Ron Smith

Key veterans: Dave Plummer (quarterback), Dan Unright (tailback), Shane Myers (middle linebacker/running back), Scooby Dollard (tight end)

Key newcomers: Bryan Pauquette (running back), Kevin Kolbay (defensive end/offensive lineman)

Outlook: The Eagles lost several key players to graduation including a large chunk of their offensive line and leading running back Brian Nicholson. "We're the absolute opposite of last year. We have skill players back, but where we're lacking in experience is on the line," said Smith.

Despite having to rebuild the offensive line, Smith is optimistic that his team can make the playoffs again. "I think (our division) is pretty even," he said. "When you're looking at being in the top two to make the playoffs and you look at the teams, I think it's pretty even."

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