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Time to put on the pads

Key newcomer: Shane Mitchum (offensive line/defensive end)

Outlook: Servidone takes over a program that has been competitive but hasn't had much luck in recent years. "This is a good group," he said. "This senior class has been around for a long time."

Columbia has a tough opener as it travels to defending champion LaSalle Friday. The Blue Devils then host Shen in their first divisional game Sept. 8.

"We know our goal is to come out of that division in the top two to secure a playoff spot," said Servidone.

Guilderland Dutchmen

Head coach: Dan Penna

Outlook: The Dutchmen should be strong defensively with most of their starters returning from last year, but the offense is in flux following the graduation of several key players.

"Overall, we'll be looking for the team to gel and work as a unit as we install a new offense with many talented players," Penna said.

Senior Kyle Hussey will anchor a young offensive line, while quarterback Greg Barcomb will guide the attack. Penna said he is looking for contributions from newcomers Paul Booker, Nick Ranalli, Jason Lawrence, Jarrell Gatterson and Drew Smith.

Guilderland opens its season at home Friday against Shaker.

LaSalle Cadets

Head coach: Al Rapp

Key veterans: Mark Casale (center), Vito Angrisano (offensive line), Ryan Burke (running back), Chad Cassidy (defensive line), Colin Russell (defensive line)

Key newcomers: Jared Henkel (quarterback), Kyle Burke (offensive line), Evan Ryan (tight end), Dean Fagan (fullback), Sean Fagan (wide receiver)

Outlook: The defending champions have a lot of holes to fill following the graduation of nine offensive and eight defensive starters. "I'm happy with the work we've done so far and the progress that we've made, but we still have a lot of work to do," said Rapp.

Friday's opener against Columbia continues a rivalry between the Troy-based private school and the suburban school several miles down Route 4 in East Greenbush. "We're next door to each other, and a lot of our kids know their kids," said Rapp.

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