The last two weeks of the regular season will determine if the Colonie football team earns the No. 1 seed for the Section II playoffs or miss Sectionals altogether.
The Garnet Raiders enter Friday's home game against Shenendehowa in sole possession of first place in class AA Division II. If they sweep Shen and Ballston Spa in their last two games, they win the division and will likely earn the No. 1 seed by virtue of its opening week victory over Saratoga, which leads Division I.
But if the Raiders lose to Shen or Ballston Spa, they could fall out of the playoff picture.
We're in control of our own destiny, but one loss can drop us from first to fourth (place). That's the scary part (the teams) being so close," said head coach Mike Ambrosio.
Shen has uncharacteristically struggled to a 1-4 record this season, but Ambrosio isn't taking the Plainsmen lightly.
"Tradition being tradition, they're still doing certain things well. They just don't have the experience to pull off a win, but they're still a tough team," said Ambrosio.
Colonie (2-0 division, 4-1 overall) cleared one hurdle toward winning the division by beating Columbia 27-12 last Friday in East Greenbush.
Columbia (0-2, 3-2) came in with one of the top-rated defenses in Section II, but that didn't bother Colonie in the first half. Heath Furbeck broke away for a 44-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, Joe Poleto contributed a 30-yard scoring run and Jim Kehrer caught a 48-yard touchdown pass from Tom Duff to give the Garnet Raiders a 20-0 halftime lead.
"We knew we had the speed on the perimeter in our passing game," said Ambrosio. "We had to establish the running game early on to set up our passing game."
Kehrer put the game away with a 55-yard punt return for a touchdown in the third quarter. Columbia managed two late scoring drives to end Colonie's shutout bid.