One advantage the Blue Streaks would normally have is playing at home, but that has not necessarily been a big advantage in the recent history of this rivalry. The road team has won the last two years.
"I don't know if it is an advantage or not," said Jones. "Homecoming certainly helps, but it can also be a distraction with all the things that happen in school during the week."
Even if Shen beats Saratoga Friday, Steuerwald knows locking up the Empire Division title and a No. 1 seed for Sectionals won't be easy " not with games against Guilderland and Bethlehem to close out the regular season.
"I don't think I've seen this much balance before," said Steuerwald. "You just hope your team performs at the highest level it can each game."
Two other big games are on the docket Friday night. Ballston Spa (3-1) hosts undefeated Guilderland in a key Empire Division contest, while Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake (3-1) travels to Lansingburgh (4-0) for a rematch of last year's class A Super Bowl.
Ballston Spa survived a challenge from winless Albany last Thursday. Eric Marciano's touchdown and Mark Seager's two-point conversion pass to Steve Duncan late in the fourth quarter helped the Scotties escape with a 15-12 home victory over the Falcons.
Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake enters Friday's game at Lansingburgh off its most impressive performance of the season, a 31-7 victory over Mohonasen last Thursday. Paul Layton threw two touchdown passes and added a 25-yard field goal to go along with four successful extra point kicks, while Nick Henderson rushed for two touchdowns for the Spartans.""