The Shenendehowa and Ballston Spa football teams have tough battles ahead of them Friday night if they want to advance in the Section II, Class AA playoffs.
Shen (5-2) hosts a Niskayuna team that features one of the most dynamic passing attacks in Class AA, while Ballston Spa (4-3) visits a Schenectady squad that has one of the best all-around offenses in Section II.
We know we're going to get every bit of what Schenectady has to offer Friday night, so we have to give everything we've got to give ourselves a chance to win, said Ballston Spa coach John Bowen.
Shen's secondary will be tested by Niskayuna quarterback Danny Peters, who leads Section II in passing yards (1,513).
"They have a very talented quarterback, they have two very good receivers (Peter Furey and Kadeem Miller) and they love to attack opposing defenses," said Shen coach Brent Steuerwald.
Meanwhile, Ballston Spa's defense will be tested by a Schenectady offense that is as comfortable running the ball as it is throwing it. Tailback Marc Thompson has rushed for 948 yards this season, while quarterback Nick Ottati has thrown for 988 yards.
"There is truly no one thing you have to stop against Schenectady," said Bowen. "You can't focus on Thompson because someone else can burn you."
The one thing Ballston Spa and Shen have going for them entering Friday's quarterfinal round is their offenses, which were on full display in last Friday's Empire Division game between the two Saratoga County teams. The two teams accounted for more than 800 yards of offense, but it was Shen that came out on top 45-41 on Tyler Dehmer's 82-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the final 25 seconds.
"They did a really nice job (on the kickoff return)," said Bowen. "They had a real nice block, and two of our kids slipped when (Dehmer) made a cut inside."