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Class AA football is up for grabs

Bethlehem Eagles

Head coach: Ron Smith

Key players: Randy Bowers (senior QB/DB), Kyle Niehaus (senior WR), Casiem Maxwell (junior RB), Sam Smith (senior WR/K), Teddy Abriel (junior OL/DL), Sean Murphy (senior FB), Sam Gallup (senior RB), Vince Adams (senior OL), Kevin Phelps (senior OL)

Outlook: A slow start cost the Eagles a chance to make the playoffs last year, but two crossover victories at the end of 2007 and the return of several key players give them confidence entering this season. "I think this senior group has experienced a lot together," said Smith. Bethlehem has several weapons including Bowers, Maxwell and Murphy, but the defense will have to step up in order to propel the Eagles toward the top. "We'll have to see how they do," said Smith.

CBA Brothers

Head coach: Matt Gormley

Key players: Andrew Vivian (senior QB/DB), Jack Reilly (junior RB/DB), Devin O'Brien (senior OL/LB)

Outlook: CBA's 27-man roster is one of the smallest in class AA, but Gormley said the level of talent is high. "We don't have a lot of numbers, but the people we have are ones we feel that we can put on the field and they will contribute," he said. If they avoid any key injuries, Gormley said the Brothers are hoping to make it back to the playoffs. "Going in, we're certainly not looking at (reaching) the top of the charts, but I think we'll be somewhere in the mix," he said.

Guilderland Dutchmen

Head coach: Dan Penna

Key players: Jason Lawrence (senior FB/DL), Devan Van Auken (senior OL/DE), Cody Betton (senior OL/DL), Mike Kennedy (senior OL/DL), Bobby Falcone (senior QB/DB), Ryan Smith (sophomore QB/DB), Jesse Terzian (senior RB/DB), E.J. Genzano (senior SE/DB/K)

Outlook: Let's begin with what the Dutchmen won't have " the dynamic duo of running back Paul Booker and quarterback Drew Smith. The graduation of those two players who were responsible for most of Guilderland's offense in 2007 leaves a big hole for Penna to fill. "As much as we know other teams have placed a target on our backs, we also know we're a totally different team," he said. "If we were racehorses last year, we're plow horses this year."

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