There are two givens in this year's Colonie Cup football game between Shaker and Colonie Friday in Latham both teams will play with a lot of emotion, but only one team will leave the field with its first win of the season.
Somebody's obviously going to come out of here with a win, and somebody's going to come out of it with an identity," said Shaker coach Dennis Bender. "You kind of have to base it on film and go from there, but this rivalry has been going on for so long that you almost have to throw all of that away."
"It's always a fun game because the kids get up for it," said Colonie coach John Preston. "It's what high school football is all about."
Shaker and Colonie have struggled through the first two weeks of the season, thanks in large part to the toughness of their competition and their relative inexperience. Shaker gave up big plays to Newburgh Free Academy and Ballston Spa in its two losses, while Colonie lost to LaSalle and Schenectady " arguably the top two teams in Class AA's Liberty Division " with a lineup that features several juniors.
"I think people have to take into perspective that even though we're carrying 20 seniors on this year's team, only one of them started on defense last year and two of them started on offense last year," said Bender. "So, we're very young, and we're just starting to establish some things."
"We knew going in that we were going to be a young team. We knew we were building," said Preston. "Our goal every year is to improve every game. I don't know if we did that last week (in a 52-14 loss to Schenectady)."
Shaker's defense showed some improvement during a 25-19 loss to Ballston Spa last Friday. After allowing some big plays in the first half, the Blue Bison stopped the Scotties in the second half and scored a touchdown when Ryan Burns picked up a fourth quarter fumble and raced 15 yards for a touchdown that pulled Shaker within six points.