Colonie can thank Shaker for playoff berth

The Colonie football team made the Section II, Class AA playoffs with help from its neighbors from Shaker.

The Blue Bison's 30-20 victory over Columbia last Friday assured the Garnet Raiders that they would be in Sectionals no matter what happened to them against Bethlehem which turned out to be a 31-14 loss last Saturday.

We appreciate what they did for us," said Colonie coach Mike Ambrosio.

What Shaker did for Colonie (2-3 division, 3-4 overall) was give Ambrosio an excuse to rest several of his starters, since he knew that the Garnet Raiders would be hitting the road for their first-round playoff game.

"We knew we had made the playoffs, so we were in a situation where we could rest some people," said Ambrosio.

Bethlehem (2-3, 3-4) took ad-vantage of the situation by out-scoring Colonie 14-0 in the second half to break open a close game. Mike Strohecker's 3-yard scoring run in the third quarter gave the Eagles a 24-14 lead, and Devin Stampley added a 1-yard scoring plunge in the fourth quarter.

The win moved Bethlehem into the No. 3 seed from the Liberty Division and a first-round match-up with Empire Division No. 2 seed Ballston Spa Friday. Colonie dropped to the No. 4 seed with the loss and put the Garnet Raiders into a quarterfinal game against Empire Division champion Saratoga Springs Friday.

"No matter where we went, we knew it was going to be a tough game. Both teams [Ballston Spa and Saratoga] are very good, physical teams," said Ambrosio.

Shaker (1-4, 2-5) might have had a chance to make the playoff field had Colonie beaten Bethlehem Saturday. A Bethlehem loss would have created a three-way tie for fourth place, which would have led to the use of quarter points to determine which team made Sectionals.

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