Class AA is up for grabs again

Calling Class AA unpredictable would be an understatement.

Take last year, for example. Schenectady a team that hadn't been successful since the merger of Linton and Mont Pleasant high schools won its first six games of the season including a romp over defending Section II champion LaSalle before losing to Shaker, which failed to make the playoffs.

Then, LaSalle rallied from a huge deficit to edge Empire Divison champion Saratoga Springs 41-39 in the Sectional semifinals and rode that wave to beat Schenectady in the finals.

This season may be harder to predict. Albany now has Pete Porcelli " the architect of Lansingburgh's dynasty " as its head coach. Saratoga, LaSalle and Schenectady all graduated significant contributors to their successful 2008 seasons, but they also have some talented players returning. And let's not forget about Shenendehowa, which has most of its key starters back.

Here is a closer look at this year's Class AA field.

Empire Division

Albany Falcons

Head coach: Pete Porcelli

Key players: Dominique Daniels (RB), Nico Rios (TE/DE), Hezekiah Williamson (RB)

Outlook: With Porcelli's arrival at Albany, the Falcons are hoping to become as dangerous as Porcelli's Lansingburgh teams. "We've got a lot of improving guys," said Porcelli. "They have the potential to do well."

Porcelli brings the double wing-T offensive formation with him to Albany " a formation that helped Lansingburgh win several Sectional titles at the Class B and Class A levels. "I can't ask for it to look stupendous yet. There's going to be some fine tuning along the way," said Porcelli. "But the kids are receptive to it."

Ballston Spa Scotties

Head coach: John Bowen

Key players: Matt Clark (RB/LB), Mark Seager (QB/DB), Nick Gallo (OL/DL), Mike Riani (OL/DL), Chris Ohnsman (OL/DE), Kyle Warmt (RB/DB), Bill Cook (TE/LB)

Outlook: The Scotties also run a version of the double wing-T behind Seager, who returns for his senior year. Clark and Warmt will be the featured backs.

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