"We don't think it's a rebuilding thing," said assistant coach Craig Durant. "We're just sticking in players who didn't have a chance to play last year."
Head coach: Brent Steuerwald
Key players: Andrew Kalish (QB/DB), Suhayb Banks (RB/DB), Mike Daly (SE/DB), Bronson Greene (RB/DB), Bob Beaudoin (RB/LB), Jon North (OL/DL), Austin Lane (OL/DL)
Outlook: The Plainsmen have a solid core of veteran skill players on offense with Kalish, Banks, Daly and Greene, but Steuerwald said the younger players also have to contribute.
"That's always one of the key questions. How will your juniors look when they mesh with the seniors?" said Steuerwald.
Head coach: Rick Leach
Key players: Ted Abriel (OL), Mike DeRuve (WR), Casiem Maxwell (RB), Ryan Ference (DB), Zach McDowell (LB)
Outlook: The Eagles are basically starting from scratch after graduating most of their starters from last year. "We have to replace a lot of people," said Leach, "but the people we have back have some talent."
Leach said the primary goal is to get off to a good start. "Many new guys need to come up to speed quickly, especially [the] four new starters on the offensive line," he said.
Colonie Garnet Raiders
Head coach: Mike Ambrosio
Key players: Nick Colello (WR/DB), Mike Branche (QB/DE), Nick DiFlorio (WR/DB), Bill Bonneau (WR/DB), Chris Cossart (OL/DL)
Outlook: Ambrosio returns to the varsity sidelines after a year away to coach the freshman team and watch his son Mark play for crosstown rival Shaker. "I kept my hand in [the program]. It wasn't like I left the country or was in the witness protection program," said Ambrosio.
The varsity team Ambrosio returns to is trying to turn itself around after a rare playoff-less 2008 campaign. "We want to come out there and make sure Game 8 [first round of Sectionals] is a meaningful game for us," said Ambrosio. "But as long as we perform to our best ability on the field, that's all we can ask for."