Two teams return to Class AA

The Class AA football field is a little more crowded this season.

After spending the previous two years in Class A, Niskayuna and Troy move back into the largest of Section II's five football classifications. And both teams are looking forward to renewing some old rivalries.

It's great to be back playing against teams we've played in the past, said Niskayuna coach John Furey. "We know we have our work cut out for us."

"It's very competitive from top to bottom," said Troy coach Jack Burger. "One of the things about being out of the double As is that you haven't seen some of these teams for a couple of years, so you don't know what they might have."

What Niskayuna and Troy bring to Class AA is talented, veteran-laden squads that will automatically challenge the rest of the league " specifically the Liberty Division.

"Troy is always going to be a factor, and Niskayuna has always played us tough," said Colonie coach Mike Ambrosio.

"There's a bunch of teams that have the potential to win the double A title," said Schenectady coach Jim Kramer. "It will come down to who stays healthy and who plays the most disciplined."

The Empire Division is likely to see some change, too, as defending Sectional champion Saratoga Springs deals with the graduation of most of its starters from last year's team. Shenendehowa, Ballston Spa and Guilderland are among the teams looking to knock the Blue Streaks from their perch.

"I think you'll see Guilderland out of our division push everybody's limits," said Ballston Spa coach John Bowen.

"I think we're going to be right in the mix," said Guilderland coach Dan Penna. "The division is wide open."

Here is a closer look at both Class AA divisions.

Liberty Division

Colonie Garnet Raiders

Head coach: Mike Ambrosio

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