Two teams return to Class AA

Key players: Mike Fitzgibbon (WR/DB), Davion Brink (RB/LB), Ryan Nolte (RB/LB), Matt McCarty (OL/LB)

Outlook: Though the Garnet Raiders have 22 seniors on the roster this season " nearly half of which are linemen " Ambrosio said that there isn't a lot of varsity experience in this group.

"On the other hand, we have a lot of youthful enthusiasm," said Ambrosio.

Starting its season Thursday against crosstown rival Shaker isn't what Ambrosio wanted to do.

"The big difference is we won't have all the hype built up going into the game," said Ambrosio. "School won't have started yet, so there won't be an opportunity to build up the usual excitement in the halls."

Columbia Blue Devils

Head coach: Drew Romanowski

Key players: Corey Gibson (TE/DL), Jake Wronoski (RB/DB), Jonas Godell (RB/LB), Cameron Wynn (RB/DB), Chad DeJohn (OG/LB), Andrew Cleveland (OG/DL)

Outlook: Like Albany, Columbia has nowhere to go but up after finishing last in the Liberty Division last season. And with a large group of juniors, the Blue Devils will be looking to develop as a team.

"It's a solid group," said assistant coach Joseph DeNisio. "We bring forth a positive attitude and a desire to play the game of football."

LaSalle Cadets

Head coach: Al Rapp

Key players: Garrett Delory (QB/DB), Kevin Koberger (RB/LB), Frank Seitz (OL/DL)

Outlook: This season could test LaSalle's ability to reload. Not only do the Cadets only have three returning starters from last year's team, but they're also in a division that became more competitive with the additions of Troy and Niskayuna.

"I like our young guys' talent, but it's quite a jump to go from JV to varsity," said Rapp. "We have our work cut out for us."

Niskayuna Silver Warriors

Head coach: John Furey

Key players: Mike Chambers (WR/DB), Kyle Bayly (QB/DB), Chris Henry (RB/DE), Alex Melius (RB/DB), Rob Hilweh (RB/DB), Nick Schuler (RB/LB), Peter Kozakiewicz (WR/DB), Mitchell Russell (OL/DT), James Roche (OL/LB), John-Michael Fragnoli (WR/DE)

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