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High school football: Class AA football preview

Change comes to Shen and Colonie, but list of contenders remain the same

New Shenendehowa coach Brian Clawson, second from right, is looking to guide the Plainsmen to another Section II Class AA football title with the assistance of several returning players including, from left, quarterback Ryan Buss, lineman Christopher Stewart and running back Lucas Buckley. Shen begins its first season without longtime coach Brent Steuerwald Friday at Albany.

New Shenendehowa coach Brian Clawson, second from right, is looking to guide the Plainsmen to another Section II Class AA football title with the assistance of several returning players including, from left, quarterback Ryan Buss, lineman Christopher Stewart and running back Lucas Buckley. Shen begins its first season without longtime coach Brent Steuerwald Friday at Albany. Photo by Rob Jonas.

Here is a look at the Class AA field.

Empire Division

Albany Falcons

Head coach: Jon McClement

Key veterans: Cody Thomasen (OL/DL), Andrew Clark (OL/DL), Ah-Juan Boyd (OL/DL), Chris Wolcott (QB/DB), Tysheem Morris (RB/DB), Justin Holmberg (DB/QB)

Outlook: McClement said the Falcons are closer to being a competitive team this year than they were last year, but wins may still be difficult to come by. “We’re frontloaded on the schedule (with tough teams),” said McClement. “If we can come out of the first four or five games healthy and if we can be competitive in those games, then we should be in good shape.”

Ballston Spa Scotties

Head coach: John Bowen

Key veterans: Tom King (senior OL/DL), Derek Kolberg (junior RB/LB), Frank Tessier (senior OL/LB), Walker Tedford (senior OL/DL), Will Oates (junior OL/DL)

Outlook: With the graduation of leading rushers RJ Borgolini and Jordan Davis, the Scotties must rebuild their offense, but that hasn’t diminished their expectations. “We’re excited and certainly looking forward to the start of the season,” said Bowen. “Offensively, we’ve got a good mix of guys.”

Bethlehem Eagles

Head coach: Rick Leach

Key veterans: Dan Robeson (junior QB/S), Pat Devoe (senior WR/LB), RJ Diego (senior RB/S), Jason Clas (junior TE/DE), Mike Graves (junior RB/CB), Pat Curran (senior RB/NT), Frank Erickson (senior C/DE), Josh Northrup (senior OL/DT), Rob Wildermuth (junior OL/DE), Pat Rarick (senior TE/DE)

Outlook: The Eagles possess a potent one-two punch at running back with Diego and Graves, and they hope to ride them into the playoffs after missing a berth with a loss to Guilderland in the final week of the 2011 season. “It’s a great group of kids who have worked very hard during the off-season,” said Leach.

CBA Brothers

Head coach: Joe Burke

Key veterans: Vinnie DiBiase (C/DL), Mike Zaloga (OL/DL), Cameron Wynn (RB/DB), Tyler Leppanen (OG)

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