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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.

Outlook: With the graduation of several skill position players from last year’s offense, the Brothers are hoping a group of junior varsity call-ups will help them remain in the hunt for the division title this year. “Our JV team was pretty good last year, and we’ve got some talented running backs off that team,” said Burke. “We’re hopeful the kids will step up early so we can be successful.”

Guilderland Dutchmen

Head coach: Dan Penna

Key veterans: Micaiah Henningham (junior RB/DB), Stephen Polsinelli (senior RB/DB), Conor Gallup (senior RB/LB), D’Angelo Livingston (junior OL/DL), Jeremy Lamb (senior OL/DL), Andrew Antoinette (senior OL/LB), Emre Rice (senior OL/LB)

Outlook: This is the smallest team Penna has fielded in several years at Guilderland (32 players), but he’s hoping his veterans will guide the Dutchmen back to the playoffs. “We’re in the low 30s, but we think we’re 30 strong. That’s what I’ve been telling them,” said Penna. “We’ve got a lot of kids competing for starting positions this year.”

Saratoga Blue Streaks

Head coach: Terry Jones

Key veterans: Jake Eglintine (junior QB/DB), Victor Perez (senior RB/DB), Jordan Wilcox (junior RB/LB), Alex Chandler (senior WR/DB), Travis Mooney (senior RB/DE), Trevor Hallaran (junior OL/DL)

Outlook: The Blue Streaks are looking to get back in the playoff picture after missing Sectionals last year. “Certainly, it wasn’t for a lack of effort,” said Jones. “We had some injuries last year, and Class AA is very tough.”

Shenendehowa Plainsmen

Head coach: Brian Clawson

Key veterans: Marcelino Christie (senior RB/LB), DJ Edick (senior WR/DB), Anthony Lee (senior WR/DB), Aaron Brogna (senior WR/DB), Ryan Buss (senior QB/DB), Corey Acker (senior RB/DB), Jared Allen (senior RB/DB), Christopher Stewart (senior OL/DL)

Outlook: The Plainsmen may have graduated key players such as running back Tony Fusco and quarterback Ted Van Galen, but they return several players with loads of varsity experience led by Christie, Acker and Lee. “The players have made the transition easy, especially since I’ve spent a year working with these guys,” said Clawson. “The entire senior class has shown great leadership, and they want to make certain the juniors step up.”

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