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Sports Scraps 2.0

Section II football playoff predictions: Semifinal round

I got 11 of my 12 predictions correct in last weekend's Sectional football quarterfinal action in classes AA, A and B. Now, let's see how I do with predicting this weekend's semifinal contests in those divisions:

Class AA

LaSalle (5-3) at Shenendehowa (8-0): The Plainsmen will have their hands full trying to contain the Cadets' high-powered offense, but LaSalle will have a harder time containing Shen's balanced attack. I'm taking the Plainsmen in a wild one 49-28.

Christian Brothers Academy (7-1) at Columbia (7-1): CBA knows it will have to stop Columbia running back Christopher Smith if it has any hopes of reaching the Sectional final. I think the Brothers have a better chance of doing that than the Blue Devils have of stifling CBA's long list of playmakers. Cody Zappone, Cameron Wynn, Ted Cillis and the rest of the Brothers prevail 28-21.

Class A

Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake (7-1) at Troy (8-0): After ruling Class AA last year, the Flying Horses get their first chance to play the three-time defending Class A champion Spartans since losing to BH-BL in the 2009 Sectional final. As good as the Spartans looked in beating Mohonasen last weekend, I think being on the road and playing against an aggressive, physical Troy defense will be their undoing this week. The Flying Horses reach the Class A "Super Bowl" with a 28-14 victory.

Queensbury (5-3) at Amsterdam (8-0): Normally, it's hard to beat a football team twice in the same season. But I think the Rugged Rams have improved dramatically since beating the Spartans 29-7 in their opening week match-up. Amsterdam cruises past Queensbury 42-14.

Class B

Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk (6-2) at Schalmont (8-0): Gary VanDerzee and his RCS coaching staff have probably spent the past week figuring out a defensive scheme that can stop Schalmont, and it may work for a while. But eventually, the trio of Alex Hildebrand, Niko Nicoletti and Devon Willis will find a way to get the Sabres in the end zone. I'm taking Schalmont in a low-scoring affair, 21-14.

Cobleskill (5-3) at Albany Academy (8-0): The Bulldogs had their way with Cohoes in last weekend's quarterfinal round, but I think Albany Academy quarterback Conner Hartigan will have his way with Cobleskill this weekend. The Cadets march into the Class B final with a 35-13 victory.

That's it for my semifinal predictions. Check back Sunday to see if my prognostications came true.

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