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Class AA state semifinal preview: New Rochelle vs. Shaker

Posted By Josh Thomson On November 15, 2012 @ 8:00 pm In Football | Comments Disabled

Class AA state semifinal
New Rochelle (9-1) vs. Section 2’s Shaker (10-0)
Saturday, 7
Where: Dietz Stadium, Kingston
Key players: New Rochelle – Khalil Edney (6-3, 180), Sr., QB; Joe Clarke (6-2, 210), Sr., TE/LB/P; Jason Ceneus (5-9, 180), Sr., RB/DB. Shaker – Ryan Griffin (6-0, 210), Sr., RB; Chris Landers (6-3, 175), Sr., QB; Kenny Jackson (5-10, 180), Sr., RB; David Morrison (6-4, 270), Sr., OT/DT; Schuyler Huntington (6-3, 255), Sr., OT/DT.
Outlook: The contrast between the two programs is stark. New Rochelle had played in the state tournament nine times since 2000; this is Shaker’s first trip. The difference carries over to the rosters as well. Although both teams operate out of Wing-T offenses, they do so with different directives. The Huguenots are smaller but quicker and apply pressure on the perimeter, especially with Edney’s passing. Shaker relies primarily on its running game, particularly between the tackles. Morrison and Huntington lead an offensive line that has a significant size advantage of the New Rochelle defense, but Shaker coach Greg Sheeler watched the Huguenots overcome a similar deficiency in last week’s 39-7 win over Pine Bush. “They’re the fastest team we’ve seen all season,” Sheeler said.
Up next: Class AA state championship, at the Carrier Dome, Syracuse
When: Saturday, Nov. 24, 6 p.m.
Opponent: Winner of CBA-Syracuse (Section 3) and Orchard Park (Section 6)



  • Feature on the defense being the key to Shaker’s success [7]



    New Rochelle coach Lou DiRienzo

  • On Shaker’s style: “They have a big, physical, power Wing-T game, a quarterback who’s real good on the flank, and a downhill type of approach when they get into a two-back offense.”
  • On Shaker’s defense: “They run a traditional 3-4, Pittsburgh Steelers defense. They get after it pretty good. They play a hard cover 2 behind it. They get after you, get-in-your-face kind of team.”
  • On gauging how good of an opponent it is: “You can’t. That’s the thing. With Monroe, we played them three years in a row. It might as well have been New Rochelle-White Plains or New Rochelle-Mount Vernon, like they’re in our county. That was a tremendous rivalry. It was like synchronized dancing. We knew what they did, they knew what we did. It was a chess match a lot of the time with emotion in it. Even when we played Troy in 2010, we had also played them in 2000. We, as coaches, don’t change a hell of a lot, so there was familiarity there. But Pine Bush – we never played them before. Shaker – we’ve never played them before. I think it’s a disadvantage.”

    Shaker coach Greg Sheeler

  • On the team’s first trip to the state playoffs: “It’s exciting for everybody on our football team and in our school community. To play a team like New Rochelle, who has been there before and everybody respects as a state football powerhouse, it will be a great experience for our kids. We’re looking forward to it.”
  • On having a bye week: “It was a good opportunity for us to get healthy and build our strength and conditioning back up. It was a great opportunity for us to go over our tendencies and see what we’re doing well and what we’re not doing well and make corrections.”
  • On how New Rochelle compares to his team: “They’re the fastest team we’ve seen all season. Their 11 guys all run to the ball very well on defense. They’re extremely well-coached on offense. They do a nice job, carrying out the fakes and do a nice job up front. We’re more of a between the tackles team. They’re more of a perimeter team. They use their talent. They have a very good quarterback. We line up in similar formations, but when the ball is snapped we do different things. They’re using their speed. We’re using our size.”
  • On how the team matches up: “We’re a run team first. We want to run the ball, but we want to keep teams honest with the play-action pass and our deep passing game. Certainly, when you get to this level of competition, you have to make adjustments and do some things different. We don’t expect to make big changes, but we also know we’re going to have to do some different things against New Rochelle. I think they’re very good at stopping the run. They do that very well. I think to keep them honest we’re going to have to be able to pass the ball on them. I don’t expect to throw the ball for 300 yards or anything, but picking our spots in the passing game is going to be big for us.”

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URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://varsityinsider.lohudblogs.com/files/2012/11/ganley.jpg

[2] Shaker results and stats: http://www.timesunion.com/fb-team/?TeamID=481&SportID=1&TeamName=Shaker

[3] Section II Super Bowl: 14-0 win over Shenendehowa: http://www.timesunion.com/sports/article/Shaker-takes-1st-title-4004950.php

[4] Section II semifinals: A controversial 28-21 win over Schenectady: http://www.timesunion.com/default/article/Shaker-slips-Schenectady-3986023.php

[5] Feature on Shaker’s by week preparation for the state semifinals: http://www.timesunion.com/sports/article/Shaker-finds-November-practice-perfect-4014118.php

[6] Times-Union column on the controversy surrounding Shaker’s semifinal win: http://www.timesunion.com/default/article/Missed-call-a-harsh-life-lesson-3991673.php

[7] Feature on the defense being the key to Shaker’s success: http://www.timesunion.com/sports/article/Shaker-defense-key-to-its-success-4038586.php