BY JIM SCHILTZ
NISKAYUNA — Niskayuna High School varsity football coach John Furey can see better days coming.
His Silver Warriors dropped all of their games last season as a Class A independent, marking only the fourth time that’s happened to the school’s varsity since it began competing in Section II in 1958.
“We had to shut it down after seven games. It was a numbers deal,” said Niskayuna’s veteran coach. “In our last game, we had 15 kids who were capable of playing.”
Niskayuna’s 2014 season-starting roster listed 23 players, but only three seniors.
“We’ll have 20 seniors next [school] year, and our junior class will be about even with that. We’ll also have a couple of kids rejoining the program who want to be a part of it again,” said Furey. “We’re not only going to have kids, we’ll have great kids.”
Niskayuna is a Class AA-size football school in terms of enrollment, and, realizing it would have a low number of upperclassmen, requested to play at the Class A level last season. Niskayuna will again play a series of non-league games at the Class A level and will not be eligible for the 2015 playoffs.
The recently released Section II schedule has Niskayuna opening its season in early September against Class A Northwest Division opponents Green Tech and South Glens Falls. Niskayuna’s other five regular-season games will be against Class A Southeast Division teams Mohonasen, Averill Park, Amsterdam, Bishop Maginn and Troy. Two crossover games could be scheduled afterward.
Niskayuna’s 0-7 mark last season included a 14-10 loss to Bishop Maginn and a 28-27 overtime setback against Averill Park. Niskayuna’s last winless campaign was in 1989 (0-9).
“The idea is to get it rolling again and, hopefully, to be competitive,” said Furey, who then added. “No. I’m confident we’ll be competitive. Last year, we weren’t.”
Furey said while next year’s sophomore football group is expected to be in the teens, Niskayuna’s freshman class will be in the 30s.
“There are solid kids in that group,” he said. “That’s where the revitalization point is, with those 32 kids. The thought is to step up and go back to Class AA with them and be comfortable there.”
Niskayuna went 2-7 in 2013 and 3-6 in 2012, 5-4 in both 2011 and 2010 and 6-3 in 2009 and 2008. Niskayuna played at the Class AA level in all of those years except 2009.