TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — If the second installment of CBA and Shenendehowa is as good as the first that we saw earlier this season, fans are in for a treat Friday night in the Section II, Class AA football championship game.
Since Bob Burns’ arrival at CBA, the Brothers have owned Class AA, taking the last two section titles. As they prepare for a third straight championship game appearance, this team has their own spin on the Super Bowl.
“The guys call it the “CBA Invitational,”” said Burns. “I mean…that’s kind of what it’s been.”
Shen has been on the losing end of both those championship games. A chance to bring a section title back to Clifton Park this year has led to an unprecedented drive from that group.
“The energy that they bring to practice is exponential,” said head coach Brian Clawson. “We’ve never had a team like this.”
“This game means a lot to us,” added senior wide receiver and outside linebacker Luke McAuliffe. “This is what we’ve been preparing for the whole year, and we’re really hyped up for this. I’ve never seen us like this before. Every week we just got better and better; just looking forward to this week. We knew it was gonna be CBA again.”
Momentum is with the Plainsmen heading in. They sit at 9-0 on the year, including a 28-14 win against CBA in Albany back in week five that broke a four-game losing streak against the Brothers.
“We won; we came out there; it was a statement victory for us,” said senior linebacker Brett Steiner. “But we’re still treating it like we haven’t beaten them once. We’re staying hungry. That’s really our goal.”
“There’s definitely a new sense of confidence around this team,” added Clawson. “I think we’ve kind of used that as a springboard going into the games thereafter – leading up to this one. So, in cumulation, we’re just gonna put all that together.”
And as great teams do, CBA has found ways to grow and learn from that loss.
“We came into that game cocky,” said Brothers senior quarterback and defensive back Jake Iacobaccio. “We thought we were the best team around, and, obviously, Shen’s one of the best teams; up there with us. And they took advantage of us that night. But I think that motivated us even more to work harder. And this week it’s really shown in practice.”
“We had a lot of penalties that game that set us back a lot,” added Donald Jones, CBA’s senior quarterback, wide receiver and defensive back. “Just like…the little things. Up front (we gotta) do a little better job getting your man, and getting assigned.”
There’s an added wrinkle to this section title game. Both teams have already qualified for the state tournament – Section II has two representations in the NYSPHSAA Football Championship this year for Class AA and Class A: the section champion and runner-up – but don’t think for a second that’s diminishing from the significance of this game.
“We don’t wanna back into the state tournament; I told those guys that on Sunday night at our meeting,” said Burns. “Our main focus right now is to…win a championship like it is every single year.”
“Doesn’t matter that both teams go to states,” said Steiner. “We want to win this section title; that matters most right now. And then next week, we’ll be looking on and on. You know, we’re taking this one week at a time.”
A 7:00 p.m. kickoff is tentatively scheduled for Friday. The Class AA championship game is the last of three sectional title matchups being held at Troy High School.
While the Brothers are aiming for a third straight plaque, the Plainsmen will be gunning for their first section title since 2019.
The winner of this game will draw the Section IX champion in the regional round of the state tournament. The loser will occupy the “Section II alternate” slot, and play the Section I champion.