Something about this state quarterfinal weekend sometimes brings out the worst of November weather.
Friday night's forecast calls for bitter-cold conditions. The forecast temperature at game time (7 p.m.) is 20 degrees, with a wind chill of 9 above for both state quarterfinals involving local teams — Glens Falls vs. Gouverneur at Ogdensburg in Class B, and Cambridge vs. Moriah at AuSable Valley in Class D.
That always reminds me of some of the worst wintry weather I've seen at area football games over the years.
I've covered some brutally cold games in the state quarterfinals, which have been held in mid-November since the inception of the State Football Tournament in 1993.
The most memorable one for local fans is the 1997 state quarterfinals, when several inches of snow blanketed the area. I was in Amsterdam at the time and my football teams were all done at that point, but I remember seeing the pictures and television highlights. Greenwich played Moriah at the Vikings' Linney Field on Saturday (for some reason I thought it was played Friday night, but the game was postponed from Friday night at Ticonderoga by the snowstorm) -- after an army of volunteers did their best to clear the snow from the field before Greenwich's 24-0 victory over Moriah. Also that day, Queensbury had its own army of volunteers clear up to 8 inches of snow from its field before its state Class A quarterfinal against Potsdam, a 32-8 Spartans victory. Both games had been scheduled for neutral sites, but the snowstorm forced them to home sites. It also snowed in 1999 when Cambridge defeated Moriah 36-8 in a Class D state quarterfinal, as the Indians were on their way to their first state championship.
Some other memorably cold or snowy games I recall from my reporting career:
— 2001 state quarterfinals: Lake George played Moriah at Linney Field in Mineville, where it must have been in the 20s and the field looked white under a layer of frost. Lake George won 26-8, but I just remember how cold it was.
— 2002 state quarterfinals: A glaze of frozen snow with every 5-yard line shoveled off was the playing surface for a Class C quarterfinal at Tupper Lake, where Cambridge played the Lumberjacks in brutally cold conditions. It was about 15 degrees during the Friday night game on a surface better suited for hockey, but Cambridge still prevailed 28-7. I remember not being able to feel my feet by halftime and I wrote out my stats in pencil. In Class D the next day, Salem played Seton Catholic at Greenwich in slushy snow and mud, a 25-0 Salem win.
— Two weeks before that 2002 weekend, a surprise October snowfall greeted the Section II Class D semifinal at Warrensburg, where Fort Edward prevailed 7-6 on a sloppy field covered with slushy snow.
— 2003 state quarterfinals: Cambridge faced Seton Catholic in a Class D quarterfinal at Plattsburgh's Penfield Park, where it was bitter cold with a breeze and a coating of snow on the field. Cambridge had one of those big heat blowers running on its sideline, so I stood near it as often as I could. The Indians gave up a quick touchdown and nearly another, but after a huge goal-line stand, the Zack-Luke-led Indians rolled to a 19-6 victory.
— Halloween, 2011: The Class D semifinals were played at Schuylerville, and while the early game was cold and windy, the Halloween night game between Fort Edward and Rensselaer was played in a steady light snow that blanketed the FieldTurf field with a pretty good dusting. Rensselaer kept the ball in the Flying Forts' end for most of the Rams' 40-16 win.
— 2015 state quarterfinals: It was pretty cold at AuSable Valley for the Whitehall-Ticonderoga Class D matchup on the Friday night, but out in Ogdensburg the next day, once the sun set in the first quarter of the Class B game between Schuylerville and Malone's Franklin Academy, it got pretty darn cold with the breeze.
Tonight (Thursday), the Section II Exceptional Seniors All-Star Game is scheduled for Shenendehowa High School, where it's expected to be around 40 at the 6:30 p.m. game time.
The following Glens Falls-area players are members of the North team in the North-South format:
Queensbury — RB Patrick Conway, DL Dom Nassivera, LB Mike Guido,
South Glens Falls — WR Zach Nolan, DB Aidan Davies, RB K.J. Mickel, WR Brendan Yando, OL Lucas Gifford, OL Donald Lavarge
Schuylerville — DB Derek Willson, OL Walter Taras
Corinth — DL Nic Moses
Granville — DB Will Duffy
Lake George/Hadley-Luzerne — OLB Austyn O'Neil
Warrensburg — RB Trevor Prosser, DB Cole Lanfear
Saratoga Springs — QB Wes Eglintine, LB Mark Leuchten, DL Kevin Toote, TE Mike Eglintine
— In Class D, Cambridge (9-1) supplanted Greenwich (9-1) as the No. 2 team in the state with its 40-7 Section II championship win Saturday. The Witches slipped to No. 8 with the loss, which is a crime in itself because the Witches probably could have won the Section II Class C title this season. Moriah (9-1), Cambridge's opponent in the state quarterfinals, is still No. 7. Section V champ Clyde-Savannah (10-0) remains No. 1.
— Glens Falls (10-0) remained No. 1 in Class B, while Schuylerville (8-2) — which lost 40-37 in OT to the Indians in the Section II final Saturday — slipped to No. 9. Gouverneur (10-0), which plays Glens Falls in the state quarterfinals Friday night, is ranked 15th.
— Queensbury (6-4) settled for 19th in Class A, as did Saratoga Springs (9-1) in Class AA, after both lost in Section II finals over the weekend. Queensbury lost in the final seconds to No. 4 Burnt Hills (10-0), while the Blue Streaks fell to top-ranked Troy (10-0).
— In Class C, Holy Trinity (9-1) moved up to sixth, while Stillwater (8-2) fell to 12th after losing to the Pride 34-12 in the Section II title game Friday night.