Neither team has seen the other except on film, but suffice to say, with the miserable weather forecast for Friday night, game plans may be tossed out the window.
Cambridge-Salem and Ogdensburg Free Academy clash in a Class C state football quarterfinal, set for 7 p.m. at Potsdam High School. The winner advances to the state semifinals next Saturday at 11 a.m. at Middletown High School, against either Dobbs Ferry or Chester.
Both teams rely heavily on the run, which is probably a good thing because rain or mixed precipitation is in the forecast for the game, although it will be played on artificial turf.
“We haven’t gotten a break with the weather,” said Cambridge-Salem head coach Doug Luke, whose Indians defeated Chatham 41-27 last week in a rain-soaked Section II title game. They also had two home playoff games moved to Stillwater’s turf because of field conditions.
“From the little bit we’ve seen of (Ogdensburg), they look awfully good, but one game was played in pouring rain,” Luke said. “They run it right at you, but only seeing them on film, you can’t tell the strength or size of their offensive and defensive lines. Being able to control the line of scrimmage will be the key.”
The Indians — 10-0 and ranked No. 1 in the state in Class C — did just that last week, racking up 493 yards total offense against Chatham. Senior running backs Tyler Linendoll (242 yards, 3 TDs) and Tommy English (153 yards, 2 TDs) ran all over the Panthers in leading Cambridge-Salem to its 17th Section II title since 1992. The Indians have won 18 straight games and are 35-1 over the last three seasons, including back-to-back Class D state titles.
English leads the Glens Falls area in rushing with 1,402 yards and has scored 26 touchdowns overall. Linendoll, who had been hampered by a knee injury recently, has rushed for 1,060 yards and 19 TDs.
Ogdensburg, 9-1 and ranked sixth in the state, is coming off a 20-7 win over Saranac in the Section VII-X playoff last week. The Blue Devils, trailing 7-6, scored twice in the final six minutes, taking the lead on Hayden Ives’ 57-yard interception return. A blocked punt then set up Ives with a game-sealing 5-yard touchdown run.
Ogdensburg avenged its only loss of the season with a 28-0 shutout of Gouverneur in the Section X final on Oct. 27. The Blue Devils have won six of the last seven Section X titles in Class C. Two years ago, Ogdensburg defeated Greenwich in the state quarterfinals and played in the state final.
“We had a tough road to get here, but it’s been a rewarding road,” Blue Devils head coach Matt Tessmer said. “Our defense has been playing well and our offense has been efficient.”
Because of injuries, Ogdensburg has gone through four starting quarterbacks this season, and the No. 3 man — junior MeSean Johnson, a converted split end — has returned for the playoffs.
The Blue Devils are a run-first team with a trio of hard-running backs — Stephen Morley (640 yards, 4 TDs), Wyatt Kirby (553 yards, 8 TDs) and Tristian Lovely (426 yards, 3 TDs).
“We’ve been working through some adversity this season,” Tessmer said. “It’s amazing that we are where we are.”