By MICHAEL KELLY
BROADALBIN -- The resemblance between this year's Broadalbin-Perth Patriots football team and the program's 1988 team is uncanny.
Nobody knows that better than Rob Taylor -- the father of current Patriots star Andre Taylor -- who starred for B-P 25 years ago.
"We, like this team, had a lot of weapons ... and found a lot of ways to score," says Rob Taylor, a wide receiver on the 1988 team that lost to Lake George in the Class D finals. The 1988 Patriots were B-P's only team to ever make a Section II Super Bowl before this season's club.
The similarities don't stop with the presence of a Taylor and the ability to score in a multitude of ways. While B-P is playing in today's Section II Class B Super Bowl in the third year of head coach Jim Pelneau's rebuilding project, the 1988 Patriots made it to the Super Bowl in the school's third year of having a football program. Broadalbin and Perth schools merged in the 1980s, and the new district first fielded a varsity football team in 1986 after playing together first at the junior-varsity level.
"For us to come up from a JV program in three years to win a championship in the (Northern Adirondack) league we were in and get to the Super Bowl with the merged school district was pretty exciting," says Bob Munn, an assistant coach for the 1988 team. "Both the communities, Broadalbin and Perth, were both very excited. The kids had a lot of support."
That's the same this year, too. B-P has seen crowds of a couple thousand people at home games this season as the Patriots have marched to today's Super Bowl with an 8-1 record.
Munn has a unique connection to both teams. The former B-P superintendent was an assistant coach for head coach Dan Krawczeski in 1988, and was still the district's superintendent when it hired Pelneau to come teach at the school. Munn also played a role in B-P assistant coach Vinnie Calderone getting to the school, though he was hired after Munn retired in 2006.
"Both of those young men are quality coaches and I'm so proud of what they've been able to do because they came in at a time when football had been down a bit," Munn says.
The same was true for Krawczeski, who helped to build up the B-P program during its rough infancy. Krawczeski passed away in the early 1990s.
"He had a style that I felt brought out the best in the kids," Munn says of Krawczeski. "He was a teacher-coach, if you know what I mean. The kids really related well to him. ... I always felt, personally, that a lot of people know Xs and Os, but it is the coaches that can get players to play for you that are the most successful -- and Danny had the style where he related to all the kids."
Now, Munn lives in Rochester and says he still follows B-P football on a regular basis through press clippings and reports. He made it back to Broadalbin this season for the Patriots' Homecoming victory against Cobleskill-Richmondville, and Munn came away with the same comparison between the present and the past that Rob Taylor does.
"We had so many weapons. We were able to spread the ball around, kind of like how this team does," Munn says.
Last week, that spread-the-ball-around nature of this year's Patriots took something of a back seat, as Andre Taylor rumbled his way to his best game of his career. The B-P senior rushed for 147 yards and three touchdowns, while also hauling in two receptions for 42 yards.
Rob Taylor -- who helped coach his son and most of this year's seniors when they were at the junior varsity level -- says it has been a fun ride this season getting to watch his son where his old team's colors.
"Seeing his face when they moved him back to running back this year and watching how he's taken that opportunity to show what he can do ... it's been fun to watch as his confidence has been growing," Rob Taylor says.
The father -- who has another son on the team, Preston, who is injured -- says his 1988 club lost in the Super Bowl because it was not mentally prepared for the contest. Andre Taylor says his father has told him to make sure his team does not fail for the same reason -- and, also, that the son has the chance to do something his father never did.
"He's told me that he lost in his Super Bowl, so, if I win, I've got something on him," Andre Taylor says.
If this year's Patriots cash in on their title chance, Rob Taylor says it is plenty fine with him if his son does a little bragging.
"Oh, definitely," he says. "Like any parent, you want your kids to do better than you did. I had the conversation with Andre the other day about how he had the chance to do something Dad was never able to do. We (the 1988 team) got here and we didn't get it done. I said: 'You can do it, you can be one of the people that leads your school to something it's never obtained before and that's special.'"