By MICHAEL KELLY
Recorder Sports Staff
BROADALBIN -- For the third straight week, it's a big game for the developing Broadalbin-Perth football program.
After suffering lopsided losses the past two weeks, B-P is hoping the third time is the charm.
"This week," says junior Luigi Magliocca, "we're willing to -- no, we're going to -- come out with a positive attitude and we're going to win this game."
Tonight's opponent for B-P is Schuylerville, as the Black Horses will look to run the upstart Patriots' losing streak to three games. After winning its first three games of the season, B-P has lost its last two games by a combined score of 99-27, as the schedule has gotten tougher with contests against Glens Falls and Schalmont.
"They got off to a good start this year and, then, they took it on the chin a bit in the past couple of weeks," says Schuylerville head coach Greg O'Connor. "So, I'm sure they're looking to respond in a positive way."
The Black Horses are, too. A week after taking down Cobleskill-Richmondville, 35-21, Schuylerville suffered a 43-12 defeat last week at the hands of Hoosick Falls, a Class C competitor. But O'Connor says his team's mood heading into tonight's crucial Section II Class B West Division matchup -- the game will, most likely, decide the division's No. 3 seed -- is a good one, with the team looking to capitalize on its opportunity to move past last week's debacle.
"We just said, 'Hey, we're back to the B's now and we're fighting for playoff position,'" says O'Connor. "They just didn't play well last week, so they want to prove that they're better than what they've shown."
The Schuylerville (2-3, 2-2) coach could be speaking for both teams of players, though. B-P (3-2, 2-2) spent its week trying to figure out a way to return itself to the form that had the team off to an undefeated start through Week 3. The Patriots, who will play tonight before a Homecoming and Senior Night crowd, even went as far as to spend the early portion of its week practicing without pads to try and regain that preseason feeling.
Senior middle linebacker Tim Gordon says the key for his team to return to form tonight is to get its edge back.
"We've got to get back to that physical play we had the first three weeks," says Gordon. "I mean, if you go back and look at our film from the first three weeks, we were really firing to the ball and punishing people. The last two weeks, we've been softer."
"We've got to tackle better," assesses B-P head coach Jim Pelneau. "The last two weeks, I'm not happy with the way we've been tackling. We've got to be more disciplined, too; we kind of broke down on some of our keys the last couple of weeks."
B-P cannot afford to have such mental lapses tonight if it hopes to contain Schuylerville quarterback Shane Lyon. The senior is a threat to both run and throw, and is coming off a 151-yard rushing effort.
But the biggest problem the past two weeks for B-P has not been defensive letdowns. Rather, it's been the team's slow starts that have doomed the Patriots' chances; two weeks ago, Schalmont scored the game's first 38 points, while Glens Falls scored the contest's first 30 points a week ago.
"We have to avoid [a slow start]," says Pelneau. "We have to come out with fire, with emotion, we have to come out excited. Being homecoming and all the stuff that surrounds that -- plus it being the seniors' last home game -- they should have that emotion pretty high."