Cambridge eager to avenge loss when it matters most
CAMBRIDGE, N.Y. — Cambridge football coach Doug Luke is hoping that Saturday's Class D Super Bowl against Whitehall will be deja vu all over again.
In 2014, Whitehall hosted the Indians on a nasty, rainy day and came away with a somewhat stunning 21-19 victory. A couple of weeks later, in nicer weather in the sectional title matchup, Cambridge had its revenge with a 42-0 victory.
Fast forward 12 months. Whitehall — on a better weather day — dominated the Indians, scoring 15 points in the first three minutes en route to a 29-14 win. Now, as the Super Bowl inches closer, Luke is digging into three decades of coaching wisdom to find a way to repeat last year's feat.
"We need to find something, the last time, things didn't work," said Luke, in the top 10 on the New York state active coaches wins list. "I'm sure it's like all the other teams, we watch film to make adjustments. They had so much success early on, we want to figure out what they do on offense and defense and we want to do things to take advantage of it."
That something includes adding a couple of new wrinkles on both sides of the ball and moving players around.
"It's a process we've done several times throughout the year, we've asked the kids to play different positions, it's a weekly thing," Luke said.
Something that will not change is the stable of running backs Cambridge seems to have every single season. This year, it's a tri-headed monster with Andy Romack, Colton Dean and Riley Stefanovich carrying the rock. They have combined for 29 touchdowns — 11 for Dean, 10 for Stefanovich and eight for Romack, who leads the team in rushing yards.
"We make adjustments from week to week and this is no different," Romack said.
"It's not the first year for Andy and Colton," Luke said. "Andy didn't get a lot of playing time last year, he was mostly on the JV, but he was here and he understands it. Riley is [on the team] for the first time since eighth grade. He's part of the things he can do. The kids accept it when we make changes, they are extremely coachable."
Brendan Holcomb is under center, taking over for four-year starter Ethan English. As usual for Cambridge, the quarterback isn't forced to throw a lot, but he's been very good when called upon.
"Brendan is a smart kid, he knows football," Luke said. "He's probably not a quarterback, but he's stepped up and played the position for us. We've put a lot of pressure on him."
Romack and lineman Kordell Benson each said the Indians need to be much more physical in the second meeting.
"They came out and punched us in the mouth," Benson said. "We couldn't bounce back from it. We need to push the mistakes along and get to the next play."
The unbeaten Railroaders are led by the rushing attack of Daryl Hillman, who has scored 21 touchdowns in nine games.
"When you have kids that can beat the other team up [on the line], it makes it easier to be basic," Luke said. "Most teams haven't stopped it. We didn't do it."
With all the history Cambridge's program has, the next group wants to cement their status with a sectional championship, and they'll have to beat Whitehall to do it.
"We want them to believe that, we want them to believe we're going to win. Our expectations are really high, we want to win everything," Luke said. "It hurts to lose a game."
Saturday's game is scheduled for 1 p.m. at Schuylerville High School. Ticket prices are set by Section II.
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