If you haven’t looked at the sidelines of a Schalmont or a Scotia-Glenville boys soccer game lately, you might do a double take when you see who’s coaching which team.
Chris Bailey left Schalmont after last year to take over for Al Alexander at Scotia-Glenville, while junior varsity coach Jason Beck moved into Bailey’s role with the western Rotterdam squad.
I’ll never be able to fill Chris’ shoes, said Beck. `He’s been extremely successful at Schalmont even before I got here four years ago.`
The changes on the sidelines haven’t altered where either team sits in their respective leagues. Scotia-Glenville is tied with Gloversville for first place in the Foothills Council, while Schalmont occupies the Colonial Council penthouse.
`It’s been a positive experience so far,` said Bailey. `We’re tied for the league lead, so that’s good.`
Scotia-Glenville (6-1 league, 7-4 overall) has risen to the top of the Foothills Council with a stingy defense. The Tartans have allowed only three goals in their seven league games, second only to Gloversville.
That stingy defense has come in handy for Scotia-Glenville, since three of its seven Foothills Council games have been decided by two goals or less.
`I have found the Foothills Council to be very competitive,` said Bailey.
Fortunately for the Tartans, their offense seems to have come around in recent games. After shutting out South Glens Falls 3-0 Sept. 20, they defeated Hudson Falls and Broadalbin-Perth by identical 5-1 scores.
On the surface, the offense hasn’t been a concern at Schalmont, either. The Sabres (7-1, 9-2) have outscored their Colonial Council opponents 45-6, but take away a 16-0 victory over Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk, an 8-0 win against Mechanicville and an 8-1 win against Lansingburgh, and they’ve held a 15-5 advantage over their other foes.
`We’ve put some goals up but we’ve got to start scoring some goals against some tough teams, too,` said Beck.
Both teams have a long way to go before claiming their league titles, though Scotia-Glenville can gain an advantage in the Foothills Council with a win against Gloversville Friday. The Tartans still have road trips to Glens Falls (who they defeated 1-0 Sept. 16 at home) and South Glens Falls, and they host Queensbury.
Meanwhile, Schalmont has a key home game against Albany Academy ` the only Colonial Council team to beat the Sabres ` Friday, as well as an Oct. 11 game at Voorheesville.
`There’s a lot of soccer left. We don’t look past anybody,` said Beck.
Then, there is the matter of the Section II, Class A playoffs. If Scotia-Glenville and Schalmont are placed in the same half of the bracket, there is a possibility that the two teams will meet with their seasons on the line.
Bailey, who still works as a guidance counselor at Schalmont, said that the possibility would be `very interesting.`
`Many of the seniors on the (Schalmont) team have me as a guidance counselor, so they see me all the time,` he said.
Beck also communicates a lot with Bailey. `We talk on a daily basis, and we’re pretty close friends,` he said.
That playoff meeting may not happen this year, though. Class A is loaded with talented teams including Gloversville, South Glens Falls and Albany Academy, as well as perennial Suburban Council threat Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake and a surging Mohonasen squad.
`In my mind, it will be a very difficult Sectional playoff,` said Beck.“