B y Dan King

It’s football season, and the Whitehall Railroaders are hoping to build on the momentum from last year’s championship season.

The defending Section II Class D champions kick off their season this Saturday against Helderberg Valley at Berne-Knox-Westerlo High School at 1 p.m.

Last season, the Railroaders had a perfect regular season record of 7-0, then went on to win both of their sectional playoff games, taking the Section II Class D Super Bowl crown. Whitehall was defeated by Ticonderoga in the New York State quarterfinals, finishing the season with an overall record of 9-1.

During the regular season, Whitehall outscored its opponents 243-46. Including the playoffs, Whitehall outscored its opponents 294-96.

Helderberg Valley is a first-year program, a combination of Schoharie, Duanesburg and Berne-Knox-Westerlo. The team is a Class C program playing a Class D schedule this year and thus will not be eligible for the playoffs.

Last season, Schoharie and Duanesburg were combined and called Schoburg. That team went 1-6, with its only win coming at Salem. The rest of Schoburg’s schedule was against Class C opponents. Schoburg was outscored 238-77 last season.

Berne-Knox-Westerlo has not fielded football players in any program since the 1950s.

Whitehall head coach Rich Gould said the key to success for his team this weekend, and throughout the season, will be physicality from the front line.

“Of course our strength will be our line,” he said. “We’ll have to rely on those guys to push people around and create holes to run through. We’re not going to outrun people – we lack that breakaway speed.”

Jake Moore is expected to get the start at quarterback in week one, after David Camara was injured in a scrimmage. Izaek Burger will play tailback for the maroon and white, and either Lucas Morse or Jimmer Rozell will take over at fullback. Daryl Hillman, who led Section II in rushing last year, is expected to be eligible for the Railroaders following week three.

Cody LaRock, Brandon Bolster and Andrew Genier will anchor the Railroaders’ offensive line.

Defensively, the front line should be the same as the offensive line. The linebacker corps will include Rozell and Phelony West. Morse and freshman Brendan Covey could also see some time at linebacker.

Whitehall has never played the combined Schoharie/Duanesburg program under any of its names.

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