BROADALBIN — After a season of struggles, the Broadalbin-Perth football team will head into the 2022 season with a new head coach.
Rick Wallace takes over for long-time head coach Jim Pelneau this season. Wallace was appointed to the position on July 18.
“Over the past few years, our football program has struggled a bit,” Broadalbin-Perth athletic director Tucker Gifford said. “Our goal is to field a team at all three levels — modified, junior varsity and varsity. The previous staff worked hard to do that for us, but it’s just time to go in a different direction that gives us a chance to refresh and rebuild the football program.”
That process will encompass all levels of football at Broadalbin-Perth.
“I want coach Wallace to really dive into the youth program and work with the BYC [Broadalbin Youth Commission] football program,” Gifford said. “We can’t afford to lose kids in the transition from youth football to modified and modified to junior varsity and varsity. Keeping those kids in the program goes a long way toward building the stability of the program.”
Wallace has already begun the building process this summer, hosting voluntary offseason workouts three days a week.
“We’ve been getting 25-27 kids, and today we’ve got over 30, which is our biggest turnout yet,” Wallace said Wednesday. “We’re getting a few back, and we’re hoping to piece it together. Our 7th- through 10th-grade numbers are good, we’re trying to fix the 11th- and 12th-grade problem. The coaches and players are reaching out to potential players to try to boost our numbers.”
Numbers were a problem all last season for Broadalbin-Perth.
After starting its season with just 22 players on its varsity roster and no junior varsity team, B-P also was forced to cancel its Week 0 game with Fonda-Fultonville on Sept. 3.
After cancelling their opener, the Patriots were able to play their next five contests without interruption.
The Patriots lost their first three games to Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk (32-7), Green Tech (12-7) and Mohonasen (42-13) before posting a 35-34 victory at Scotia-Glenville on Oct. 1.
In its 46-14 loss to Gloversville on Oct. 8, B-P started the game with just 17 available players — one above the required number to start a game.
Following that contest, the Patriots canceled their next three games due to a lack of available players because of injuries and quarantines.
B-P lost home games with Lansingburgh (Oct. 15) and Hudson Falls (Oct. 29), as well as a road game at Glens Falls (Oct. 23) from its schedule that ended with a 41-14 home crossover game victory against Johnstown on Nov. 4.
Pelneau went 2-7 last fall as B-P head coach and 44-49 overall in 11 seasons, making seven trips to the Class B playoffs and reaching the Class B title game in 2013. Pelneau, who became head coach in 2011, had been with the program since joining it in 2005 as an assistant coach.
“We aren’t the only school in this situation in terms of numbers. We could go either way. Either we don’t have enough to field a team and cancel four or five games, or we have a team with 30 or more players,” Gifford said. “We want to build the program to the point where numbers aren’t a yearly issue because it takes a toll on the program.”
Wallace, who is 25, is a 2015 B-P graduate who played varsity football in 2013 and 2014. He has been an assistant coach with the program for seven years and is a special education teacher in the district.
“It’s been a lot of phone calls and emails so far,” Wallace said. “We’re trying to build things up, and we’re slowly getting there. I’m excited about the season. I’m looking forward to getting started for real on Aug. 22.”
Wallace attended Fulton-Montgomery Community College and Grand Canyon University.
“We want to establish a culture that the kids are excited to be a part of,” Wallace said. “We want our Friday night atmosphere to be something the players remember forever.”
Wallace’s staff includes Shawn Cotter, Tim Cornell, Preston Taylor and Brendan Reed.
“We’re trying to increase participation and establish a culture,” Wallace said. “Once those things happen, the winning will come, but that’s not our focus right now. We want to set a foundation for success going into the future.”
For the Broadalbin-Perth football program and Wallace himself, the future begins now.
“Coach Wallace is motivated and energetic. The kids respond well to him and he’s a big relationship builder,” Gifford said. “He’s a B-P graduate. I’ve coached him, and I’ve coached with him. He’s impressive and holds himself well. He’s young and has some learning to do, but I think he’s up to the task.”