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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, September 7, 2006

Gland football vs. Shaker

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND — Athleticism led to domination for the Guilderland football team on Friday night.

The Dutchmen controlled play at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, allowing Guilderland’s superior athletes to beat Shaker, 26-13, in the opening game of the football season at Guilderland High School.

"We played with great effort tonight," said Guilderland Coach Dan Penna. "We executed on offense. We played four quarters of football. We won the line of scrimmage."

The Dutch controlled the game early as they scored on their first two possessions of the game and never looked back as they shut out the Blue Bison for three quarters.

The Dutchmen followed the running of senior Kevin Forbes and got two big pass plays to score on the opening drive.

Senior quarterback Greg Barcomb completed a pass to tight end Paul Malamood on second down and 11 yards to go for a nine-yard gain that gave Forbes an easy run to pick up the first down on the next snap.

The bigger pass play came a few plays later. On third and nine, Barcomb rolled left and hit a wide open Joe Lima for a 38-yard pass play that put the ball on the Shaker one-yard line. Barcomb scored on a run on the next play and, after Nick Zanotta’s extra-point kick, the Dutch led, 7-0.

The score came with 5:35 left in the 12-minute first quarter.

The Dutch shut down Shaker on its first possession, forcing a punt and capitalized on the defensive stand.

Drew Smith, who also played quarterback in the game, took a handoff from Barcomb and outran the Shaker team for a 24-yard touchdown run. Smith also had a 16-yard run on the previous play to help set up the score.

Zanotta’s extra point made it 14-0 with just 1:50 left in the opening frame.

The offensive line — guards Christian Cortes and Matt Glock, center Russell Qulia, and tackles Devan Van Auken and Kyle Hussey — continued to control the line of scrimmage for the Dutch. Guilderland couldn’t get another score until the fourth quarter.

The defense, though, led by linebacker Pete Stanish, Hussey, and safety Jarrell Gatterson and two interceptions by Drew Smith kept the Blue Bison off the scoreboard.

The Dutch had a touchdown taken off the board in the second quarter. Paul Booker took a handoff and made some cuts and jukes and then sprinted to the end zone for an apparent touchdown. But an illegal blocking penalty by a Guilderland player wiped out the score and kept the game 14-0.

The Dutch also missed a field goal after Zanotta recoverd a fumble on the Shaker 17-yard line. Hussey made the hit that jarred the ball loose.

"Selfless football"

Guilderland scored on the first play of the fourth quarter when Forbes capped a drive with a one-yard touchdown run.

Smith took over at quarterback and had a 50-yard run where he used his speed and elusiveness to avoid Shaker defenders. After making many spectacular moves, he was caught at the five.

Barcomb re-entered the game at quarterback and handed the ball to Forbes for the touchdown. The extra point was blocked and the score was 20-0.

Shaker came back with a touchdown on the next possession. Eddie Cross threw a pass to Tony Mercadante for a 36-yard touchdown.

After the Dutch punted on their next possession, Smith made one of his two interceptions and returned the ball to the 20-yard line.

Two plays later, the Dutch used a trick play to add to their lead. Forbes took a hand off and then handed it off to Nick Ranalli who was headed in the opposite direction. Ranalli ran 11 yards for the touchdown and made the score 26-7.

Shaker scored with 55 seconds left to make the score 26-13. The Dutch recovered the on-side kick and ran out the clock to seal the win.

It was a dominating team effort for the Dutchmen.

"The running game was producing in any offense we put in," Penna said. "We spread the ball around. We had a number of different backs that carried the ball. The receivers made plays when we needed them. We have a stable of five or six kids that play fullback, wingback, and halfback that made successful plays. We had fresh legs carrying the ball."

Forbes and Smith were the leading rushers, but Jason Lawrence, Josh Sawyer, Booker, and Gatterson also carried the ball in the game.

Smith finished the game with 108 yard rushing and Forbes ran for 105 yards.

"We beat them on the ground," Barcomb said.

"But we still can air it out," Smith added.

The Dutch defense also did a great job of containing Cross and the Shaker offense.

"The key on defense," Penna said, "was we wanted to contain them. We expected the option offense. We knew Shaker would play a tough four quarters.

"But we played the whole football game," Penna added. "We made some mistakes. As certain teams get better, we need to get better too."

And the quarterback sharing seemed to work.

"The kids are buying into selfless football," Penna said. "They shared the football. I’m pleased with the kids. It was great team spirit."

Smith and Barcomb said there is another attitude that is driving the team.

"We have a chip on our shoulder," Smith said. "We want to come out and win every game we play."

"We are under the radar a little bit," Barcomb said. "A lot of people don’t think Guilderland can go and beat some teams. This puts us in the right direction."

Guilderland will try to continue its trek in the right direction with a home game against Troy on Friday night. It will be Pop Warner Night, honoring the youth league in Guilderland.

"This was a big win," Barcomb said. "But we have to get ready for Troy. They have kids that can play."

BKW boys soccer preview

By Tim Matteson

BERNE — The Berne-Knox-Westerlo boys’ soccer team will be hurt by a lack of depth and inexperience this season.

That lack of experienced players was evident as the Bulldogs were beaten, 8-0, by Schenectady Christian on Tuesday.

"We’re very young," said BKW Coach Jim Gillis. "We have 16 kids on the team and seven of them are sophomores and freshmen. I have two kids that have never played before. We’re going to struggle. We also have two kids hurt and that left me with three subs. And it shows when we go out and play."

Gillis is resigned to the fact that he is going to have low numbers all season — with no junior varsity team — and he is ready to play with what he’s got.

"Hopefully, we’ll go out and keep trying. The kids I have are the kids that came out. They work every day, and I hope good things will happen."

Three starters from last year’s team did not come out for the team this season.

The Bulldogs will struggle to score goals this season even more than last year.

"Last year, we scored 13 goals," Gillis said. "And one player had nine. I don’t have a single player that is going to score a lot of goals."

Peter Primiano took his nine goals when he graduated in June.

"He had speed and was able to stretch a defense," Gillis said. "I’m not starting a kid that has played forward. We don’t have the speed up top. Joey Conklin is playing center forward and he was my starting goalkeeper last year before he got hurt."


The Bulldogs do have a solid defense returning.

Jayson Villeneuve returns with the potential to be an all-Western Athletic Conference player, Gillis said.

All-league player Bobby Patrick also returns to play stopper and Sam Emory also returns to play center midfield.

The defense will be anchored by sophomore goalie Greg Hannay.

"We need to mark people and do the little things like clearing balls," Gillis said. "That is costing us goals. We can’t afford to make mistakes in the back, because we can’t make up for them."

Alan Diamond and Greg Mulson also return and will play in the midfield mostly.

"We’re rebuilding," Gillis said. "We have five seniors and five returning starters back from a team that won five games."

Gillis said most of the players need to gain experience playing on the varsity level.

"I started three sophomores and had two on the bench," Gillis said. "I had freshmen playing. It’s hard for kids to make the jump from modified to varsity. They don’t get to see the ability of players on j.v. They dominated modified as freshmen but they are dominated as sophomores on varsity. They have not seen the speed. The game’s much quicker. I have to drill into their heads they have to work harder to play the game at a faster level."

But, with the lack of players and a couple injured, Gillis hasn’t been able to get good practice time out of his competitors.

"We’re working okay," he said. "But I haven’t overworked them. I’ve got so few bodies. Out of 16, two are hurt. Fourteen is pretty thin; it’s hard to go out and practice. The numbers are down and the kids get tired. It’s a Catch-22 thing."

Gillis hopes that the players don’t get discouraged during the season and stick with the program.

"We need to stay together as a team," Gillis said. "We are going to struggle for some wins.

"We lost three kids that started for me," he added. "They decided not to play. But I’m focused on the kids that decided to play and that will go out every day and play for 80 minutes. They can’t get discouraged. The kids wearing the uniform will hopefully go out and play hard and win games."

Gillis said the defense will be key as they will try to keep games close.

"We’ll try to stack the defense," the coach said. "We’ll compete and stay in games and go for a 1-0 or 2-1 win. I don’t see a team that can go out and put four or five balls in the back of the net on a regular basis."

But, Gillis sees a strong effort by his players can have positive benefits during the season and in the future.

"I’m hoping we come up with strong efforts as the season progresses," he said. "The seniors need to lead by example. They have to understand that, let’s play and the wins and losses will take care of themselves."

V’ville boys soccer preview

By Tim Matteson

VOORHEESVILLE — The players on the Voorheesville boys’ soccer team have gotten used to winning.

So much so, this year’s Blackbirds are gunning to be one the top teams in Section II’s Class B and they are looking for a spot in the state tournament.

"We want to keep one eye on a sectional title," said Voorheesville Coach Mike Young. "We had a good shot at it last year but we ended up losing to a good Chatham team. You win the Colonial Council, it gives you a good seed in sectionals. And that can help you.

"We also want to test the waters in the state," Young added. "We want to see what we can do against the best in the state. It is hard to get out of Section II in any of the classes. It’s a major accomplishment, if you get out of the section."

Most of the 20 players on the roster, have experienced the success the Blackbirds have had the last two years. Voorheesville won the Colonial Council last year and the Class B Section II championship the year before that.

"It was difficult to decide on varsity and junior varsity — who to keep," Young said. "We have a lot of talented kids. It’s a great problem."

Experienced team

There are eight seniors on the team, six having experience with the Blackbirds. Three players — Rob DiBlasi, Matt Miller, and Dominic Venditti — have been on the varsity since they were freshmen.

"We are still fortunate to have a core group of seniors," Young said. "There are six that we still have this year. We have a lot of young players but they have high-level club experience and are ready to play varsity."

The Blackbirds also have six juniors and six sophomores.

"We have a talented group of sophomores," Young said. "A few more had to play j.v. because we have seniors playing in the positions that they normally play. We have 10 to 12 sophomores that can play on the varsity level."

Young will also get a couple of new seniors who have experience.

"We have a transfer from Ballston Spa who also plays for the Clifton Park Premier club," Young said. "He’s a senior goalkeeper. We also have an exchange student from Ghana. It was a great surprise. He’s nice to have. He’s a little new to organized soccer but he has good technical ability."

Young will have to fill in the slot vacated by Section II All-Star forward Greg Klopfer. The Birds also graduated key players Matt Belgiovine, Tom Cavanaugh, Greg Jones, Jeff Bode, and Kyle Hatch.

Young said they are great players, but it won’t be that difficult.

"The system we play is for a lot for people to score goals," he said. "Klopfer was a great target to score goals. We had 10 players that scored two or more goals. We can still score. We have Matt Miller and Dominic Venditti for their senior year and Kevin Van Der Wende who started as a sophomore and has improved technically and physically."

Lee Fenner will be in goal for the Blackbirds this season. The sophomore saw action on the varsity last year and is a regional pool player in the Olympic Development Program.

Classmate Ryan Dimmitt also saw a lot of action last year and will get more minutes this year.


Junior Kevin Klembczyk was a top defender last year as a sophomore and will be a leader on defense this season.

Senior Josh Handen will also be a big part of the defense after getting some playing time last year.

But Young said it is more than just having a strong varsity this year. He wants to make sure the junior-varsity team and the younger levels are strong.

"We want to emulate Maple Hill and Shenendehowa," Young said of powerful Section II programs. "We want to be the Shen of the league. We want to reload rather than rebuild."

The program is having success because the players are taking the sport seriously.

"We have a lot of kids that have experience," Young said. "They have won a sectional title and been in the state playoffs. It’s not just that this group has confidence. A lot of the kids are playing high-level soccer in the off-season. They have gotten experience and good coaching. They have good ball skills.

"But it isn’t just clubs," Young added. "We get a lot of local participation in New Scotland town club. We have some eighth-graders that are on the New Scotland team that are phenomenal. It’s more than this group. It’s making sure the program keeps performing. It’s building from the youth levels up. The success of the group a few years ago is carried onto the youth levels. The seniors and the older players pass on how they got better and that helps the program."

The junior-varsity team, coached by Jorge Seimann, will have a lot of talent that should keep the program stocked for a few years.

"They have a solid mix of eighth-, ninth-, and 10th-graders," Young said. "They will be a very successful group."

But the varsity team is looking for success this year and is ready to compete in the tough Colonial Council.

"The defense is further advanced than I thought we were," Young said. "Speed-wise, we are much faster. We have a different team dynamic. Last year, we had a lot of great individuals and they put it together and we learned to put the team concept together and did what we had to do to be successful.

"This year," Young added, "we have a total team commitment here. They are much easier to coach. They play year-round and that translates to success on the field."

V’ville football vs. CCHS

By Tim Matteson

VOORHEESVILLE — The Voorheesville football team came into the season confident in its defense. It looks like the Blackbirds can be confident in their offense as well.

The Blackbirds put up 34 points against a tough Catholic Central High School team on Saturday and the defense pitched a shutout in the second half for a 34-20 win.

"We distributed the ball," Sapienza said. "We ran, we passed. It was Jay’s first game, and he showed a lot of poise out there."

Jay Conde made his first varsity start and had a great day. He completed nine of 17 passes for 172 yards and had a touchdown pass. He also ran in for two touchdowns.

The Birds also got 127 yards on the ground on 16 carries from Pat Jones.

"We know what we are capable of," Sapienza said. "We’ve been at team camps and had scrimmages and we always executed. We went a quarter-and-a-half without making any mistakes. We made a couple when we got tired."

The Blackbirds — in their new classic throwback white helmets and purple jerseys — got on the board first. After punting on their first possession, a fumble snap recovered by Jeff Connors gave the Birds the ball back at the CCHS 33-yard line.

Four plays later, Adam Duncan capped the drive — which featured a 22-yard run by Jones — with a two-yard touchdown run.

"He played a great first varsity football game," Sapienza said of Jones. "He showed what he is capable of. He’s only going to get better."

Matt Miller kicked the extra point and the Blackbirds had a 7-0 lead with 7:51 in the first quarter.

But Catholic Central scored on its next possession on a long run by NyQuan McGirt. McGirt took the handoff from Chris Bouchard and ran down the right sideline for a 84-yard touchdown.

The extra point was no good and Voorheesville held a 7-6 lead.

The Birds came back and tacked on six points to their lead.

Conde scored the first of his two touchdowns. This one was on a 13-yard run that capped a drive that included a 10-yard pass to Tim Robinson and a pass from Robinson to Chris Massaroni.

Catholic Central came back and pulled within one point with 1:19 left in the first frame. Bouchard scored on a five-yard run for the Crusaders. The extra point was blocked to keep the Blackbirds ahead.

Voorheesville scored on its next possession.

The Blackbirds started at their own 19-yard line and marched down the field using a big 54-yard pass play from Conde to Curt Hoffart that put the ball on the five yard line.

Conde capped the drive on the next play and Miller added the extra point to give Voorheesville an eight-point lead, 20-12.

The Birds got the ball back after the Crusaders punted. Voorheesville got the ball at the 50-yard line and scored two plays later on a 41-yard pass play from Conde to Hoffart.

The Birds had a 26-12 lead. Hoffart finished the game with 95 receiving yards on just two catches.

But Catholic Central wouldn’t go away as the Crusaders scored on their next possession.

McGirt scored on an 11-yard run and Bouchard ran in for the two-point conversion to make the score 26-20 with 5:53 left in the first half.

The half ended with that score after the Blackbirds defense had its best stand of the first 24 minutes.

Rob Selby’s sack of Bouchard late in the half kept the Birds in the lead at the intermission.

Defensive struggle

The third quarter was a defensive struggle as neither team scored and neither got much offense.

The Birds started a drive late in the third quarter and ended with a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Duncan scored his second touchdown of the game, on a one-yard run. Conde hooked up with Robinson for the two-point conversion.

The Voorheesville team held off the Crusaders by getting an interception by Jones.

"We said at halftime that defense had to step up," Sapienza said. "The defense had to win the game. We didn’t want to turn the ball over and make any mistakes. We shut them down in the the second half and that’s a team with a lot of offensive firepower. I thought that was impressive."

A big difference was that McGirt appeared tired and banged up in the second half.

"They had McGirt at linebacker," Sapienza said. "We ran at him all day. We knew it would be tough to stop McGirt on offense. We wanted to get after him and see what he would do."

The offensive line also controlled the line of scrimmage for the Blackbirds. Tackles Charlie McGrail and Connors, center Sean Hognestad, and guards Steve Cardinal and Dan Flynn opened holes for Jones and gave Conde protection.

"The offensive line did a phenomenal job of controlling the line of scrimmage," Sapienza said. "They also did a great job of picking things up. Catholic Central is a team that jumps around and shows you different fronts. We never got rattled and I’m proud of that."

The Blacbirds will savor Saturday’s win as they prepare for a trip to Schuylerville.

"It was a good opener," Sapienza said. "I feel we beat one of the better teams in Class C. It’s not like we beat an easy team. We beat a team that is very talented and very prepared.

"We’re going up to Schuylerville," Sapienza added. "They are the defending C champs. I’m looking forward to it."

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