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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, September 20, 2007

BKW Bulldogs look t run with the lead pack this season

By Tim Matteson

BERNE — Berne-Knox-Westerlo cross-country Coach Bill Tindale sees a lot of potential for his teams this fall.

The boys’ team is battling some small injuries but once the runners get healthy, Tindale sees that team as competing well in the Western Athletic Conference and at the sectional meet.

The girls’ team, though small in number, features one of the best small-school runners in the area — Ada Lauterbach.

The Bulldogs had a strong showing at the Guilderland Invitational Meet on Saturday.

"I’m very pleased," Tindale said about the meet. "Ada finished third and the girls’ team finished fifth out of 14 teams. We have a mix of experience and youth on the team. We will improve."

Lauterbach clocked 17:46 on the course at Tawasentha Park in Guilderland. Gina Cristaldi of Broadalbin-Perth won the race in 17:11.

Christina Bartonicek was the next BKW finisher. She came in 21st.

Katrina Yakel finished 30th, Courtney Tedeschi was 37th, Rachel Raiti was 45th, and Haley Matott was 52nd at the Guilderland meet.

BKW finished fifth with a combined score of 134 points.

"Kristina Yakel, Christina Bartonicek, and Ada, ran well," Tindale said. "At the end of the year we will be in the top two or three in the league."

The Lady Bulldogs finished second to Voorheesville at the Fonda Invitational. Although teams scores were not officially kept, Tindale figured out the team scoring after the meet.

"We were second out of 10 teams," he said. "I’m extremely happy with that. We have two ninth-graders and they get better every time they run."

Raiti and Matott are ninth-graders. Tedeschi is a seventh-grader.

"They are all going for the fourth runner spot," Tindale said. "They have showed maturity. We have older runners, and the top runner in the league; they now figure to pace each other. Finishing in the top half in a big invitational, I’m pleased with that."

Boys’ team

Jared Finke was the top finisher for the BKW boys’ team at the Guilderland Invitational. He finished in 14th place in a time of 16:13.

Dave Haverly was the next BKW finisher coming in 28th. Tom DellaRocco was 31st, Josh Glick was 37th, and Tim David was 46th.

"The guys’ team was undermanned on Saturday," Tindale said. "When we get healthy, this team will do well. We had some guys that improved their times quite a bit. I’m not thrilled with our place as a team, but I know we will improve."

The Bulldogs finished seventh with 157 points.

"It’s a mix of little things," Tindale said of the injuries. "Fort Plain this Saturday, will be the first time we compete as a complete team. We can get a top three in both guys and girls. We just didn’t want to take any chances this early in the year."

Finke has taken over as the leader of the boys’ team.

"He is the team captain and has taken on a leadership role," Tindale said. "We have a group of six or seven runners that will be a pack for most of the season."

Jeff Mueller will fill in with Glick, Haverly, DellaRocco, and David. Conor Devine, an eighth-grader, and Tyler Merrill will also be strong runners.

"We’ll have seven or eight guys that will do well in the league meet," Tindale said.

Also running for the Bulldogs this fall are David and Ethan Crevaets, Dalton Lyons, Jon Delong, David Tiernan, and Alon Willing.

"All good runners"

The varsity teams are a little smaller this year. Tindale said there are 14 runners on the boys’ team and six runners on the girls’ team.

"They are all good runners," Tindale said of the girls’ team. "They come every day. We just have to hope no injuries occur because the team can do very well. The girls are all healthy, and I hope it stays that way. The girls have a great attitude, and, if we stay healthy, we have a chance to perhaps compete for a league championship in October."

It’s a group of athletes that Tindale believes will be key contributors now and in the future.

"It’s a good mix," the coach said. "We have three seniors [Finke, Tiernan, and Merrill] and the rest are underclassmen. The younger guys get better every day."

Graves’s fast feet lead Dutch harriers

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND — On his home turf, Guilderland senior Roland Graves defended the title of top runner.

After watching former teammate Brian Rhodes-Devey win the Guilderland Invitational, it was Graves’s turn to win and he did, holding off Jacob Smith of Thousand Islands of Canada by four-tenths of a second to win the 37th installment of the Guilderland meet held at Tawasentha Park.

"Roland had a kid from Thousand Islands stay with him," said Guilderland Coach Bob Oates. "And then they finished less than one second apart. And their times put them third and fourth all-time in the top 25. That’s pretty fast running.

"We didn’t expect that from Jacob Smith," Oates added. "He made a big jump and he surprised himself, and he surprised Roland, that’s for sure."

Graves won the race in 14:01 and Smith was right behind in a time of 14:02.

Rain threatened to damper the event, but stopped early enough for the meet to go on without much of a problem.

"It was raining in the morning and I went into a tailspin for awhile," Oates said. "I always think of the kids’ safety and the course and cars getting stuck and other things as well. The rain stopped and we were able to have some great racing.

"Temperature-wise, it was perfect for the runners," Oates added. "It had awhile to dry and the rain soaked right in. I got a lot of compliments on the course about it being safe and fast by my own personal team and others."

Second place

The Dutchmen team finished second behind Burnt Hills by a score of 43-58. The places of each team’s runners are tallied up, and the lower, the better.

"Burnt Hills did a good job not just on the boys’ but the girls’ as well," Oates said. "They get a pack of runners up front. They don’t have the one top runner, but they are strong as a group and that helps their team score well."

There were fewer teams at the meet this year. Twenty-five teams came, which is "a bit down" from other years, Oates said.

"We lost a few," he said. "There are a few more meets out there. I think there are three or four on the same day as ours. And the price of gas keeps teams from travelling like they used to. Twenty-five is a good field in the small and large divisions. It was a well-balanced field. But I would like to have 35 to 40. I like to be at that many from a competition point of view."

Oates was pleased with his team and how it competed on Saturday. He was also impressed by Graves’s running.

"He did quite well," Oates said on Wednesday. "He didn’t run yesterday, because he felt a little twinge in his hamstring. We pulled him just to be safe."

Graves has had to take on more of a leadership role with the departure of Rhodes-Devey, who is now running at the University of Texas.

"When Brian left, Roland found out the hard way," Oates said. "Everybody was expecting him to lead. I don’t think he knew how much people looked to Brian. Roland’s a captain, and everyone looks to him and looks to what to do. That happens. The best runner on the team becomes a captain, whether they are appointed or not."

Personal records

Oates has 33 runners on the varsity and junior varsity teams. On Saturday, a majority of them set personal records.

"Roland took off 19 seconds," Oates said. "At the rate he is going, it’s going to be enormous. All the runners better themselves. The JVs really moved up and made great improvements overall. They all ran well at the invitational. It’s our home meet. They know the course and now they have the home crowd cheering."

Justin Veldhuis was the next Guilderland finisher on Saturday. He came in ninth in a time of 14:52.

Kevin Sheehan finished 13th for the Dutchmen. He clocked 15:04.

Gianni Vissat came in 17th for Guilderland. Will Russo was right behind, coming in the next spot.

Jacob King was 23rd for the Dutchmen and Dan Lee came in 30th.

"We have some guys moving up and down from junior varsity," Oates said. "We are splitting 30 seconds between our second and fifth runners. I would like to tighten that up more. And I would like to move the whole pack up closer to Roland."

Oates liked what he saw from his runners, but a couple stood out a little more.

"Will Russo made an impression," Oates said. "He’s improved that much. He’s is coming up quickly. Gianni Vissat improved by 33 seconds and is approaching the 15-minute mark for our course."

Oates also expects some big things from King, though he is struggling in the early part of the season.

"He is not back to his p.r.," Oates said of his personal record. "But he will get back to it. He did the same thing last season. It takes awhile to get his competitive juices flowing."

"Ultimate goal"

Oates wants his team peaking later in the season, when the big, important meets come in late October and early November.

Though the Dutch have earned some respect to start the season.

"At the start of the season," the coach said, "we were ranked 10th in the state. That was for the pre-season. In Class AA, last week, we were ranked eighth. But then we lost to Burnt Hills. But between Class A and Class AA we’re probably around 10th. That will help us in making the Federation meet. That is our ultimate goal.

"We want to go to the Federation Meet and we tailor all our workouts for that," Oates added. "We take all our meets seriously, but we are working for the end of the season. We want to do well with everything at the end of the line."

Despite poor play, Dutch hold off Eagles

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND — The bad news for the Guilderland football team is that it played poorly for most of its game on Friday night.

The good news for the Dutchmen is that they made enough plays to beat a scrappy Bethlehem team, 10-7, in front of a large crowd on Pop Warner Night in Guilderland.

The win keeps the Dutchmen’s record unblemished at 3-0 and keeps them at the top of the Class AA Empire Division standings.

"We knew coming in that Bethlehem would give us a good game," Guilderland Coach Dan Penna said. "They are always a gritty team. We did not execute properly and we had an average week of practice."

"Their defense played great," said Dutchmen senior Paul Malamood. "They stepped up big time. We both are a couple of good teams. Hopefully, we’ll see them in the playoffs."

The Dutchmen were fired up to start the game and got on the board quickly.

After forcing the Eagles to punt on their first possession of the contest, the Dutch got the ball on their own 42-yard line. And, after a 21-yard run by Paul Booker moved the ball to the Bethlehem 39-yard line, the Dutchmen had another big play to get on the scoreboard.

Nick Ranalli took a hand-off from quarterback Drew Smith and ran right. He cut down the visitor sideline and used his speed to out-race the Bethlehem defense, running into the end zone for a touchdown.

E.J. Genzano kicked the extra point and the Dutchmen led, 7-0, with 9:53 left in the opening stanza.

No wind in Dutchmen sails

Then the Dutchmen went flat and Bethlehem stepped up its game.

The Guilderland defense was strong in the first half but the offense could not break any more big plays.

The Dutchmen did move the ball early in the second quarter and put together a nice drive. The 13-play drive featured mostly running plays by Booker, Ranalli, and Smith and was capped by a 28-yard field goal by Genzano.

It was the last time the Dutchmen would put points on the board.

The Dutch could not take advantage of a leaping interception by Smith late in the second quarter. On the next play, Smith attempted a deep pass to Ranalli, but the ball was intercepted by a Bethlehem player.

The teams traded punts, but, when Bethlehem got the ball back, the Eagles moved the ball quickly down the field as they took to using the arm of quarterback Randy Bowers.

Bowers completed three straight passes of 12, 20, and 25 yards to put the ball on the Dutchmen 17-yard line.

A six-yard scramble by Bowers put the ball on the 11-yard line. But two plays later, Bowers threw a pass that was picked off by Malamood at the one-yard line to prevent a potential score by the Eagles.

The half ended with the Dutchmen up, 10-0.

The second half was not any better for the Dutchmen.

For the third week in a row, the Guilderland players came out flat for the third quarter and, except for a couple of big plays, it almost cost them.

Guilderland punted on its first possession and then Bethlehem moved the ball down the field.

They got to the 14-yard line when Bowers threw a pass into the end zone that was intercepted by Booker.

The Dutchmen moved the ball down the field after the turnover, and got the ball all the way to the Bethlehem 23-yard line after a 16-yard run by Tony Denn.

Smith then ran an option play but lost control of the football. It was recovered by Bethlehem on their own 27-yard line to thwart a Guilderland scoring chance.

The Eagles took advantage of the turnover, moving the ball down the field and getting a one-yard plunge into the end zone by Sean Murphy for a touchdown. The extra-point kick was good, and the Eagles trailed by just three points with 7:12 left in the fourth quarter.

Guilderland moved the ball down the field into Bethlehem territory, taking a lot of time off the clock. But the drive stalled at the Bethlehem 32-yard line and Smith punted the ball on fourth down.

The punt was perfectly placed and Malamood covered the ball at the one-yard line, pinning Bethlehem deep in its own territory.

Bowers completed a pass to the 22-yard line. On the next play, Bowers threw again but his low throw was intercepted by a diving Booker.

Guilderland then ran out the clock and breathed a sigh of relief as they escaped with the win.

"An eye-opener"

"Bethlehem exploited our lack of discipline," Penna said. "As a coach, it’s my responsibility to put kids in the right spots. We made plays when we needed."

"This is a bad game for us," Malamood said. "We didn’t play well. It’s an eye-opener. We can’t take any team lightly."

"Ron Smith is a heck of a football coach," Penna said of his counterpart at Bethlehem. "Their kids were well prepared with their schemes. We practice together at camps and, at times, I felt they were able to sniff out our big plays.

"Their game plan was to defend our big backs — Smith, Booker, and Ranalli," Penna added. "But we had some younger kids that stepped up. Jason Lawrence and Tony Denn ran inside well."

The Dutchmen will play at Christian Brothers Academy on Thursday night. The game was moved because of Yom Kippur, the Jewish holiday.

Kick-off will be a 7 p.m. at the private school in Colonie.

"We’ve been looking forward to this game since they knocked us out of the playoffs last year," Malamood said. "We circled the calendar for awhile. We have to stay focused"Every game is the biggest game of the year."

Young Lady Dutch runners taking fast steps

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND — The youth will be running wild for the Guilderland girls’ cross-country team.

Head Coach Dave Kosier has a team made up mostly of younger runners and it showed at the 37th Annual Guilderland Invitational meet on Saturday.

The varsity team finished in third place in the large-school race but got first-place finishes from the junior varsity and freshmen teams.

"It was a nice day over there," Kosier said of his home meet. "We had a lot of good personal records. Everybody ran real well. I’m excited about this year. We’ll get better and better at each meet."

The top runner for the Lady Dutch varsity was Lynley Joynt. She finished 18th in a time of 18:02.

Erin Mossop was close behind as she finished 19th in 18:05.

Jen Madsen was 21st, Casey Doak was 24th, and Shannon Doherty was 40th for Guilderland. Annie Herkenham also ran in the varsity race for the Dutch and came in 46th.

The Lady Dutch finished with 112 points to come in third. Burnt Hills won the meet with 40 points. Colonie was second with 66 points.

"I can’t complain"

"Burnt Hills is a quality team," Kosier said. "Colonie returns everybody and they are a talented team that ran at Federation last year as well. I was hoping for and I’m excited about the third-place finish. I can’t complain, I’m seeing progress. The young kids are gaining more confidence."

Mossop is a sophomore and Madsen, Joynt, and Doak are juniors.

"Our front four are mostly juniors," Kosier said. "We’re young; we’ll be a tough team for a few years. I’m looking forward to seeing what they can do."

Most of those runners ran on varsity last year.

"Erin Mossop first ran on the freshman team last year," Kosier said. "But she ran real fast and she’s a competitor. She wanted to move up right away. She has a lot of potential and she can do a lot of scoring for us.

"But this year," Kosier added, "we’ve had three meets and three different runners were top finishers. Casey Doak was our first at the Shaker Invitational, Jen Madsen was first at Colonie, and, on Saturday, Lynley Joynt was first."

Kosier is looking for runners who can score points in the fifth, sixth, and seventh spots. He thinks that Doherty can fill in as well as some of the runners on the junior varsity. Annie Dimura finished third in the junior varsity race and Emily Cure was fourth.

Lea Cure, Kelly Camardo, Anna Pickett, and Michelle Fish were the top four runners in the freshmen race for the Lady Dutch.

Cure, Pickett, and Camardo are all eighth-graders and Fish is a seventh-grader.

"They are in the top four most of the time," Kosier said. "I could see them moving up during the season. They are progressing and have lots of potential."

Of course, moving them up will be difficult since the junior varsity team has had a good start to the season. The junior varsity beat Burnt Hills and Ballston Spa in a dual meet last week.

"A lot of potential"

The varsity team split their first dual meet of the year. The Dutch beat Ballston Spa but lost to Burnt Hills in a three-way meet.

"The JV team is running well as well," Kosier said. "They are filled with a lot of potential."

The line-up changes will come over time as the season goes on. But Kosier has one singular focus for his team.

"We want to go to the Federation Meet at the end of the season," the coach said. "We want to do well at the Section II meet but going to the state meet is tough. Only one team goes and Saratoga has had a hold on that for years."

Kosier said that going to the invite-only Federation Meet would be a big accomplishment for his team of young runners.

"The Federation meet is an invitational and to get to go down there would be great," Kosier said of the meet held in Wappingers Falls a week after the state meet. "It means that you are one of the top teams in the state. And there will be some good teams and tough competition. That’s our number-one goal and we are working toward getting there.

"As the season goes on, we’ll continue to improve," he added. "The younger kids will grow up and we’ll be pretty good toward the end of the season. We don’t want to peak too soon. We’ve done a lot of miles, but not a lot of speed work. The girls are asking me about doing speed work, but we are holding them back. We want to be our best for the Suburban Counil Meet and the Section II meet. That will have the biggest influence on getting a Federation bid."

Blackbird harriers swift in home meet

By Tim Matteson

VOORHEESVILLE — The Voorheesville cross-country teams defended their home turf on Saturday.

The boys’ and girls’ teams each beat their competition at the Blackbird Invitational on Saturday at Swift Road Town Park in New Scotland.

"This is the first year we won the meet, which is nice," said Voorheesville Head Coach Kelly McHale. "Everything went really well, even with the rain. It wasn’t bad. It was better than pouring like they said it would be."

The rain had subsided but gray clouds lingered, which kept temperatures cool for the runners on Saturday morning.

And despite the weather forecasts, more teams than in years past showed up to compete.

"We had 19 teams signed up," McHale said. "I think the most we had was 17 in the past. That is very good. People like the course."

The course has provided some good competition over the past few years.

"I think in the three years I’ve done this and changed the course," McHale said, "this is the fastest times on the course. Mackey ran a 16:29."

Voorheesville’s own Mackey Lloyd was the first runner to cross the finish line. The second-place runner, Jonathan Aziz of Bishop Gibbons, finished in 17:14.

The next Voorheesville finisher was Conor Cashin. He finished fifth in 17:35.

Nathan Bub finished seventh for the Blackbirds and Ian Powell was eighth. Tommy Pasquali was 14th and Taylor Treadgold rounded out the Voorheesville scoring with a 15th-place finish. Tucker Bourque was 29th, but only the top five scores count in invitational meets.

The Voorheesville team finished with 35 points as a team, easily topping the standings. Albany High School was second with 90 points.

Girls win, too

Hilary Edmunds was the top finisher for the Voorheesville girls’ team. She finished third in a time of 20:20.

Hoosic Valley’s Emma D’Ambro won the race in 19:43.

Grace Giampaglia was the next Voorheesville finisher, coming in fifth with a time of 20:47. Michelyn Little followed with a sixth-place finish. Zoe Edmunds came in 10th, Chantal Little was 12th, Casey Morrison was 18th, and Sarah Madden was 41st.

The top five finishers’ scores easily led Voorheesville to the team title with 36 points. Duanesburg was second with 83 points.

"Even though there was a big difference in points," McHale said, "the girls’ team was challenged. The two Hoosic Valley girls were impressive."

Hoosic Valley’s Molly Stevens came in second.

"Lots of experience"

The Blackbird teams’ look to be strong in the small-school divisions this fall. They will also compete for a Colonial Council championship.

"We only graduated two from the varsity teams," McHale said. "We have lots of experience. The girls’ team does have three eighth-graders. A lot of the new kids are coming in with experience and are competitive."

The boys’ team is also strong in those two categories.

"The guys team is all veterans," McHale said. "The entire team has been running together since the seventh-grade. They have a lot of experience. They know what they are doing."

The team does have a couple of injuries that could hurt the team.

Senior Ryan Allison is out and could be for a long time with an injury.

"We’re not sure when he’s coming back," McHale said. "He’s a senior and we feel bad for him. He’s a big contributor and he would make a big difference."

McHale does not have as many runners to work with as in the past couple of years.

"This is a good group," McHale said. "They want to be here and they are motivated. With the success we have had in the previous years, they are motivated to be successful."

Last year, the boys’ team qualified for the state meet by winning the Class C title. All of the runners from that team are back this year.

"For the guys’ team, it’s hard not to be motivated," McHale said. "They know what they want."

The boys’ team wants to continue the success from last season and have a better showing at the state meet. The Voorheesville teams will be running at the state-meet site in Norwood this Saturday. The girls’ team can also compete for a spot at the state meet.

"They elected captains," McHale said of the boys’ team. "Ryan, Mackey, and Tommy Pasquali, who is a workhorse. And we have a lot of depth on the girls’ team. We acquired one 11th-grader that shows promise."

Kate Reynolds is that junior. She has been running on the junior varsity for the first couple of meets, but could become a big contributor in the future.

"She’ll be good," McHale said. "She just has to learn how to run a cross-country race."

Morrison and Madden are two of the eighth-graders and are new to varsity races. Michelyn Little ran in the big meets last year.

"She has improved a lot," McHale said. "She was on the team last year. Those three fit in well with Hilary, Chantel, Zoe, and Grace."

Any of those runners can finish in the slots behind Hilary Edmunds.

"Two through five have switched places," McHale said. "It’s a nice competition between the girls. They motivate each other."

Besides the meet in Norwood, the Blackbirds have big meets such as the Queensbury and Manhattan invitationals on their schedule.

"We will be competitive," McHale said. "The state meet is the main focus for the boys. Greenwich will be tough for the girls. But I would like to get three or four girls a spot in states, if not the team. I would like to get them in there."

And McHale said she has the athletes who can make that a reality.

"This group is very hard-working," she said. "They really want it. They look forward to the competitive part of the season."

Blackbirds kick Cannoneers in the 2nd half

By Tim Matteson

VOORHEESVILLE — The second half of Saturday’s game was a test of will for the Voorheesville football players.

They passed with flying colors.

The Blackbirds came from behind to knock off fellow unbeaten and long-time rival Watervliet, 19-18, at Thomas Buckley Field in Voorheesville.

"Someone was going to wear out in the second half," said Voorheesville senior captain Adam Duncan. "It came down to conditioning in the fourth quarter. Overall, we had great blocking for the whole game. And the defense stepped up in the second half."

"Our defense was tremendous," agreed Voorheesville Coach Joseph Sapienza. "We were completely behind the eight-ball the whole first half. This is a special win."

Slow start

The Blackbirds trailed, 6-3, at the end of the first quarter and at one point in the second quarter they trailed, 12-3. The Birds scored a touchdown late in the first half to pull within two, 12-10, at halftime.

Watervliet scored another touchdown to go up 18-10 late in the third quarter before Voorheesville started its comeback.

The Blackbirds dominated the last couple of minutes of the third quarter and the entire fourth quarter in pulling out the victory.

Voorheesville started a drive at its own 20-yard line and drove the ball up the field. The Blackbirds got in trouble early in the drive.

On the second play of the drive, a fumble on a first-down play handed the Birds a second down and 23 yards to get a first down.

Senior running back Pat Jones picked up 22 yards to set up a third down and one.

Then, the Blackbirds moved the ball up the field behind the running of Jones and Duncan.

The drive was capped when senior quarterback Jay Conde completed a pass to classmate Jordan Murphy.

The two-point conversion run was stopped but the Blackbirds cut the lead down to two points, 18-16, with just over nine minutes left in the contest.

Fenner’s footwork

The Voorheesville defense held and forced Watervliet into a punting situation. The snap was fumbled and the punter was tackled at his own 47-yard line, giving the Blackbirds good field position.

On the next play, Jones took a hand-off from Conde, burst through the line, and sprinted up the field for a 27-yard gain that put the Birds on the Watervliet 20-yard line.

The Blackbirds moved to the three-yard line on the next four plays, the big play being an eight-yard run by Jones. That put the ball on the three-yard line and gave Voorheesville’s kicker a good spot from which to attempt a field goal.

Fenner easily connected on the field-goal attempt, which was from the same distance as an extra point, to give the Blackbirds the lead, 19-18, with 1:51 left in the game.

It was Fenner’s second field goal of the game and the first two of his career.

The junior is the starting goaltender on the Voorheesville soccer team.

"It was not necessarily the best position to put him in," Sapienza said. "He has never place kicked before. He wanted to do it. And he prepared himself for it."

"Even though he’s a soccer player, he’s alright," Duncan said with a laugh.

Big plays

Watervliet still had plenty of time to put together one final drive and started at its own 30-yard line.

After a nine-yard gain on first down, the Voorheesville defense, and in particular Duncan, made three big plays.

Duncan made a huge tackle on a pass play that lost two yards for the Cannoneers. Then sophomore Daniel Whiteley sacked Watervliet quarterback Mike Cooney for a two-yard loss.

Duncan then made another big play, sacking Cooney on fourth down and ending any chance the Cannoneers might have had for a comeback.

"Coach [John] McClement asked me if I had one more play in me," Duncan said. "It was the first time I blitzed all day."

The Blackbirds ran out the clock, then celebrated a hard-fought and well-earned victory.

"It was a real gut check," Duncan said.

"I like the fact that we can win by being scrappy," Sapienza said. "The kids refused to give up, and that’s the best way to win."


Watervliet scored five plays into the game. Cooney connected with Chris Hughes for a 38-yard touchdown pass.

The two-point play was stopped by Duncan, but the Cannoneers led, 6-0.

Fenner kicked a 39-yard field goal with 3:45 left in the first quarter to cut the lead in half, 6-3.

Neither team could score until Watervliet did, with just over a minute left in the half.

Cooney threw his second touchdown pass, this time hooking up with Dan Bolt. The two-point attempt failed and the Cannoneers were up, 12-3.

But the Blackbirds put together a perfect quick drive in the final minute before intermission.

Voorheesville started at its own 30-yard line and moved the ball up the field on a 15-yard run by Duncan and a 22-yard pass from Conde to Evan Christner put the ball on the Watervliet 34-yard line.

After an incomplete pass and a six-yard loss on a sack, Conde threw a pin-point pass by two defenders into the waiting arms of Christner. Christner then sprinted to the end zone for a touchdown.

Fenner kicked the extra point and moved the Birds within two points, 12-10.

"Jay orchestrated a tremendous drive," Sapienza said.

Jones rushed for 97 yards and Duncan added 70 yards for the Birds.

"People are obviously keying on Pat," Sapienza said. "Without a doubt for the past two weeks, they have really run at him a lot. Adam is one of the best backs in the area. Teams can take away one, but they aren’t going to take away the other."

Up next for the Class C South Division leaders is a trip to Mechanicville on Saturday. Kick-off is at 1:30.

"It’s never easy," Sapienza said. "But the kids work hard all week and they will be ready to get back on the field next week."

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