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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, October 2, 2008

Struggles continue for Voorheesville football team

By Jordan J. Michael

CHATHAM –– Playoffs may be out of reach for the Voorheesville football team after a 62-7 loss to Chatham on the road Friday night, dropping the team to 0-4.

“We’re not mathematically eliminated from the postseason,” said Head Coach Joe Sapienza. “But we’ll take care of business and try to finish strong.”

The first four games were riddled by player suspensions and injuries. Chatham was yet another talented opponent that held state rankings. “This football program hasn’t really faced this much distress before; we’re in a re-gelling period,” Sapienza said.

The Blackbirds have been without captain Mike Snyder, who has a severe knee sprain. “He is a very important player and he’s our emotional leader,” said Sapienza. “He was running around the other day and could be available for the next game.”

Voorheesville will have a full roster for the next game, including the players who had been suspended for use of performance-enhancing, over-the-counter drugs.

“We’re going to get a break in the schedule, easier opponents,” said Sapienza. “We anticipated a better season and had higher expectations. We just have to move forward.”

Chatham scored nine touchdowns against the Blackbirds on Friday night and had a 34-to-0 lead at halftime. Chatham had 586 rushing yards and couldn’t be stopped.

Chatham’s Josh Keyes had 157 yards on the ground and three touchdowns for 60, 40, and 25 yards in the first quarter. “Chatham has a sweep offense; they pull and lead with four or five players,” said Sapienza. “They knew how to attack us and where to attack us. We were outmatched.”

Chatham extended its lead to 62-to-0 after four more touchdowns in the third quarter. The game was capped by Eric Fuss’s 60-yard interception return for a touchdown and Ryan Coon’s 40-yard run for a score.

Voorheesville’s Dan Whiteley had a 10-yard running touchdown for the team’s only score in the fourth quarter.

“Chatham forced us to make mistakes. We’re a young team and a young team is prone to mistakes,” Sapienza said.

Since all the Blackbird players have returned, the depth of the team is no longer lacking. “We have three different offensive packages,” said Sapienza. “Every player gets time on the field, which is not typical for high school football.”

The suspensions left spots open for up-and-coming players, who are now solid starters, he said.

Sapienza said that Monday’s practice was difficult and that “many players were upset and disappointed.” Players realized that making the playoffs was probably out of reach. “This team usually makes the playoffs and the Chatham game was seen as a last-ditch effort to save the postseason,” he said.

The team still has five games left, including crossover games and had a “mid-week” refocus this week during practice, Sapienza said.

The Blackbirds will play Catholic Central (0-3) this Friday, a team that has given up a lot of points and who doesn’t score much.

“I’m glad to have all my players back and hopefully Snyder will play; the team needs him out there on the field,” Sapienza concluded.

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