[Home Page] [This Week] [Classifieds] [Legals] [Obituaries] [Newsstands] [Subscriptions] [Advertising] [Deadlines] [About Us] [FAQ] [Archives] [Community Links] [Contact Us]

Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, October 11, 2007

Blackbirds’ offense soars in 50-34 win

By Tim Matteson

VOORHEESVILLE — It wasn’t a top-notch performance, but the Voorheesville football team will take it for now.

The Blackbirds moved the ball at will on offense but struggled at times on defense and with special teams in a 50-34 win over Catholic Central High School of Troy on a hot, humid Saturday afternoon.

The weather was strange for October, and so was the game as Voorheesville, which prides itself on tough defense, could not stop winless Catholic Central from moving the ball. The Blackbirds, however, flew all over the field on offense, rolling up 50 points.

"Every week, we have spots that we look brilliant," said Voorheesville Coach Joe Sapienza. "Then, at times, it looks like we have no idea what we are doing. We worked on the things that we talked about [pass defense, kickoff coverage]. We made improvements in execution. The mistakes are something that is emotion. We are flat and we have to be emotional and concentrate on every play. We are not there yet and we are still learning that."

"We have to work on some things," said senior running back Pat Jones. "[Pass coverage] is one thing we need to work on. They should not be completing passes. If we, including me, stopped that, they would not have had half as many points."

Back and forth

Catholic Central scored first in Saturday’s contest, after a good kickoff return put the ball on the Voorheesville 40-yard line.

The Crusaders moved the ball down the field. The drive was capped by Zay Quan’s one-yard run.

The extra-point kick was blocked by Jordan Murphy, but Catholic Central led, 6-0.

It didn’t take Voorheesville long after that to take the lead.

Senior Pat Jones took the kickoff and ran the ball 41 yards to the Catholic Central 39-yard line.

Four plays later, sophomore fullback Dan Whiteley scored on a 28-yard run up the middle. Lee Fenner’s extra-point kick gave the Birds a 7-6 lead with 4:47 left in the first quarter.

After forcing the Crusaders to punt on the ensuing possession, Voorheesville got the ball back on its own 48-yard line.

Jones took the hand-off from quarterback Jay Conde and burst through the line. He ran untouched the rest of the way for a 52-yard touchdown run. Fenner’s kick made it 14-6 in favor of the Blackbirds with 2:04 left in the opening stanza.

Voorheesville went up 21-6 early in the second quarter.

The Birds got runs from Whiteley, Jones, and a pass play from Conde to Evan Christner to move the ball down the field.

The drive ended when Jones ran into the end zone from six yards out. Fenner, again, was good on his kick and the Blackbirds led, 21-6, with 7:02 left in the second stanza.

Chris Bouchard pulled Catholic Central within seven points on a screen pass to Quan. Quan ran the 10 yards he needed to get into the end zone for the touchdown.

Bouchard ran in for the two-point conversion and the score was 21-14 with 2:02 left until halftime.

Fenner connected on a 30-yard field-goal attempt to give the Blackbirds a 24-14 lead with 45 seconds before halftime.

Good offense

Voorheesville quickly added to that lead to begin the second half.

Murphy took the second-half kickoff and returned it 81 yards for a touchdown.

The extra point was blocked, but Voorheesville led, 30-14.

Bouchard and the Crusaders responded later in the frame. The quarterback ran in from one yard out to cut the lead to 10 points. The two-point attempt pass failed and it was 30-20 with 3:57 left in the third quarter.

The Blackbirds got the ball back and moved it down the field.

Conde went to the air and hit passes to Murphy and Jimmy Carroll to move the ball. The drive was capped with a Conde-to-Murphy 12-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the fourth quarter.

The extra point was blocked and the score was 36-20 with 11:54 left in the final frame.

Bouchard connected with a pass to Patrick Janssen to bring the Crusaders right back into the game. Bouchard threw to Janssen, who made a great catch in the middle of the field and was able to break a couple of tackles and race down the field for the touchdown.

Murphy broke up the two-point pass attempt to keep his Blackbirds ahead, 36-26.

Voorheesville scored again with 5:52 left in the game.

Whiteley ran in from five yards out to cap another long Voorheesville drive.

The big play of the drive was a 13-yard run by Conde on fourth down and eight.

Catholic Central answered with 3:10 left in the contest. Bouchard ran in from 13 yards out for another touchdown. He then added the two-point conversion on a run and the score was 43-34.

Voorheesville finished the scoring, getting another seven points with 16 seconds left in the game.

Whiteley scored his third touchdown of the game, this time on a six-yard run. Fenner’s kick made it 50-34 and sealed the win for the Blackbirds.

"A lot of positives"

"The offense was good but the defense did not have its best day," Sapienza said. "And we have to get better on special teams, especially on kick coverage. Murphy broke one. There were a lot of positives. Pat Jones had his best rushing day this season."

Jones ran for 216 yards on the day.

"I have to credit the line," Jones said of his offensive blockers. "They came into this game with a different mentality. They said they would rather cut off a finger than miss a block. We came ready to play, pretty much.

"Dan Whiteley stepped up," Jones added. "He was hitting the holes. He is one of the biggest hitters on the team. And we started an eighth-grader on the line and he stepped up."

Sapienza gave his team a few days off to help them rest, recover, and not think about football.

"We need to find our heart again," the coach said. "When Chatham beat us, we took it hard and the kids started thinking that we are the third-best team. We have to start believing that we are the best team again."

The Blackbirds are 5-1 on the season and tied with Chatham and Watervliet for first place in the South Division of Class C. Chatham beat Voorheesville, but lost to Watervliet. Voorheesville beat Watervliet.

The Blackbirds travel to Coxsackie to take on the 4-2 Indians in their homecoming game on Saturday night.

The Birds will try to get better as they close out the regular season and get ready for the playoffs.

"We’re not bad," Jones said. "Some things are looking pretty good. We have to open our eyes a little bit at the next practice. We have to critique everything and strive to be perfect. We just have to get re-focused and get playing like we should."

Bulldogs uneven, looking to next year

By Tim Matteson

BERNE — On Friday, the Berne-Knox-Westerlo girls’ soccer team gave an uneven performance in a 2-1 loss to Duanesburg.

Friday’s game is indicative of the season the Lady Bulldogs have experienced this year.

"It’s a rebuilding year," said BKW Coach Coriellen Travis after the game. "When we are playing well, we do very well. They’re working together and it just works. It clicks."

But that doesn’t always happen, as was evident on Friday.

The Bulldogs showed flashes of brilliance on the offensive end, even though they could not convert on many shot opportunities. BKW also gave up a first-half goal and trailed 1-0 at the halftime break.

BKW had five really good chances to score in the first half, led mostly by senior Lauren Ford.

Ford’s best chance came when she got to a loose ball deep in the Duanesburg end. She dribbled the ball a few feet and fired a shot at the goal. But the ball sailed above the crossbar and out of bounds.

Ford finally got a ball to go in the goal in the second half.

Ford again beat Duanesburg players to a loose ball and had just one defender to beat. The Eagles’ defensive player tackled Ford in the penalty area and was called for a foul, giving Ford a penalty kick.

Ford calmly took the kick and fired the ball into the upper far corner of the goal to tie the game 1-1 with 29:32 left in the contest.


The Bulldogs played well but had a defensive breakdown late in the second half.

Duanesburg’s Noelle Hennel got the ball deep in the BKW end and used her speed to get past the BKW defense. Hennel then kicked the ball into the low far corner of the goal to give her team the lead.

"From the midfield to the offense, we were passing the ball well," Travis said. "It made for good scoring opportunities for the ladies. We took shots but their keeper was able to stop them. We were able to keep them down except for a couple of plays."

BKW took 28 shots in the contest and Duanesburg took 22. Duanesburg goalie Ashlyn McGarry made 14 saves.

BKW’s Alyssa Wetterau made six saves in the first half and Anna Kusler made eight in the second half.

The team each had two corner-kick opportunities.

"Strong group of girls"

Though the BKW roster is loaded with upperclassmen, those players do not have a lot of experience.

"We have a lot of seniors," Travis said. "But a lot of them are new. We have six girls that have not played since modified [seventh and eighth grade]. We are older, but not that experienced."

Out of 19 players, 12 are seniors.

Ford has the most experience with two years on the varsity. Allyson Bates, Cassie Diamond, Kusler, Kristie Lee, Ruby Moseby, and Danielle Willsey are the only seniors with experience; each had one year on the varsity.

Brittany Conklin is the only junior with varsity experience. She was on the team as a sophomore last year.

The other seniors on the team are Morgan Larsen, Victoria Lounsbury, Loren Motschmann, Verana Mueller, and Alysha Van Dyke.

The juniors on the team are Kristen Francis, Samantha Fusco, Kayla Lee, Rebecca Villeneuve, Wetterau, and Lauren Wilson.

Travis had to replace two of the best players to come through BKW in the past few years. Cara Swain was a dynamic goal scorer for the Lady Bulldogs in the past few years and Sarah Hannay was a very good goalie who anchored the BKW defense.

"We have a new goalie [Wetterau] who has done a great job," Travis said. "She’s stepped up and saved our butts numerous times. So it was easy to fill the goalie position.

"On offense, we’ve had to work hard to fill the spot of one player," Travis said. "We’ve had a hard time scoring goals. Lauren and Anna are our leading scorers."

Though BKW has a losing record with a 4-9 mark, Travis likes this team, and sees it building toward the future.

"This is a strong group of girls," Travis said. "They like each other and are fun to be around. I can’t ask any more of this team."

Travis is looking forward to coaching a group of talented younger players who are now playing on the junior varsity. The team is undefeated so far this season.

"They are strong on offense and defense," Travis said. "They have been playing together for a long time. Next year should be an outstanding year for us."

At long last, Dutch tame Blue Streaks

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND — It has been a long time since Guilderland has beaten Saratoga. A very long time.

For the first time since 1982, the Guilderland football team defeated a team from Saratoga High School on the gridiron. The Dutchmen did it by outscoring the Blue Streaks, 34-27, on homecoming and Senior Night on Friday.

Senior quarterback Drew Smith’s flip into the end zone with 35 seconds left in the fourth quarter, gave the Dutchmen the lead. And when kicker E.J. Genzano recovered a fumble on the ensuing kick-off, Guilderland was able to hold on to the win.

"Definitely my heart rate was up there," Smith said after the game. "I was looking down the field, and I was thinking, ‘It’s now or never.’"

"He’s a double threat when he is back in [shot] gun," said Guilderland Coach Dan Penna of Smith. He has great running ability and it opens things up for our offense. He’s the type of player that makes kids miss. He’s strong and quick and such a versatile athlete. He is the catalyst of our football team."

Saratoga tied the game, 27-27, after a touchdown run by Ben Cook. The Blue Streaks could have taken the lead, but the snap on the extra-point kick was fumbled and Dutchmen Billy Kemp tackled the holder to end the attempt and preserve the tie.

Senior Paul Booker returned the ensuing kickoff to his team’s own 30-yard line. The Dutchmen then put together a 70-yard drive to take the lead.

After a three-yard run by senior Nick Ranalli, the Dutchmen got a big play as Smith connected with senior receiver Paul Malamood for a 46-yard pass play. Malamood caught the ball in the middle of the field and ran down to the Saratoga 21-yard line.

It was a big pass play from a team that struggled in its pass offense all night.

"Earlier in the game, I was in the end zone and open and I let Drew know about it," Malamood said. "It was a perfect throw and, thank God, I was open and able to make the play. I knew the ball was coming my way. There was no way I was going to let that ball hit the ground."

Ranalli scored on a run around the end on the next play, but a holding penalty on the Dutchmen wiped out the score.

Guilderland got the ball on the 20-yard line — the hold was down field — and a run by Smith for seven yards and one by Booker for five gave the Dutchmen a first-and-goal on the Saratoga eight-yard line.

Smith ran for three yards on first down to get the ball down to the five. On the next play, Smith rolled out to the right and took off toward the end zone. He leaped into the air and was hit by a Saratoga defender, which caused him to flip into the end zone.

"It was a pass play but the coaches told me to run if I had to," Smith said. "At the two-yard line, I decided to take off. Everything got silent for a couple of seconds. I got hit and I landed on my back. When I realized we scored, it felt great. It was excellent."

On the board first

Guilderland took the game’s opening kickoff and drove down the field. The Dutch started at their own 30-yard line and 70 yards and nine plays later junior fullback Jason Lawrence capped the drive with a two-yard run.

With Genzano’s extra-point kick, the Dutch led, 7-0.

Saratoga tied the game with 2:13 left in the second quarter.

The Guilderland defense stopped the Blue Streaks from scoring after the ball was at the Guilderland six-yard line.

Saratoga got the ball down to the three-yard line but on fourth down could not score as senior linebacker Pete Stanish, senior defensive end Joe Cardillo, and senior defensive tackle Anthony Jasenski made big plays.

Guilderland, however, didn’t get far when it took the ball over and was forced to punt. Saratoga got the ball on the Dutchmen’s 32-yard line.

Seven plays later, Saratoga scored on a run by Cook and the score was tied.

Guilderland responded quickly.

Booker took the kickoff at his own 16-yard line and was not stopped until he ran for 52 yards and put the ball on the Saratoga 33-yard line.

After two short runs, Smith took the snap, rolled left, and found some daylight. He got to the home team’s sideline and sprinted down the line and into the end zone for the score.

Genzano’s kick made it 14-7 with 26 seconds left until the intermission.

The lead didn’t last long after the break.

Saratoga’s Matt Crimmins took the kickoff and 14 seconds and 92 yards later, had a touchdown that knotted the score, 14-14.

But again, the Guilderland players showed resolve and answered.

Booker capped a nine-play drive that covered 74 yards with a six-yard touchdown run. With the extra point, Guilderland led, 21-14, with 8:10 left in the third frame.

The teams traded punts and, after the third quarter came to a close, Saratoga punted again. However, the kick was short and was downed at the Saratoga 26-yard line.

The Dutchmen were moving the ball, but Booker fumbled the ball and it was recovered by the Blue Streaks at the 12-yard line.

But on the next play, Saratoga fumbled and Kemp pounced on the ball at the 14-yard line to give the Dutchmen great field position.

Three plays later, Smith ran in from the eight-yard line to give the Dutch a 27-14 lead with 10:34 left in the game.

But Saratoga wouldn’t quit and moved the ball down the field, pulling within six points as Cook scored on a 28-yard run with 8:22 left in the game.

Saratoga forced Guilderland to punt and Cook scored again to tie the game, 27-27, with 3:49 left in the contest.

The Dutch then proceeded to go on their final drive and Smith did his Superman impersonation when he flew into the end zone.

Booker finished the contest with 101 yards rushing on 17 carries. Smith ran for 86 yards on 16 carries. He threw seven times, completing two passes.

Lawrence added 76 yards on 10 rushes.

"A good win"

"I’m pleased with the way the kids responded," Penna said after the game. "We made some mistakes on the football field. I’m not pleased with the number of mistakes. We need to do a better job coming back."

But senior leadership was key for the Dutchmen not folding when Saratoga rebounded.

"We had four captains for the game," Penna said. "And each was responsible for a quarter. And Drew was it for the fourth quarter. I’m proud of them. The offense moved down the field and the line worked their behinds off.

"We knew Saratoga was strong on the offensive and defensive lines," Penna added. "And they had a lot of one-way players and that kept them fresh."

But Penna said his team was prepared for a tough game against a Saratoga team that was missing some key players but was strong and physical.

"Our scout team really goes hard," Penna said. "They give our offense and defense as much as they can handle. That allows our kids to stay confident in pressure situations."

"It’s a good win," Malamood said. "It is a good win to have on our backs. We’re 5-1 and we’re going into the home stretch."

The Guilderland players know that they have to clean up mistakes as a showdown with unbeaten Shenendehowa looms on Friday night. Kickoff in Clifton Park is at 7 p.m.

"This is one of the best Guilderland teams ever," Smith said. "We have to clean up our mistakes. We have the potential to do a lot of things."

Seniors, young talent lead Guilderville swimmers

By Tim Matteson

You might not recognize this year’s edition of the Guilderland-Voorheesville swim team. It’s totally different.

"It’s a different year," said Guilderville Coach Brenna Autrey. "It’s amazing how different it is from the year before."

"We have a lot of young talent," said senior Co-Captain Tori Stuto. "Guilderville will be good for the next few years."

The combined team from Guilderland and Voorheesville high schools has a 6-3 record and will have good representation at the Section II meet in November.

"Over 75 percent of our team has already qualified for sectionals," Autrey said. "I think almost the whole team will qualify."

That is because this year there is a different criteria for a swimmer to qualify for the sectional meet.

"Last year, I could only bring the top four in each event," Autrey said. "Now they have to make a time to qualify for the sectionals. If you have 10 swimmers qualify in one event, they all go."

"A lot of us have already qualified for sectionals," said Stevie Church, another of the team’s co-captains. "We have a couple of swimmers that have almost qualified for states."

It’s a change that Autrey is happy to see.

"I love it so much more," the coach said. "The swimmers are competing for times instead of against each other."

Also, because of another rule change, a couple of swimmers are on the cusp of qualifying for the state meet.

Like their male counterparts who compete in the winter, female swimmers can qualify for the state meet by reaching the time standard at any time during the season. Before, swimmers would have to reach the standard at the sectional meet even if they swam to the required time during the season.


Eighth-grader Jenna Bickel is close to qualifying for the state meet — which will be held on Long Island this year instead of in Buffalo — in the 100-yard backstroke. She swam a 1:02.18 in the backstroke this season.

"It’s going to happen," Autrey said. "She’ll make it. I hope the 200-yard medley makes it and I hope Erin Dewey will make it."

Dewey can qualify for state competition in two events. She is close to qualifying in the 200-yard individual medley and the 100-yard breaststroke.

"I love it," Autrey said of the switch in qualifying rules. "Jenna is so young and she gets nervous before every meet. It takes some of the pressure off her if she qualifies before sectionals. She would be a wreck at sectionals and, with all the added pressure and all the things that go on at sectionals, it could hurt her."

Autrey is in her second year as coach of the Guilderville team, replacing Walt Lane, who retired. This year, she made some changes to the team after having a year of comfort under her belt.

"Last year, I took what Walt had," Autrey said. "We have more quality kids in the lanes and they push each other in practice. It has paid dividends."

There are 27 swimmers on the team including five divers. Last year, there was 35 swimmers and divers on the team.

"Solid divers"

"The divers are so good," Autrey said. "It seems at every meet, a different one steps up."

Autrey said that Erika Pesta, Yvonne Cardinal, Corrine Chatnick, Alexa Patnaude, and Kristi Russell each have done a good job this fall under the tutelage of Coach Brenda Goodknight.

"All the divers are close," said diving captain Erika Pesta. "A lot of us girls are trying our hardest while we learn to do our best. We are getting better and better. And all five of us could qualify for sectionals."

"We have five solid divers," the coach said. "It’s too bad we can only take four to sectionals. But it’s a nice situation to be in."

More wins

Among the 27 competitors, only eight are seniors.

"We are young," Autrey said. "What we’ll lose is leadership. But we get a lot of our swimmers back. It’s hard to believe that Erin Dewey will be a senior next year. I hate to do this already, but I’m looking at the future."

"We make sure the girls are doing well," Stuto said. "We also want to make sure the team is doing well."

"We all get along with no problems," Church said. "Everyone is close with each other and the new girls. We try and bring everyone together as a team. We have a smaller team now which is nice. Before, it made it harder to get to know each other."

The Guilderville team is also having more success than last year. The team has already won six meets, while last year it won just two.

The latest win came on Tuesday against Albany, 103-77, at the Voorheesville pool.

Guilderville has also beaten Albany Academy, Mohonasen-Schalmont, Schenectady, Amsterdam, and a "huge" win against Niskayuna.

Guilderville has lost to Burnt Hills, Saratoga, and Bethlehem this season. Guilderville has three meets left this season — at home against Shenendehowa and Ballston Spa and then at Shaker to close out the regular season.

"Compared to last year," Autrey said, "this is a totally different team. I’m coaching with a totally different style. We’re doing more yardage. We have one year together under our belts. I know how to make us strong and fresh for our meets this year."

"We all put in the time and effort," Pesta said. "We’re trying to do better."

"Our team goal was to have a winning record," Stuto said. "We also wanted to get a majority of girls to sectionals."

"All three of us are seniors," Church added. "We’re happy that, in our last year, we are doing so well."

[Return to Home Page]