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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, October 15, 2009

Voorheesville football team racks up fifth straight win

By Jordan J. Michael

VOORHEESVILLE –– The Blackbirds have quickly turned from a losing football team to a winning football team.

Voorheesville traveled to Canajoharie on Friday and beat the Cougars, 26-22, for the team’s fifth straight win. The Blackbirds are in second place in the Class C South behind undefeated Chatham, a team Voorheesville lost to in the season opener.

“We turned this program around in a short period of time,” said Head Coach Joe Sapienza. The Blackbirds were 2-7 in 2008. “We’re keeping things in our favor by playing as a team and working hard.”

Both Canajoharie and Voorheesville were 4-1 heading into Friday night’s game.

“It was a significant game because they were on a winning streak like us and they had the home-field advantage,” Sapienza said on Wednesday. “It was important for us to show the league that we can go on the road in adverse conditions and win a game like that.”

Quarterback Ryan Duncan hooked up with receiver James Currier for a seven-yard touchdown pass and a 40-yard touchdown pass in the Blackbirds’ first two possessions in the first quarter to give the team an early 14-to-0 lead.

“It was a see-saw battle all the way through,” said Sapienza. “We had the lead, but they came back to tie. There were no real turning points.”

Dane O’Neil caught a 57-yard pass from Peyton Stahler to put Canajoharie on the board and Dylan Slater had a 27-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 14 at halftime.

Duncan found Currier through the air again in the third quarter, this time for 17 yards, to give Voorheesville a 20-to-14 lead. The Blackbirds went up by two scores with a 30-yard touchdown catch by Elliot Stryker.

The team in purple and gold has shown some true poise in big games this season.

“The offense has been feeding off Duncan, and the defense is getting better every week,” Sapienza said. “The biggest key to this season is having a group of players that is really committed to football. Also, these guys like being around one another.”

Duncan completed 11 of 18 passes on Friday for 163 yards and four touchdowns. Currier had six catches for 94 yards and Max Schuster carried the ball 24 times for 95 yards.

“My players genuinely care about this season and it shows,” said Sapienza. “They come to practice and are ready to learn how to play better football. It’s a great situation when you have a group of kids that care about the outcome and care about each other.”

The Blackbirds are feeling extremely positive about the team’s 5-1 record, especially after coming off a down year.

The team will focus on a sectional run after its last regular season game against Taconic Hills on Saturday at home. The Titans are eliminated from post-season play, but Sapienza doesn’t take any team lightly. “We’ll have to work to win,” he said.

Voorheesville will continue to work and improve as much as possible. Sapienza said that he’s focusing on pass rushing in practice this week.

“The teams that are healthy and peaking will be the ones that find success in sectionals,” said Sapienza. “Will do our best to be one of those teams.”

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