SCHUYLERVILLE — John Bowen preached patience all week.
The Schuylerville Black Horses listened Friday night.
Refusing to be rattled after a choppy first quarter that saw them fumble away the football twice, the Horses erupted for a 32-point second quarter on the way to a 48-0 Class C semifinal shutout of Voorheesville.
“We had a good defensive effort — they really put your defensive patience to the test,” Schuylerville head coach John Bowen said of the Blackbirds. “We knew they’d be patient in what they did. If we weren’t sound and if we didn’t trust our eyes, we would be in trouble. It took a little bit longer than I would like, but we did it.”
The win moved defending champ Schuylerville — unbeaten at 10-0 and ranked third in the state — into the Section II title game against Fonda (7-3) next Friday at 7 p.m. at Lansingburgh High School.
Fonda, a team Schuylerville defeated 14-7 earlier this season, pulled out a 20-14 win over Hoosick Falls-Tamarac in the other semifinal.
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“I think we’re a program with high expectations — we expect to make it here,” said senior quarterback Owen Sherman, who ran and threw for touchdowns Friday night. “We’ll play a very tough team in the Super Bowl, so we’ll need to work hard this week to keep doing what we do at a high level.”
“We knew (Voorheesville) would come out physical, so we had to match that — that was the game plan. And we did it,” said sophomore Luke Sherman, Owen’s younger brother, who rushed for 104 yards and two touchdowns in Schuylerville’s 429-yard offensive output.
The Horses’ defense was stalwart in the victory, shutting down the Blackbirds and star running back Joe Tomlin. Spearheaded by senior strong safety Scott Stiassney, Schuylerville held Tomlin to 72 yards on 19 carries, and Voorheesville to just 126 yards, all on the ground.
“Scott spent a lot of time in that kid’s ear,” Bowen said. “(Tomlin) was largely his responsibility.”
The swarming Horses also collected five sacks, two by senior linebacker Nick Abruscato and another by freshman Josh Bowen.
The first quarter was a slow starter for Schuylerville, which came into the game on a 16-game winning streak. The Horses muffed a punt, then drove all the way to Voorheesville’s 5-yard line before turning the ball over on a bad snap.
“This team has faced a lot of adversity all year, so we weren’t worried at all,” Owen Sherman said. “We knew we’d bounce back. It’s a long game.”
First, Schuylerville pinned the Blackbirds (7-2) deep in their own end and forced a short punt that was downed at the Voorheesville 31. Two plays later, Owen Sherman dashed 22 yards around right end for the score.
On Voorheesville’s next series, the punt hit the Blackbirds’ own blocker and Andrew Carpenter fell on the ball for Schuylerville at the Voorheesville 40. Six plays later, Luke Sherman burst 4 yards up the middle for a 16-0 lead.
After a fumble recovery by Anthony Luzadis at the Blackbirds’ 39, Luke Sherman reached the end zone again two plays later on an 18-yard run.
The Horses extended their lead to 32-0 just before halftime when Owen Sherman (9 for 16 passing, 143 yards) connected with Ryan Dow for a 22-yard score.
Zach Bowen and Martin Flanders Jr. tacked on scoring runs in the third quarter.
“We had a couple of self-inflicted wounds early, but the kids did a good job of working through it,” John Bowen said. “We knew they would try to tee off on our running game, so we got the ball out of Owen’s hands quickly. I was pleased with that — we’ll need to be as balanced as possible going forward.”
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