Blackbirds soar into semis

For the purposes of this account, it might be best to forget that Stillwater was the No. 1 seed and Voorheesville was the No. 8 seed in last Saturday's class C quarterfinal football game.

After all, neither team played like its seeding suggested.

Voorheesville dominated Stillwater in all facets of the game to defeat the Warriors 23-7 and advance to Friday's Sectional semifinal game at Chatham.

We never considered ourselves a No. 8 seed, and I'd say very few people considered us a No. 8 seed, said Voorheesville coach Joe Sapienza.

"I think we were underestimated, but today shows how good we are," added tailback Pat Jones, who rushed for more than160 yards and two touchdowns.

Voorheesville's defense stymied Stillwater all day. The Blackbirds limited Stillwater's leading rusher, Matt Grayson, to 81 yards and staged a successful goal line stand late in the first quarter that set the tone for the game.

The only moment that Stillwater (5-2) showed any sign of life came at the end of the second quarter. Facing a third-down-and-23 at Voorheesville's 26-yard line, quarterback Vinny Barber threw a high-arcing pass that receiver Grady Edwards caught in the end zone as time expired to give the Warriors a 7-3 halftime lead.

"I think it absolutely could have been a deflating moment, and walking off (the field), we were worried about it being a deflating moment," said Sapienza. "But the one thing I can say about these kids is that they won't stop playing."

Voorheesville (6-2) got the momentum back early in the third quarter when Dan Flynn recovered a Stillwater fumble at the Warriors' 26-yard line. Two plays later, quarterback Jay Conde kept the ball for himself and ran 17 yards into the end zone to put the Blackbirds up 9-7.

Grayson tried to get his team going on Stillwater's next series, but he fumbled the ball after a long run into Voorheesville's territory. The Blackbirds recovered the loose ball and executed another scoring drive " capped by Jones' 20-yard touchdown run " to increase their lead to 16-7.

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