Experience is a valuable commodity in high school football.
That point was hammered home in Watervliet last Saturday, where the veteran-laden Cannoneers dominated an inexperienced Voorheesville team 54-7.
The Blackbirds (0-2) couldn't get anything started against Watervliet's defense until a scoring drive late in the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, the Cannoneers (1-1) found plenty of holes in Voorheesville's defense as they amassed 266 total yards of offense.
When you're starting three sophomores and a freshman, you're up against it, said Voorheesville coach Joe Sapienza. "And Watervliet is always a talented team. I think they have 17 seniors on this year's team, so they have veteran experience. When you combine all of those factors, it's a recipe for disaster."
It didn't help Voorheesville when starting fullback Jason Slingerland injured his foot in the first half. Without Slingerland, Sapienza had to change his other running backs' roles to make up for his absence.
"We're not deep to begin with, and Jason is a two-way starter for us," said Sapienza. "So, I had to switch a tailback (Max Shuster) to a fullback."
It hardly mattered who carried the ball for Voorheesville, though. Watervliet's defense stopped any Blackbird in his tracks, as Voorheesville only gained 28 yards on the ground.
Without an effective running game, quarterback Ryan Duncan did what he could through the air to get Voorheesville moving. But Duncan's receivers had a hard time catching his passes, which led to a 6-for-18 completion ratio for the sophomore signal caller.
"I actually thought he threw a lot of good balls," said Sapienza. "He threw them to spots where only his receivers could get to the ball. I think that the guys have to just get to them."
Meanwhile, Watervliet kept racking up yards on the ground with a balanced running game. Six Cannoneers gained at least 10 yards, with Ahkiem Thompson leading the way with 70 yards on nine carries.