SCHUYLERVILLE — The Schuylerville varsity football team is off to a strong start in 2023, and has their sights set high. However, head coach John Bowen said the Black Horses are simply focused on “winning this day.”
After an appearance in the Section II Class C Championship in 2022, the Black Horses have stampeded out of the gates this season, earning wins in each of their first three games.
Schuylerville opened the year with a 34-32 victory over Fonda-Fultonville, earning a 40-0 victory over Cobleskill-Richmondville in Week One before moving to 3-0 with a 46-21 win over Johnstown last week.
In the season opener against Fonda, the Black Horses built a 20-0 lead before the Braves rallied back. Eventually trailing 32-27, a touchdown pass from Luke Sherman to Sam Dwyer proved to be the game winner for Schuylerville. Bowen said the season-opening win was “a good test for both our squads of what our kids are made of.”
“We were certainly happy with the boys’ resilience,” said Bowen of the Week Zero win. “I just was very happy with the way that our guys got up off the mat. We played very poorly at the back half of the fourth quarter, and Fonda certainly took advantage of big situations, and made big plays. We just had to find one more big play at the end of that game, and Luke Sherman and the rest of the crew, Sam Dwyer, just did a fantastic job of doing that.”
Bowen said the team has a strong group of returning players, including Sherman and Dwyer. He also made note of Martin Flanders, Jr., and three-year starters Landen Cumm, Chase DeLisle, and Josh Bowen.
“Martin is certainly going to be someone here at the end of the year that I think people are going to look back on and recognize how good of a season he had,” Bowen said. “(Landen is) going to be a guy that we’re going to put a lot of emphasis on there as well.”
The Black Horses have utilized a strong running attack thus far, with Bowen also highlighting the team’s offensive line, consisting of Drew Carpenter, DeLisle, Josh Merrill, Josh Bowen, and Sam Renner.
Bowen said the coaching staff has emphasized the “brotherhood” of the team, getting them to play for each other.
“It’s something that we’ve really tried to put an onus on,” said Bowen. “Getting out of that individualistic mindset, and really finding a larger cause, that being the brotherhood, and the team.”
And while Bowen acknowledged that a return to the Class C title game is a “long-term goal,” he said the Black Horses are just looking to take things day by day.
“We talk every day about winning this day,” Bowen said. “Today, we’re going to go out to practice, and that’s going to be our sole and primary focus, is winning today’s practice. If we put a whole bunch of those types of practices together, Friday nights are going to start to take care of themselves. And then whatever happens beyond the regular season … No matter what’s presented to us, we feel if we take that approach, we’ll be prepared for it.”