STILLWATER — Even after two impressive wins to start its season, the missed chances from its 2018 campaign still stick with the Stillwater football team.
“We were all there,” senior Brian McNeil said of the senior-laden Warriors’ roster. “Losing in the first round of sectionals wasn’t the best feeling in the world. That left a big chip on our shoulders.”
Stillwater started 6-0 last season, then fell in its regular-season finale against Holy Trinity and its Section II Class C quarterfinal against Chatham.
“We didn’t think we’d lose,” Stillwater senior Mason Seymour said. “When we did, it threw us off. . . . So we didn’t want to come into this year too cocky. Last season, that was part of our problem.”
This year, Stillwater has been a problem other teams haven’t been able to solve. The Warriors have outscored their first two foes a combined 81-6 heading into their 7 p.m. Friday home matchup with a 1-1 Canajoharie/Fort Plain team coming off a loss to Fonda-Fultonville.
That early success hasn’t changed the day-by-day approach of this year’s Warriors.
“Every game we have on our schedule,” Stillwater head coach Ian Godfrey said, “you look at all of them, and they’re all against good teams.”
While last year’s group perhaps got ahead of itself, McNeil said this year’s Warriors want to “act differently” as they chase a Central Division championship.
“If we have a good week of practice and execute on Friday, we’ll be in a good spot,” McNeil said of Friday’s matchup. “That’s how it’s going to be for us this season.”
Stillwater has plenty of talent. Seymour and classmate Luc Lescault provide the Warriors with a pair of potent rushers, senior quarterback James Galarneau is a capable passer and rusher, and McNeil — a left tackle and middle linebacker — is one of the area’s top two-way players.
“This year,” Seymour said, “we’re trying to fix all the little mistakes we made last year and see how far we can go.”
Besides Stillwater vs. Canajoharie/Fort Plain, here are four more Week 3 games to watch.
BETHLEHEM AT GUILDERLAND
Coming off its 30-0 Week 2 win against Saratoga Springs, Bethlehem heads to Guilderland for a pivotal matchup of 1-1 squads. The winner of this 7 p.m. Friday contest puts itself in a position of strength in terms of the race for the Class AA postseason’s four spots, while the loser of this game will have plenty of work to do in the coming weeks.
BALLSTON SPA AT MOHONASEN
Mohonasen scored a blowout win in Week 1, then suffered a loss to Queensbury in Week 2. Ballston Spa lost to Queensbury in Week 1, then won big in Week 2. Now, these two Class A Grasso Division teams meet 7 p.m. Friday, each looking to get above .500.
MECHANICVILLE AT FONDA
With a divisional loss already suffered against Canajoharie/Fort Plain and a tough one still to come against Stillwater, 1-1 Mechanicville needs to avoid another loss in Class C Central Division action. Meanwhile, Fonda looks to improve its record to 3-0 under first-year head coach Sean Thompson.
COLUMBIA AT AMSTERDAM
The winner of this 2 p.m. Sunday matchup takes a sizable step toward securing one of the Class A Capital Division’s four postseason spots. With Averill Park and Troy already 2-0 in league play, and 1-1 La Salle coming off a win against Columbia, the loser of Amsterdam vs. Columbia puts itself in a precarious position. Amsterdam is 1-1, but 0-1 in league play, while Columbia is 0-2.