Most quality football teams have a few things in common. A skilled, deep and coachable roster that plays for each other, along with a high compete level come to mind.
The Stillwater Warriors checked all the boxes this season and on Friday night in their state quarterfinal in Rotterdam they leaned heavily on their ability to compete, keeping the decision in doubt until the clock showed triple zeroes.
The Warriors, trailed the entire contest and were held scoreless until late in the fourth, but managed to give themselves a chance on the game’s last play, before falling to Gouverneur 10-2.
Gouverneur jumped on top less than two minutes in on a 23-yard touchdown from quarterback Caleb Farr.
Those would be the only points in the game until early in the fourth when the Wildcats added a 25-yard field goal that gave Gouverneur a 10-0 advantage.
On the ensuing Stillwater drive the Warriors moved the football to the Wildcat one-yard line but were denied on three straight run plays, giving the ball back to Gouverneur with 5:45 remining.
Undeterred, the Warriors defense came up big three plays later when Farr was smothered in the end zone by a host of Stillwater defenders for a safety, trimming the deficit to 10-2.
After receiving the free kick Stillwater ran just four plays, before turning the ball over on downs to the Wildcats who looked to run out the clock and seal the “W”.
But with 1:41 on that clock Stillwater’s “want to” gene showed up again, when the Warriors Rhett Mercier recovered a Gouverneur fumble giving Stillwater life at their own 37-yard line.
On the game’s final series Stillwater picked up three first downs in moving the ball to the Wildcat 23 yard line. But from there the Warriors final three passing attempts fell incomplete, the last coming with all zeroes on the clock, and Gouverneur survived, walking off with the quarterfinal victory.
Stillwater wraps up an outstanding season with a 10-1 mark and the schools first Section II Football Championship.