STILLWATER, NY (NEWS10) — After falling a game short of the section title in Class D last year, the Stillwater Warriors football team returns to action in 2022 as members of Class C, and the team has new confidence and increased drive. .
“Yeah, I mean, we look great,” senior quarterback and cornerback Colby Paffen said. “Right after preseason, right after week two, we were able to say that we were going to be pretty good this year. We only have a boost from last year after losing in the sectional final. So we’re coming in hot this year.”
Stillwater makes the jump from class D to class C due to an increase in the school’s enrollment. But the Warriors accept the challenge.
“Well, I like it because last year we faced a pretty good school from Greenwich in the Super Bowl (end of section) and … we came back this year, we beat them,” junior/utility running back and outside linebacker Jaxon Mueller said. “We will be fine; see what we can do in class C. I know there are a lot of tough opponents this year.”
Mueller alluded to Stillwater’s week zero victory over a Greenwich Witches team that defeated the Warriors in the 2021 Class D section final.
Only Class C teams remain on Stillwater’s regular season roster, and their head coach Ian Godfrey acknowledges the depth of talent the class presents.
“Class C I have always said is one of the most difficult classifications in the state; especially in section two,” Godfrey said. “I mean, we’re… we’ve got a great team, a lot of traditional powers, you know, Schuylerville, Hoosick Falls/Tamarac, Lake George/Warrensburg are new to the mix. So, I mean, the road to the top is… very difficult, and you have Schuylerville, who won the last two (class C championships). So, we know what we are up against; but we are also excited to have that challenge…with this group.”
However, Godfrey and the Warriors are not in uncharted territory. They were Class C champions in 2019 before moving up to Class D for two seasons.
However, as Godfrey mentioned, Class C has grown in strength and numbers in that span. But he knows he has the luxury of leaning on an excellent senior core, led by Paffer, to guide his squad through a renewed variety of opponents.
“Any time you have a strong senior class, you will be a formidable opponent,” Godfrey said. “These guys have grown up together, they play other sports together, so… they’ve gotten to this point; they know what is at stake. They also know a little bit about the challenge ahead of them, but…once again, they’re so excited, and they’re such great leaders and kids, that I’m excited to be on this journey with them.”
Senior wide receiver/running back and outside linebacker Trevor Cowin was on that 2019 championship team as a freshman, and he has a message for Section Two football fans about what to expect from the 2022 Warriors.
“I hope they (fans) have a lot of fun watching our games,” Cowin said. “You know, we have a lot of talent on the field, a lot of athletic guys that are playmakers. So keep your eyes open for us.”
Stillwater hits the road on Friday for his first Class C matchup of the season with the Watervliet Cannoneers.