CHATHAM — The Blackbirds of Voorheesville headed here Friday night expecting to see a heavy dose of Panthers’ senior standout Josh Keyes, and Chatham was happy to oblige, running early and often on their way to an impressive 42-13 romp. The Panthers improved to 4-0 behind Keyes, who racked up 305 yards on the ground and 5 touchdowns in the win.
The Chatham defense got off to a quick start, forcing a Voorheesville punt, but the Blackbirds had to feel good after Keyes fumbled the first offensive play, recovering it for a short loss. However the good feelings were to be short lived for Voorheesville, as Keyes busted out a big run up the right sideline before galloping in for a touchdown from 21 yards out just three minutes into the game. Another Panther defensive stand forcing a three-and-out led to two more Keyes’ runs and another touchdown on the board less than six minutes into the game.
Both teams saw their defenses settle in through the rest of the first quarter and into the second, as defense and penalties stalled most offensive drives. Nearly halfway into the second Voorheesville found a groove on the ground and pushed in for a touchdown and an extra point to cut their deficit to 7. Chatham came right back; after a decent kick return, it took Keyes just one run of 65 yards to find pay dirt again. The Panthers had another defensive stand forcing a punt, and again it was just one play, this time of 31 yards for Keyes to find the end zone. Ryan Behrens added his fourth extra point of the game and Chatham took a 28-7 lead into the half.
The second half began the way the first half ended, with Keyes striking fast. After a kickoff return to the Chatham 46 yard line, Keyes took the ensuing carry 54 yards to the house. The Chatham defense came up big again, causing a fumble and recovering on the ensuing possession, which eventually set up a two-yard quarterback keeper for a touchdown for Tanner Niles. Voorheesville would strike for another score late to pull to 42-13, but that was as close as they’d get.
Sitting at 4-0 the Panthers have just three more games until the post season begins. On Friday, October 1, the Panthers host 3-1 Watervliet in what could be a pivotal game for post season seeding. After that they play at Ichabod Crane, which recently won its first game since the reconstituted team began playing last year, and at Greenwich, now 3-1, to close out the season.