SCHUYLERVILLE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — “Champions Week” forges ahead on News10 ABC, as we preview the upcoming season for each of 2021’s section two football champions. Tuesday’s champ comes out of class C: the Schuylerville Black Horses.

After a 12-1 campaign last season that culminated in a state final appearance for Schuylerville, some major personnel questions loom for this year’s squad following key departures on both sides of the ball.

But head coach John Bowen believes two components of his team they can control will be vital to their success in 2022: conditioning and physicality.

“We’ve had a great summer as far as conditioning is concerned,” said Bowen. “This might be – we’ve talked as a coaching staff – top to bottom, one of the most conditioned teams we’ve had. If we’re looking to call out the identity of our offensive football team…I’d say we’re gonna be, you know, probably a little more physical than we were last year. I thought we were pretty physical last year, but I think we might even be a little more physical.”

That need for an uptick in physicality derives from the loss of three-year starting quarterback Owen Sherman, who threw for over 1,500 yards last year, and threw 15 touchdowns without throwing one interception.

One of the potential suitors for the opening is his younger brother Luke Sherman – the horses’ leading rusher from a year ago with 918 yards on the ground, and 21 rushing touchdowns.

Suffice to say Luke Sherman’s had a pretty good mentor as he’s made the transfer from running back to quarterback.

“All summer I’ve been working with my brother,” said Sherman. “He’s going to RPI to play football, and he’s…helped me through the way to get all the steps down, the reads down, and…get better throwing the ball. So he’s been a huge step, so it’s going pretty good so far. Teams are gonna expect the run, but we can also hit them with the quick pass, the QB option, so I like how the offense is looking so far throughout the summer.”

Sherman will have the luxury of operating behind an experienced offense line. Coach Bowen believes both the offensive and defensive lines are the strongest units based on number of returners, and the confidence of the defensive front has steadily grown throughout the preseason.

“All throughout last year we had a lot of young guys building; building their talents, and their skills,” said Austin Prouty, a senior left guard and nose tackle. “Throughout the offseason, getting bigger, stronger, faster. And then this preseason really honing it in. One of our d-line coach’s big motto is, “competition kills complacency.” So every drill we’re doing, we’re competing, so we don’t get complacent with where we’re at.”

It’s clear the horses have put the success of 2021 on the backburner, and this year’s group is primed to make their own history.

“This group especially, they have really not lived in the past,” said Bowen. “They’ve really taken this on. You know, I…I talk about it: it’s not a new book; we’re just writing a new chapter. You know, the legacy that’s before us is still in the same book that we’re…that we’re existing in. And these guys have done a phenomenal job of taking the pen and authoring their own chapter of this book.”

Schuylerville opens up their season Saturday in a non-league matchup with Wallkill.