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Saturday, August 30, 2014
Fox 40 Goes to Camp: Greene
6 days! Yes, six days until the lights spark on the 100 yard fields for some Friday Night High School Football.
The Greene Trojans open up their season at home against the Windsor Black Knights and let me tell you, this trojan team looks like the jolly green giants! They have spent a lot of time in the weight room preparing for this season. Last years team went 3-6 and this group of kids do not want to repeat what happened in 2013, they want to create some havoc in 2014.
The Trojans did not win a game in Division III Class C last year and they expect that game experience will pull them through the trenches for week one.
Fox 40 Goes to Camp: Warriors of Time
The Chenango Valley Warriors look to improve on a 5-4 2013 campaign, but have a few new obstacles to overcome. First, the Warriors are in a new division and a new class. Last year, they played Class C, this year they're back in Class B and in the same division as Maine-Endwell, Johnson City, and Owego. Secondly, they're small on numbers this year.
While that may be a problem for some schools, Head Coach Jay Hope isn't too concerned because he knows how hard he can push his team. The Warriors are putting in extra reps and more intensity in practice and running drills at a faster pace because they know they need to be better conditioned than their opponents.
The Warriors open the season on the road against the Ithaca Little Red.
Thursday, August 28, 2014
Fox 40 Goes to Camp: Clearing the Air
The Tioga Tigers enter the season looking for a fourth straight appearance in the State Semifinals and hope to get over that final hurdle to play for a State Title. A big part of their success is due to their dominant running game. The Tigers run a merciless ground and pound offense that allowed Jesse Manuel to rack up over 2,000 yards rushing and set a school record in 2013, as a sophomore. This year, as a junior, Manuel has his eyes set once again on the 2,000 yard mark, but he may get less touches per game. This year it seems like Head Coach Nick Aiello has added more of a passing repertoire to the playbook, and while opponents shouldn't expect last second 50 yard Hail Mary's in the 4th quarter, Aiello says it's all about having a balanced attack.
By implementing a stronger passing game, the Tigers double their threat and create confusion and havoc for the defense. This will not only take pressure off the running game, but take some of the focus off of Manuel allowing him to sneak a few carries in while the secondary may be expecting pass.
The Tigers begin their quest for the Dome on the road against Newark Valley.
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Fox 40 Goes to Camp: Aiming for the Top
Like most of Section IV, the Binghamton Patriots were caught off guard by the surging Elmira Express who finished 5-5 in 2012 only to go undefeated in the regular season, win the Section IV Class AA Title before falling in the State Semifinals. The Patriots had a rather successful 2013 season of their own, finishing at 7-3, but this year are aiming for a return to the state playoffs and gunning for the defending champion Express.
While graduation once again shook up the Patriots roster, as it does to all schools, Head Coach Mike Ramil says that this year's squad has a lot returners and even better, a lot of athletes. This year in training camp, the Pats are focused on intensity, and giving it all on every play to get better, every play.
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Fox 40 Goes to Camp: Unfinished Business
For all but a hand full of teams every year, the season ends with a loss in the final game of the season. The Newark Valley Cardinals season ended a few games earlier than they hoped, in a 25-20 heartbreaking loss to the Waverly Wolverines in the Section IV Class C Semifinals. Understandably, it's been a long offseason for the Cardinals who are back on the field for training camp and working harder than ever with one goal in mind: a Section IV Title.
To achieve that goal, the Cardinals start the season off with a true test in Week One, defending Section IV Class D Champion Tioga. On the plus side for NV, they have home field advantage.
Monday, August 25, 2014
Fox 40 Goes to Camp: Have no fear, Saints are here!
The Seton Catholic Central Saints football program has had a rough go of things for the last decade. Thanks to a Week 9 win over Susquehanna Valley, the Saints finished last year at 5-4 snapping a streak of 11 straight losing seasons. Unfortunately it's going to take a lot more than one season over .500 to have other teams gunning for you every week, but the Saints are embracing the role of the underdog. They know it's going to take hard work and extra reps in practice to get the job done.
Not only to get the job done though, but to be able to finish the game. The Saints roster size is in the low 20s meaning that they'll need to be one of the best conditioned teams in Section IV as most of the roster will be expected to play both sides of the ball. Despite the small numbers, they're confident in their ability and are excited for the future of the program. Saints Head Coach Brian Mister says that the roster size should be increasing in the years to come as the younger classes in the Catholic School system feature a lot of quality athletes.
The Saints open the season on the road against Delhi on September 6th at 1:00.
Fox 40 Goes to Camp: Sabers Speed is the Key
We went into the valley of Sabers and saw Susquehanna Valley this weekend.
The blue and gold finished 3-6 on the season last year and coach said their inexperience showed on the field in 2013, losing very close games, including one in overtime against Norwich. But lets focus on 2014 and this year. The youngsters have grown up and the offense looks to be faster than ever before as the Sabers try to light up the scoreboard and earn more wins in the standings.
Susquehanna Valley opens their season in two weeks at home against Elmira so expect the valley of to spark on week one.
Sunday, August 24, 2014
Fox 40 Goes to Camp: New Stadium, New Wildcats
Johnson City Wildcats are getting ready for another good season in Division 2, Class B but this team will have less seniors. With a nice 4 game winning streak heading into the playoffs last year, the Wildcats beat Norwich 35-14 but fell to eventual state champ Maine-Endwell the next week.
Over the next few weeks, expect this young group of Wildcats to show off their talent on the brand new football stadium that is being finished as we speak. This will bring them back to their home turf this season and it's exciting to see the maroon and white play on high school ground once again.
Their first game is on the road at Chenango Forks and their goal for the season is to continue to execute and score as many points on the board as possible.
Saturday, August 23, 2014
Fox 40 Goes to Camp: Under Pressure?
When you win a state title, like Chenango Forks, and you have a passionate fan base, like Chenango Forks, and your football program has a long history of success, like Chenango Forks, you inevitably have a lot expected of you. The Chenango Forks Blue Devils are a new team this year as, like many other schools, last year's graduation wrought havoc on the roster, especially the dominant offensive line. But many players on this year's team were members of last year's state title run and no what it takes to get the job done. They also know how to handle the pressure and the expectations of the coaching staff and the fan base.
Head Coach Dave Hogan says already in the first few days of practice, the veteran leaders on his team have become an extension of the coaching staff, reiterating that this team will not succeed by looking ahead to the end of the season, or even as far as week two. His and his team's focus is on week one against Johnson City.
Thursday, August 21, 2014
Fox 40 Goes to Camp: This is Sparta!
When talking about Section IV Football, the cream of the crop in recent years has been the Maine-Endwell Spartans. Not only have they won back-to-back-to-back State Titles, but they haven't lost a game in that span. The Spartans own the state's longest active win streak, entering week one at 38, and are 17 games away from tying the longest streak in NYS history, Section 10's Massena won 55 in a row ending in 1957. Even another undefeated season this year would not allow them to break that record this year, but next year is not out of the question.
However, to accomplish what no other school in New York State history has done, win four straight state titles, the Spartans will have to fill some major gaps. With high school sports comes the ever present issue of graduation. All schools lose players every year, and those that left M-E last year were a big part of their state title runs. Quarterback Kyle Gallagher, Fullback Darnell Woolfolk, Wide Receivers Alec Wisniewski and Jake Sinicki, among other major contributors are no longer at Head Coach Matt Gallagher's disposal. This year, another Kyle, Kyle Balmer, will be taking the majority of the snaps under center after seeing limited time at QB last year. Matt Gallagher will also rely on his middle son, wide receiver Adam, to step into the leadership role vacated by his older brother. Despite the massive turnover, the returning Spartans have been working hard ever since the end of last season, lifting, running, and waiting for the chance to take the field and begin their quest for a 4th straight title.
The Spartans start their season with a tough test in week one as they travel to Ty Cobb Stadium on Saturday, September 6th to take on the Union-Endicott Tigers.
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Fox 40 Goes to Camp: The Golden Bear Standard
Call it a blessing, call it a curse, but the Vestal Golden Bears enter the season guaranteed a berth in the Section IV Class A Finals. As it was a year ago, Vestal and Union-Endicott are the only two teams in Class A in Section IV leaving them looking ahead to the playoffs with wide eyes. However, Vestal Head Coach Tank Anderson told his team on day one of training camp that yes, they will play in that game, but it's 10 weeks away and anything can happen. It may sound cliche, but the "one game at a time" mentality is a mantra in Golden Bears camp. Senior Captain Andrew O'Hara says their goal is to just win the next game, and the next game, and as he says "if we go undefeated, that would be perfect."
It'll take a big effort from the Golden Bears, who like many other schools, lost a lot of players to graduation, specifically veteran leaders Nick Wegmann, Zach Cook and Pat Carlin. While Anderson says you can never replace guys like them, there's always guys called upon to step up. The Bears offense will rely on junior quarterback Nick Davis, wide receiver O'Hara and Justin Dennis, and a few players coming up from JV's last year that are sure to turn some heads.
The Golden Bears get the honor of starting their season on the same field they hope they finish, the Carrier Dome. Week One, Vestal travels north to face Section III's East Syracuse-Minoa on Friday, September 5th at 8:00.
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Fox 40 Goes to Camp: Tiger Tradition
There are a few notable changes to the Union-Endicott Tigers football program this year. For one, most of the home games will now be on Friday nights rather than Saturday nights. This comes in an effort to boost attendance numbers as students, in particular, can finish school, grab dinner, and head to the stadium. Secondly, the Fran Angeline Field House which was decimated, torn down, and out of use following the 2011 flood has been rebuilt (on stilts) and will be ready to use come time for the fall sports season. As practices begin, construction is still in progress, so no name has been put on the building, but this reporter thinks it's safe to assume it will be Angeline's. Thirdly, and probably most unsurprising, there are a lot of fresh faces on the field.
Graduation is a problem that every high school program faces every year, and some years hurt more than others. You need more than two hands to count the number of U-E Class of 2014 Graduates that signed letters of intent to play college sports, and many came from the Tigers football program. However, it's a sign of a good program to be able to fill those holes seamlessly. Tigers Head Coach Tom Baleno is confident that last year's seniors left a lasting impression on his current players.
"What's great about UE football is we always talk about family," Baleno said. Seniors that do graduate, often come back. Have a little player coach type thing and I always open the doors to those kind of guys. They're like our older brothers. What we miss from those guys is the leadership, but I think they planted the seeds for some of the younger players to carry on the tradition of leadership, discipline and a great work ethic."
The Tigers waste no time in testing themselves in the regular season as they open Week One by hosting three-time defending state champion Maine-Endwell.
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