New York teams to defend sectional titles
Waverly (9-0) vs Chenango Forks (9-0)
Saturday, 5 p.m. at Binghamton Alumni Stadium
Waverly Coach Jason Miller knows this will be the toughest challenge his team has faced this season when they take the field against Chenango Forks in the Section IV, Class C championship game Saturday.
"Forks has an incredible program," Miller explained. "They are the Southern Columbia of New York. They've won state championships, they've won seven out of the last 10 sectional titles. They've been in this position numerous times and have a lot of pride."
Last week the Wolverines did a good job slowing down Sidney's offense, allowing just one offensive touchdown. But things could be different this time around.
"This week is a very different challenge as far as assignments," Miller remarked. "They have a very different offense than what Sidney ran. There is a lot to prepare from when defending the option. We are working on being discipline and understanding assignment football."
Forks will have a big size advantage over Waverly but regardless Miller believes that if they can defend well they will have a chance in the game.
"We're proud of the way we played defense," he said. "That's something we can control."
Offensively, Waverly struggled some last week but feel they will be ready come Saturday.
"I just feel Zach (Cooney) was a little bit off," Miller remarked. "Like a pitcher than can't find the strike zone, one day you go out and your mechanics are a little off."
However, he believes their offense will be ready on Saturday.
"The timing was a little bit off but were not going to labor it too much," Miller said. "We're going to go out and complete balls we want to complete. If not, we'll run the ball. We're perfectly satisfied with doing that, it takes the weight off Zach's shoulders when you do that. We don't want to be so one dimensional that success relies on one kid throwing the ball downfield."
Waverly has had a good week of practice on turf but they still see themselves as the underdog.
"We have more incentive to do our best to get ready," Miller said. "We're not going to look ahead, we're not going to look back. We have to be in the moment, every rep is incredibly important. They fully understand what's at stake going up against one of the most decorated programs in the state."
Tioga (8-1) vs Groton (7-2)
Today, 7:30 p.m. at Binghamton Alumni Stadium
Coming into today's Section IV, Class D title game Tioga has looked dominant at times but also vulnerable.
Against Walton they had a slow first half but ran over them in the second, then against Unatego it was the reverse, a strong first half followed by a sluggish second.
"It's just a matter of staying mentally strong," Tioga coach Nick Aiello explained. "Putting it together for four quarters. Sometimes coaches forget they're coaching teenage boys."
While their offense may have sputtered some their defense hasn't let up at all this postseason.
"Last week, really it was the defense that won it for us," Aeillo said. "I really think our defense has played outstanding all year long. That's what wins games for you, finding the football and tackling."
They will have to be on their toes against Groton.
"They have two good backs and like to mix in another one," Aiello explained. "They go outside and off tackle on you along with quick hitters up the gut. We have to be ready and prepared. In playoff football it comes down to the team that controls the line of scrimmage."
Offensively, they will give Groton all they can handle on the ground. Last week senior back Tyler Spires was a little banged up so freshman Jesse Manuel carried the load and the Tigers didn't miss a beat.
"They're both 1000 yard rushers," Aiello said. "We can give it to either of them. Last week Tyler was just a little banged up but come gut check time we can count on any of our backs."
The Tigers are doing something they haven't done in 30 years success wise and Aiello believes this is good news for their future.
"I think it speaks where the program's going," he said. "They're setting the tone and building excitement. You've got to be able to have numbers and when you have winning, success, people want to be a part of that. That's big in terms of getting the kids."