FOOTBALL PREVIEW: UNION-ENDICOTT TRAVELS TO HORSEHEADS FOR CLASS A SEMIFINAL
Broome County Sports Report
Wins in both of its final two games have revived defending Section IV Class A champion Union-Endicott for a postseason push.
"Getting some wins under your belt helps the kids believe," UE head coach Tommy Baleno said. "Learning how to lead one another and win together and realizing what it takes to win."
The No. 3 Tigers finished third in their division this season, meaning their path through November keeps them on the road the entirety of the playoffs.
But that has not inhibited UE as the team gears up for Friday's sectional semifinal. Baleno believes the postseason brings a clean slate regardless of the results of the last eight weeks.
"We are playing in our class now. Everyone's record is 0-0," he said. "We can't change the past and that's behind us. All we can do is work hard in the day."
The work for this week leads to a second matchup this season with No. 2 Horseheads. The Blue Raiders took down the Tigers 20-13 at Ty Cobb Stadium three weeks ago. Baleno and his team believe they have something to prove with this opportunity.
"The last time we played them we didn't play to the standard that is acceptable," he said. "Right now they're the better team so we have to come out and prove people wrong."
But the Tigers remain mindful of the threats on the offensive side for their opponent.
"They have some playmakers and their running back is good. They have guys who catch the ball," Baleno said. "If we remember our assignments and execute our assignments I think we will be okay."
UE hopes to display its resurgent offense in this game. The Tigers have scored 74 points in the games proceeding their loss to Horseheads.
"There has been a shift on offense. Being a defensive guy like I am it's nice when it puts the defense in a different mindset when they know the offense can move the ball and score in one play," Baleno said. "It affects everyone when you can be explosive."
Despite the youth of his team Baleno insisted that the season has become a series of lessons and brought the group together.
"We're a young team and we have eight games of experience," he said. "We're starting to do the right things and believe in each other."
The Tigers will count on these developments to lift them in their biggest game of the season.
"I just hope they play to their abilities," Baleno said. "When the clock hits zero I want to know we played the best we can."
PHOTO BY ANTHONY GOSS
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