WHITESBORO, N.Y. (WKTV) - For the second straight season, Whitesboro is going to the state football semifinals. The Warriors beat Maine-Endwell 40-14 in the regionals, though it was a lot closer than that in the first half.
But Whitesboro recovered a fumble on a kickoff late in the second quarter, then scored on a one handed touchdown reception by Mike Bunal to put his team up by double digits going into halftime.
"It's not easy to keep those emotional tanks full all the time, so I just thought we took the first half off and settled down in the second half," said head coach Tom Schoen.
"That Bunal catch fired us up going into halftime," added senior RB/DB Mike Sullivan. "It helped our defense coming into the second half, we shut them down, second half they didn't score."
"That was definitely a motivation swinger," says senior lineman Dan Upson. "They had a good offense and they almost got us, they managed to sneak by us for some big gains. Hopefully we won't let that happen this week."
The Warriors are hoping to make it to their first state title game since 1996, when they fell to Troy. Standing in their way is Rochester Aquinas, who looks a lot like Sweet Home did last year. They're undefeated and are #1 in the state. But the Warriors say this game won't be a repeat of last year's loss.
"We've got nothing to lose, we just got to go out there and play the best we can," said senior WR/DB Ryan Watson. "We didn't play the best last week, but I think we learned from our mistakes and really put a beating on them. I know they're a real good team, but I think we can pull it off."
Schoen knows his team can win, but says they can't afford any mistakes. "We can't turn the ball over, we have to make the most of every opportunity they give us and we've got to put points on the board on offense which our kids have been doing, we can't leave our defense on the field too much."
The Class A West semifinal matchup will kickoff Friday night at eight from Rochester's Marina Auto Stadium. If Whitesboro wins, they'll go back to the Carrier Dome, where they beat Watertown in the Section III final. But this time they'd be playing for that elusive state title against either Burnt Hills or Harrison.