Oneida, N.Y. - The Oneida Indians had a very tough ending to an otherwise successful year in 2018.
The team went 6-3, but fell 40-0 to Cazenovia in the Section III Class B semifinals.
Getting that close to a trip to the Carrier Dome, but falling short in the fashion they did has left a sour taste in the Indians' mouths for the past eight months.
It has given them a lot of motivation to work on the things that they learned they were lacking in that blowout loss last year.
"We have to dedicate ourselves more to the weight room," said Indians head coach Jason Fuller. "We had a lot of guys show up injured and they weren’t ready to play nine games. If you want to beat a really good program in Cazenovia in week nine you need to be a little bit lucky, you need to be in good physical shape, and you can’t make mistakes."
This year, they have a strong senior class and a ton of new promising talent coming up. This year's senior class is eager to avenge the heartbreak that their leaders last year had to endure.
"I’ve been waiting ever since our last sectional game, when we lost to Cazenovia, been waiting for this day to come so it’s pretty awesome," said senior TE Ben Wright. "Just thinking about that [loss] in the locker room and seeing the seniors and how emotional they were, I feel like I owe it to them and all the years past to have a great year this year."
This year, it's all about togetherness. The Indians know that to succeed they must all be in it together. Whether returners or newcomers, everyone needs to be on the same page.
"[Chemistry is] probably one of the most important things in football," said senior RB Zander Farr. "The more you are as brothers on the team, the more you work together, the more you’ll understand each other, the more you’ll listen, the better your plays will be."
Oneida starts their season at home on Friday, September 6 against Central Valley Academy.