Holland Patent, N.Y. - The Holland Patent football team made history winning its first Section III title since 1989, last Saturday.
After improving their record to 10-0 this year with a 21-14 win over General Brown at the Carrier Dome in the Section III Class C final, the Golden Knights must now turn their attention to the New York State regional final against Susquehanna Valley this coming Saturday.
With an emotional come-from-behind victory and historical feat on their minds, the team spoke about having to shift gears quickly and refocus.
"We let them sink it in, gave them the weekend off," said head coach, Brian Briggs. "On Monday we went back to work and we told them, you know what, we had fun all weekend, now it's over, now we have to start thinking about the next game."
Briggs was a sophomore on the 1989 team that last won a section championship for the school. He was a senior on the 1991 team that was the last Holland Patent football team to play for a title, falling in the championship game to Fowler.
He said he was proud of the players for being able to get the job done, and happy for the community that they could bring the banner home.
The players echoed his excitement, but also said that they still have work to do, and accomplishments to earn.
"We kind of thought about it as a big deal, we won a section title, but we're not done yet," said senior Hunter Tarbania. "Monday we went back to watching film, getting ready for this week and our motto is next game, one game at a time so now we have another game to play."
The team also spoke about their confidence level, with many players saying that they feel like they could keep going and make a run at a potential state title, but they weren't thinking too far ahead.
"We just come to practice every day, just practice as hard as we can, we go 100% in practice and it prepares us for every game," said senior Josh Ernst. "We're just going to take it one game at a time and play as well as we can, see where it ends up."
Despite the magnitude of what they already have earned the program this year, the focus now shifts to the Sabres, in a matchup that the Golden Knights know will be tough.
"We had our celebrations," said senior Jeff Sobel. "We had our weekend of living just high on the edge and now we've just got to get back to focusing because we've got Susquehanna Valley up."
The Golden Knights and Sabres battle for a spot in the state semifinals on Saturday, at 12 p.m. at Cicero-North Syracuse High School.
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