UNION (WBNG) — No. 1 Chenango Forks and No. 6 Maine-Endwell meet in a rematch from two weeks ago, this time for the Section IV Class B Championship. The Blue Devils have won six straight sectionals titles, including the past two in Class B. The Spartans have a storied tradition of their own as they compete for their first Section IV title since in 2015 in 12 Sports’ Game of the Week.
“This is what you work for all year to make your way to the state championship,” said Maine-Endwell senior lineman AJ DeSantis.
Maine-Endwell wants this to be the year they return to the state playoffs.
“As far as getting to the section finals, of course, that’s a great accomplishment,” said Maine-Endwell head coach Matt Gallagher. “But, we’re looking to do more things, but we know we have a tough opponent in Forks.”
A team that beat the Spartans just two weeks ago, aided by some costly turnovers.
“(We need to improve our) ball security, right?” said Gallagher. “I think we could tackle a little bit better in the first half, but I think that was tidied up a little bit. They have some great players. Obviously, they are well coached.”
Maine-Endwell can take away some positives to build on from that loss. The Spartans defense did not allow a point in the second half.
“Our defense in the second half was great,” said Gallagher. “I thought our offense, actually, in the second half too, except we just had a couple turnovers.”
All-State lineman A.J. DeSantis played sparingly in that game due to injury and should provide a big lift on Saturday.
“His presence alone, in uniform, is a huge deal for us,” said Gallagher. “Then, playing both sides of the ball. There’s not many guys like him around, so when he’s back in there 100 percent healthy, ready to go, a little bit hungry too, that’s a good thing.”
He is one of the few Spartans with experience in a Section IV Championship Game.
“You just have to stay focused for the entire game,” said DeSantis. “You stay focused, you’ll be able to come out on top, if you work hard and know your jobs.”
A victory is two-fold for Maine-Endwell: capture a Section IV title and they get to keep playing the game they love.
“It’d be amazing,” said Maine-Endwell senior quarterback Joe Mancini. “It would definitely be a lot of fun to do it my senior year too. Last year, so looking forward to it. Hopefully we have a lot more left in our season.”
Maine-Endwell will be without fullback Josh Chandler when it all goes down Saturday at Ty Cobb Stadium in Endicott. Chenango Forks and Maine-Endwell have won 10 state championships between the two programs. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m.