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Chenango Valley – Preseason Playbook

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FENTON (WBNG) -- The Chenango Valley football team made a name for itself last season.

Following three seasons with losing records, the Warriors went 5-3 under first-year head coach Nick Sorrenti.

As the former Maine-Endwell football standout enters his second season at the helm of the Warriors, the mentality on the team is different.

"We're way more confident than we used to be," said senior quarterback Rory Thompson. "People used to look at us and say 'oh they're going to lose, another 2-7 season, another 0-9 season.' Last year we just looked at that and said absolutely no way."

The players said their confidence begins with the culture Sorrenti brought to the program.

"We had a rough couple of years at Chenango Valley," said Thompson. "He came in immediately and said we're not being bad. That's the first thing he said, we're going to be a successful team."

With more eyes on Chenango Valley this season, Sorrenti said the expectations are higher.

"Because of the team last year and some of the individuals we have coming back, I think there's a little expectation," he said. "The pressure is on for us, not to accomplish or get to where people expect us to be but to be the best we can be as a team and as a program."

Over half the team returns this season, including a large group of seniors looking to make an impact. In addition to Thompson, middle linebacker and guard Ryan Atkinson is prepared to make a statement.

"We've been working hard for this season," said Atkinson. "We know that if we play hard and we play well and we execute, we can definitely be successful."

Atkinson had 10 sacks and 71 total tackles in 2019. This season he's striving for the same result.

"Hoping to be the leading tackler on the team, but whatever the team needs me to do I'm willing to do 110%," he said.

Sorrenti said he's anticipating big things from the group Atkinson leads.

"We always say, o-line and d-line they dictate the game," said Sorrenti. "If we can win at the line of scrimmage then we can win football games. I'm very excited to have the o-line that we have because I think we can match up with the best of them."

On the offensive side, Thompson returns to the quarterback role he took over last season.

"I think just handling pressure has been a huge thing," said Thompson. "Last year we played in a lot of big games that I hadn't really experienced prior to that."

As seniors, both Thompson and Atkinson are hoping to set an example on and off the field.

"Work hard, have a good mindset, good mentality and just go into every single practice not regretting everything," said Atkinson.

"I just want to be a leader for these younger guys," added Thompson.

Sorrenti said consistency and culture are the keys to the Warriors' continued success down the line, and if they achieve that, the wins will keep coming.

"The day in and day out grind, the belief that we're fighting for something bigger than us. We're not working out for ourselves, we're working out for the guys to the left and right of us," he said. " I just want to be the best we can be and I think CV has the potential to be a great program."

Chenango Valley hosts Chenango Forks to open the season Friday, March 19 at 6:30 p.m.

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Nicole Menner

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