ENDICOTT, NY (WIVT/WBGH) – We continue our preseason football coverage with the reigning Class A champs in section 4, the Union-Endicott Tigers, who are back and ready to roll despite some early obstacles.

Each year, a high school football team sets out with a number of goals in mind.

Typically, one of them is to win a section title.

In 2021, Union-Endicott accomplished this, winning the Class A crown.

Fast forward to August of 2022, after an offseason of hard work, the Tigers are back and excited to get on the field and chase another section championship.

“It’s great to be back,” Head Coach Tommy Baleno said. “We’ve been working hard in the offseason, in the weight room and we’ve been doing a lot of summer training, but it’s a different feel when it’s the first couple days of practice.”

The players have that feeling as well.

With energy up to start camp, the Tigers are hitting the ground running on their way to defending their section crown.

“I think we’re starting out on a really high note,” Assistant Coach Jared Veruto said. “We got guys flying around, excited to be here, we worked pretty hard this summer. We had a lot of guys in the weight room, a lot of guys on the field. I think they’re helping out a lot of the newer guys we have as well. We got some kids coming up, they’re adjusting pretty well, and it seems like everyone’s pretty excited this year.”

Unfortunately for the Tigers, there are some things out of their control heading into the year.

But the team is looking to turn those challenges into ways to better themselves.

“A lot of things are up in the air for us for awhile,” Baleno said. “We’re having a new stadium built so there’s construction, we’ve already had to deal with a lot of adversity but I think that’s preparing us for the season.”

The idea of adversity preparing the team for the season is really aimed at getting ready for adversity during the season, particularly when it’s win or go home.

“I think as much adversity as you can deal with early on,” Baleno said. “You’re gonna be stronger when you come to the end of the season, that’s when your best football, is for playoff time.”

In terms of what the Tigers can control, the coaching staff is looking for more size and strength to help push them to the next level, but they know at this point it’s more about getting ready for gameday more than anything else.

“The hays in the barn when it comes to getting bigger and stronger,” Baleno said. “We just want to maintain what we have, really get a lot of good reps during our games, during our practices to prepare for the games.”