TIOGA CENTER, NY – Tonight, it’s time to wrap up our 2021 high school football camp series with a team that is synonymous with winning.
Few teams have been able to accomplish what the Tioga football team has during the last decade.
In fact, the Tigers have won 8 Section IV championships in that span, a feat only accomplished by Chenango Forks as well.
With the title up for grabs once again this year, there’s no reason to expect the outcome will be any different.
If you go back to the year 2011, the Class D Section IV champion would be the same as it is this year.
No other class can say that.
In fact, with 2016 as the outlier, the Tioga football team has been the Class D champ every other year during that span of time.
While the end result is the same, the team’s themselves are different each season.
Head coach Nick Aiello sees a nice balance with this year’s team, setting them up for success now and in the future.
“They’ve got a lot of growing up to do. Physically, because we’re going to be playing a lot of young guys. But, the other thing too is, I think, the seniors that we do have have been providing great leadership. A lot of those guys started as sophomores. So, we have a pretty good balance of some veteran leadership and then some youthful talent. So, that mix is going to take some time, and hopefully we can get things clicking,” he says.
Among those senior leaders is Emmett Wood.
Having played as a sophomore, Wood knows what it’s like to adjust to varsity life as a young player.
So far, the all-state running back has been impressed with the underclassmen at camp.
“I think they’re doing good because we have good senior leadership this year, which is probably one of the most important things we’ve got going for us right now. They’re all looking like 3-year starters on our team. So, it’s looking good.”
This past spring, Tioga went 5-1 in their shortened season, falling only to Newark Valley.
Despite an overall successful slate of games, Wood believes it was only a stepping stone.
“It was more of a preparation thing for this season. We played all our seniors last year since they didn’t get a normal year. This year, we’re going to have all our starters in at all times. So, it’s going to be a lot different from the year before.”
Of course, the largest difference will be having something to play for, something Aiello knows is on every team and player’s minds.
“We talk about goals and, right now, the goal is to make it through preseason and have a good scrimmage. You take a look at week one. Everyone wants to win the week one game. Everybody’s in the same boat. Then, you look to make adjustments. Then, you have your end goals. The nice thing about this season is we have a championship, everybody has a championship to look for.”
For Wood, he has been a section champion and an all-state selection. But, there’s still one more thing on the bucket list before he graduates in the spring.
“Well, obviously, I want to win a state title. But, we’re not going to think about that right now. We just got to win, go 1-0 every week,” Wood said.