2021 High School Football Preview: Vestal


VESTAL, NY – The Vestal football team is coming off an extremely impressive spring season, going 4-2 over their 6-game schedule.

In the eyes of many, that might have been an overachievement given the fact that the team was littered with underclassmen.

Now, with a new head coach, the Golden Bears will try and replicate that success this fall.

The Vestal Golden Bears should be heading into the fall 2021 season with a ton of confidence.

After registering a 4-2 record this spring, with a tighter-than-it-looked loss to Maine-Endwell as well, Vestal should be right in the mix for a section championship in the 3-team Class A division.

However, they still need to ensure they get the playbook down first under new head Jim Crunden.

Hired back in June, Crunden haven’t had a lot of time to get on the same page.

However, he’s liking what he’s seeing from his team early on.

“We’ve got a lot of new stuff that we’ve been trying to install. It’s a new system, so it’s really tough on them. I just think that their approach has just been positive, keep it upbeat. Fail forward. We make mistakes, we learn from our mistakes, and we get better every day,” he said.

As the team continues to become more familiar with the playbook, Crunden is hopeful that the confidence the team gained from this past season will carry over into the fall.

“One of the ways is with the underclassmen. We have a huge junior class this year, huge. And many of them were big time role players last year. So, it’s been nice to kind of see them transition up. It’s been an easy transition as far as on the field. And it’s been pretty smooth so far.”

Among that giant junior class is Justin Bennett.

After getting a taste of varsity life last year, and how difficult that is playing in Section IV, Bennett feels confident that the team can handle the challenging schedule once again this year.

“I think, luckily for us, we have a very tough schedule in the beginning. So, we can take that on and grow with it. And we just keep getting better and better each game. Take each game at a time. Don’t focus on the whole season itself,” he says.

As for senior Larry Pierce, he knows how important it is for a young team to get out to a strong start.

“We’re a younger team. We have a small graduating class, I think only 4. We’re going to, hopefully, turn over our new season. Start stronger.”

So, if everything comes together for Vestal this season, what can we expect to see?

“Some just good old fashioned football. We’d like to take the game out on the field and take it to whatever team we’re playing. Do the best we can on those stripes. Just be happy to be playing the game we love. And compete, and compete at a high level,” Coach Jim Crunden said.

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