ENDWELL, NY – We’re down to our final preview as three Section IV teams compete for a New York state football championship this weekend.
We’ve heard from both Tioga and Chenango Forks.
Now, it’s time to hear from the team that will be the last from the section to take the field inside the Carrier Dome.
While both Tioga and Forks kick off Friday, the Maine-Endwell Spartans have to wait until Saturday for their chance to bring home a title.
M-E made light work of Western New York Maritime last weekend in the semifinals 41-8.
Now, they will take on Pleasantville of Section I in the championship game.
The Panthers come in 12-0 following a 15-7 semifinal win over Ravena.
The Spartans are an electrifying team, having scored 434 points this season, the second most in all of Section IV.
Their average margin of victory is just shy of thirty points.
However, that also is a testament to their stout defense, which is allowing only nine points per game and has given up double digit points only four times all season.
M-E head coach Matt Gallagher knows that despite Pleasantville only winning their prior two state playoff games by one possession, they aren’t a team to take lightly.
At the same time, Gallagher says there’s no other team he’d rather go into battle with than his Spartans.
“They’re undefeated. They’re in the state finals. So, they’re probably pretty good. We don’t take anyone lightly. We’re just, we’re going to do what we do. If they can come out and stop us, and put some points on the board, that’s a tribute to them because I think offensively, we can put points on the board. And defensively, it’s hard to score on us. But, I know one thing; I’m not going to bet against our guys,” he said.
The spark plug that makes this offensive engine go is quarterback/multi-position talent Michael Mancini.
Last game, Mancini rushed for, threw, and returned a kick for a touchdown, and nearly had a pick-6 as well.
2014 was the last time M-E played for a state championship, the final of their four straight.
That was still two years before Mancini would win the Little League World Series, so this is new territory for him and his teammates.
Despite never having been here before, Mancini is thrilled with the opportunity to bring a state championship back to M-E.
“It feels great to carry on a tradition that’s been going on for quite some time. For the past 4 or 5 years, it hasn’t been a tradition. But, I’m glad that we can bring it back, and I’m glad to be a part of this team,” says Mancini.
The Spartans are eyeing their sixth state championship in program history.
Meanwhile, the Panthers are in search of their second.
Pleasantville last won in 2017 when they knocked off Forks in the dome.
Maine-Endwell and Pleasantville get underway Saturday at noon in the Carrier Dome.