SYRACUSE, NY – As we put a bow on another fantastic high school football season, it was one for the record books for Section IV.
With three teams claiming victory inside the Carrier Dome this weekend, it continues to boost the already-impressive resume that Section IV has.
“I think we’re one of the best. I mean, we’ve got three teams that won a state championship. And then, eight-man, Spencer-Van Etten are number one in eight-man. So, I mean, Section IV is really showing out this year,” says C.F. OL/DL Tyler Hayes.
It has definitely been a year to remember after a year to forget for Section IV football.
Heading into 2020, the section had two teams ready to defend a state championship, only to have COVID wipe out their season entirely.
Enter 2021, and another shot at adding to the area’s football legacy.
After a lengthy and grueling season, three Section IV teams, Maine-Endwell, Chenango Forks, and Tioga, all claimed a state championship.
This is the first time in the history of the New York state football tournament that Section IV had three teams win a state title, and is only the fifth time in the tournament’s twenty-eight seasons that three teams from one section won championships in the same year.
“It’s awesome. And I’m really happy for those other two teams. Tioga, they played great all year, thirteen and oh. Maine-Endwell, even though we lost, I’m extremely happy for those guys. I mean, even though we play each other on the field, we’re friends off the field. So, I’m extremely happy for them.”
For players like Tyler Hayes and many others, they are lucky enough to experience this feeling multiple times in their short high school careers.
For others though, like Maine-Endwell’s Michael Mancini, a trip to the Carrier Dome is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and one that needs to be properly taken in.
“I mean, I’ve definitely tried soaking it in. It’s not going to hit me until tomorrow, or not showing up to practice on Monday. But, I’m definitely going to soak this in and cherish this moment,” Mancini said.
Along with the excitement that comes with winning, there can also be some mixed feelings as well.
“It’s sad to have it all over, though, now. I mean, it was great. It was a great game. I’m really happy that we got it done. It was a big crowd. Everybody came out for us. I’m really happy how everything ended,” says Tioga RB/LB Emmett Wood.
And how it all ended for those three teams was bringing a state title back to their respective schools.
For Tioga, that was title number two, for M-E, number six and Forks won their 7th.
That can only be topped by the eight that Aquinas of Section V has.
So, that begs the question, where does Section IV football rank across the state?
“I have to say pretty high. I don’t really know what the facts say in terms of how many we’ve won and stuff like that. But, I would say we’re pretty, we’ve got to be up there,” says C.F. Football Coach Dave Hogan.
And up there they are.
Since 1993, Section IV has won 24 football state championships, good for fourth among all sections.
Section I leads with 29, and a two-way tie for second between Sections V and VI with 25.
But, over the last ten years, no section has more titles than Section IV.
Four leads the charge with fifteen since 2011.
The next closest are Sections II and VI with nine.
So, there’s an argument to be had about who’s the best-of-the-best.
But, in my opinion, give me IV any day.