ENDICOTT, NY – This past weekend saw multiple high school football games featuring two-state ranked opponents playing one another.
The best, however, was #20 Union-Endicott’s 8-0 win over then #1 Maine-Endwell.
In the wake of that win, Tigers Head Coach Tommy Baleno was recognized with a big honor from an NFL franchise.
The New York Giants, and partner Gatorade, named Baleno their Week 5 Lou Rettino High School Coach of the Week.
It is awarded to New York and New Jersey coaches who not only perform on the sidelines, but those that are involved with youth football and the community.
Along with recognition from the Giants, the winner also receives $2,000 for their program.
Baleno says it came as a big surprise when he learned he had won.
“It was kind of a shock because I never even heard of this before. So, I just had, the athletic director, he just walked in and he said I need to speak with you and your staff. At first, I was like, man, we might be getting in trouble, I don’t know. So, the acting A.D. is a great person. So, I think he did that on purpose,” he said.
Baleno says they’re still working out what they’ll be using the money for within the program.
However, Baleno knows that this wouldn’t have been possible without his staff, and of course, his players, who did their jobs on the field against M-E, and each game day this season.
“The best thing that I like about this team is really the love they have for each other. They really play for each other. They spend time together with football, in school, outside of school and activities. So, they just really play for one another, care for one another. I think that kind of chemistry and that unity kind of sets us up for success, especially when we have to play against hard-fought opponents,” says Baleno.
The next opponent up for U-E is Ithaca for their Homecoming Game.
The Tigers put their undefeated record on the line against the Little Red this Saturday at 2, complete with their homecoming orange jerseys.