AMHERST, N.Y.-Another year and it's another Sweet Home Section VI championship. No matter how many times it happens it doesn't get any less sweet.
"The most important thing was the way the kids felt after the game," says Head Coach John Faller. "From modified to freshman to JV to varsity they see what's up ahead of them and they kind of emulate that and look forward to accomplishing the same thing when their time comes." "It was really exciting, I got so emotional at the end," says running back Khalil Humphrey. "I personally played a good game and it's just too much."
"This year it almost felt better because I feel like we have a more complete team this year than we did last year," says junior offensive tackle John Navarro.
Sweet Home has been the team to beat in Class A in Western New York since 2007, winning six straight Section VI championships and posting an astounding 60-game winning streak against WNY opponents. Now they look to get past the Far West Regionals for the first time since 2009.
"I think it's something we want to get by, we've lost the last two against Aquinas," says Coach Faller. "Right now I think we're playing on all cylinders."
Some might think it's a relief for Sweet Home not to have to play Aquinas, who switched to Class AA this year and will be playing Orchard Park. Aquinas is the only team that has beaten Sweet Home since 2008. On the other hand Eastridge, the Class A Section V champions, will prove to be a tough challenge for the Panthers. Both teams are undefeated and Eastridge is a very physical team.
"They're just a big ground and pound team," says Humphrey. "(I) just got to hit the hole faster so they don't have a chance to get on me." "They look really strong," says Navarro. "They look like a challenge." "When it comes down to it you don't go 10-0 in Rochester without having talent," says Coach Faller.
Sweet Home knows that they aren't just playing for themselves this Friday. They are playing to represent all of Western New York. After defeating West Seneca East 28-7 this past Friday night, the Trojans had some words of encouragement for the Panthers. What were they telling the Sweet Home team that had just defeated them? "To go out there and win states," says Navarro. "So that's our goal. That's what we're trying to do."
"They made it known that we have to go there and represent Section VI," says Humphrey. "Dick Gallagher says it all the time as well, we have to go up there and represent Section VI."
Sweet Home looks to make West Seneca East and all of Section VI proud as they take on Eastridge this Friday at 8 p.m. at All High Stadium. You can watch all the Far West Regionals via live stream right here on wny.highschoolsports.net with Stu Boyar and Jonah Javad handling the play by play and Dick Gallagher handling the color commentary and analysis.