SYRACUSE N.Y. - Losing hurts. It’s hurts when you’re old, and it hurts when you’re young. When you’re up by seven and just under seven minutes away from a state title, it hurts a little more.
Still, the kids from West Seneca East who went on an incredible run to even make it to the Carrier Dome for Friday’s New York State Class A championship game have many reasons to be proud. They fell to Class 9 Cornwall 21-14, but it was only their second loss of the season. The only other defeat came at the hands of rival West Seneca West on October 12, a defeat they later avenged by ending the Indians season at New Era Field in the state playoffs.
“I think when you sit back and look at the body of work that those guys put together was tremendous," said East Head Coach, Jim Maurino. "Every week it seemed like the team we were facing was undefeated or ranked third in the state, so we just kept lining them up and we rose to the challenge week in and week out. We just came up a little short today.”
It probably didn't help that as East took the field, they passed by the other team from Western New York that made the trip, busy celebrating their first state title. Class D CSP only became a team four years ago, but former crosstown rivals from the tiny Chautauqua County towns of Clymer and Sherman and the village of Panama who grew up playing against each other embraced, victorious as one.
“It’s absolutely surreal," said CSP Head Coach, Ty Harper, searching for the words. "I’m so proud of the kids and I’m happy for everybody in all three of those communities. We’ve worked so hard for this moment. To think that we were a newly-merged program just four years ago and now we’re going to walk off the field at the Carrier Dome as state champions, it’s something that you dream about.”
Junior Quarterback Gerrit Hinsdale, who completed 14 of 26 passes against Section 7 Moriah for 240 yards and 2 touchdowns, agreed. “This is a huge accomplishment for the entire community, all three communities," he said. "This is the first time that’s ever won a state title. This is all dedicated to them. It’s all for them.”
These two teams, despite differing outcomes, both bring home with them something very special: the bond that they all now share from a Friday afternoon in Central New York.