written by TJM

campThe Wildcats entered Friday night’s section 4 football championship game a team that appeared by all accounts poised to give Maine-Endwell a run for the section four championship. Certainly, there is no shortage of tough-nosed athletes amongst the Wildcat ranks and while numbers and demographics have been dramatically altered over the decades since the 80’s hay-day of section 4 football, there is no less enthusiasm in the hearts of the JC faithful. Still, what was only a fifteen point “something to think about” spread in their first meeting with M-E, turned into a bit more of the old “let’s do what we can to keep the margin of our defeat to less than 30” in Friday night’s game.

While Johnson City was able to earn at least one small victory on the night, being defeated by only a 25 point spread, the all too familiar trophy ceremony at the close of the contest saw for the 6th consecutive season, accolades and hardware awarded to the Spartans of Maine-Endwell. M-E, despite suffering a slew of early penalties, were a well-balanced and handsomely tuned unit more characteristic of the team we’ve all become used to watching over the years. As has been true of pretty much every other championship season, the Spartans have dealt with their share of adversity which has presented itself in many forms, yet they have still found a way to place a perfect version of themselves on the field during the state playoffs. In 2015, Maine-Endwell continues to make adjustments, searching for that magical mix of talent and grit that might help them safely through to yet another New York State title.

The measure of Maine-Endwell’s preparedness will be tested early as they’ll enter the ring next week opposite section 3’s most recent champions, the Whitesboro Warriors. Whitesboro did a pretty nice job of dismantling East Syracuse Minoa, formerly the number one team in section 3, to earn themselves a shot at Maine-Endwell in the 2015 regional quarterfinal. Having defeated the Spartans in their last meeting, a 2010 regional quarterfinal in Syracuse, you can be most certainly guaranteed that while most of the players on either team will have only faded recollections of that cold night in 2010, it is all that Coach Matt Gallagher (M-E) and Coach Tom Schoen (Whitesboro) will be thinking about for at least the next five days.

It’s been a long time since M-E has felt the sting of a loss, much less a loss in the state playoffs, but while it was Whitesboro that issued the Spartans their last defeat, they will be dealing with a vastly different Spartan football program on Friday evening. Besides the obvious string of 61 victories and four back-to-back state championships, Maine-Endwell will enter Friday night’s game running an option offense that they’ve been perfecting since losing to the Warriors all those years ago. Having matured into a triple threat offense that takes full advantage of its speed and athletic ability, even the finest defensive counters have struggled against Maine-Endwell in game-time situations. That said, Whitesboro has navigated its way through a pretty tough cast of characters to earn a meeting with the Spartans, defeating both the sections number one ranked team (ESM) last week and dispatching the reigning class A New York State champs (Indian River) the week before. Whitesboro runs a mix of offensive looks setting up in a traditional shotgun and then shifting to a pistol formation. In the shotgun, running backs Mike Cirasuolo (48) and Darnae Camp (6) line up evenly to the left and right of quarterback Donte Filletti (10). In this look, the Warriors will mostly run a Darnae Camp off-tackle or off-end run where he’s especially good at hunting a pecking for seams. Switching back to a pistol formation with only Cirasuolo lining up behind Filletti, Whitesboro reserves the option to run a traditional dive, or send Cirasuolo into the flat for a screen pass. Either way, Whitesboro makes a steady plan of slashing off-tackle to setup the short gain pass and have become quite adept at finding extra yards doing so. Despite appearing a bit slow on the delivery, Filletti has seen his share of success passing the football. In the Indian River game, Filletti hooked up with receivers to throw for nearly 80 yards and two touchdowns. His favorite targets are receivers Matt Parkinson (44) and Nate Salisbury (3).

Maine-Endwell has completed another season unscathed and appears to have secured a good deal of depth in nearly all facets of their squad. With nearly all of their original starters restored to health and ready to play on Friday night, Whitesboro will most certainly be required to step lively. The Warriors will travel to Alumni stadium and meet Maine-Endwell for a 5:00pm start.

December 2017
26 27 28 29 30 1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31 1 2 3 4 5 6
M-E M-E 8 0 1.000 8 372 115
M-E 47
J.C. 16
M-E 40
U-E 8
M-E 28