Basking in a one-point win over Norwich last Saturday, Greene returns to its division schedule tonight against Newark Valley as the lone area team at home this weekend.
Trojans head coach, Tim Paske, said he wouldn’t want to make trips up to Class B a regular occurrence, but in recent years, his team has not fared badly. Greene is 4-0 in its last four matchups against Class B opposition with victories over Oneonta, Whitney Point, and of course the Purple Tornado.
“After the loss to Unatego, we wanted to refocus and show we still belonged (among the best teams),” Paske said. “Norwich is solid and will continue to be solid. They were more physical than Unatego and their backs run hard. As long as they held the ball on offense, to keep them 90 yards under there season was good for us.”
Norwich finished with a respectable 238 yards on the ground, but it needed that elusive extra yard at the end to pull out the win. Greene stopped a fourth-and-goal from the two-yard line to preserve a one-point win. Chris Engler hit Norwich back Mike Moon high, D.J. Beckwith got to Moon low, and Justin Van Wert rocketed in to finish off the tackle a yard short of paydirt. It was a perfect example on defense, Paske said, of his team’s philosophy. “We have 11 guys out there on defense, and I want them all to have the mentality of ‘run the ball at me,’” Paske said. “We had three other guys get to the pile on that last play against Norwich. We want everyone in relentless pursuit of the football.”
Sizing up that finish with Norwich and having four-plus years of games to draw upon, Paske rates that moment among the most dramatic. “The first time beating Unatego at their place (2005), there was another big defensive play at the end of that game,” he said. “Those two (Norwich, Unatego) have been big wins, but never before did we have to make a play at the end of the game where ‘this is it.’”
Second-year Sherburne-Earlville coach Mickey James told us this week that the Marauders will likely move back to Class C competition next season. Playing in Class B the past three seasons, S-E will be joined by division rivals Ilion and Clinton in the move down. Enrollment numbers will decline at Sherburne-Earlville next year and New York State is bumping up the basement Class B enrollment number, James said. “I’d like to stay in Class B,” James offered upon hearing the news. “I want to beat some of these schools we’ve been playing.” James also mentioned a stark difference in his team from last year – the one that went 0-8 – and the one this year that is off to a 2-1 start including last week’s thrilling 21-20 overtime win over A-P-W. “That’s a game we wouldn’t have won last year,” James said. “Our mental toughness showed in the overtime period, and that’s a big difference over last year. Several times we’ve had our backs against the goal line and buckled down. As coaches, it would make it easier for us if they buckled down everywhere.”