A 10th consecutive football victory over Vestal will be in Union-Endicott’s crosshairs when the teams collide in Section 4’s Class A championship game. Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. Friday at U-E.
The section’s lone Class A football programs met in Week 5, with the Tigers coming from a two-touchdown third-quarter hole to win their first game of the season, 18-12.
Either The Golden Bears (4-4) or Tigers (2-6) will emerge to face fifth-ranked Indian River (9-0) or No. 24 East Syracuse-Minoa (6-3) in a state quarterfinal, 8 p.m. Nov. 14 at Cicero-North Syracuse High School.
Union-Endicott comes into the final off back-to-back losses. Vestal dropped three of four leading to the title game, but comes in with a full complement of personnel save for senior do-it-all Justin Dennis, who sustained a season-ending ankle injury in Week 2.
Each squad had an open date last week.
In the Oct. 4 regular-season game, Vestal took a 12-0 lead into halftime intermission before things went decidedly south— as has been a troubling second-half pattern for the Bears this season.
“U-E, they don’t quit. They got a little momentum and we just seemed to shut down,” said Vestal coach Tank Anderson. “We shut them out the first half and then we couldn’t stop them in the second half. … It’s been a point of emphasis this week in practice.”
U-E outrushed the Bears that night by 296-134, with Heze Morgan’s seven carries going for 104 yards and the winning TD with 7 minutes, 52 seconds remaining. Vestal’s passing game generated 37 yards in that game on two completions in 12 attempts.
Friday’s game will be played at U-E despite Vestal being the higher seed. Anderson said he expressed displeasure with that decision and requested an alternate venue, to no avail. Section 4’s Football Handbook states that, “Sites will not be moved based on who is in the finals,” though the Class AA game pitting Elmira against Corning was prudently moved to Waverly from U-E.
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