November 26, 2021

Homer football looks to continue dream season

Paul Cifonelli/sports editor

Homer senior Logan Peck (26) celebrates with his teammates after scoring a touchdown Saturday in the Carrier Dome.

The Homer football team needs three wins to earn its first state title. The only other time the Trojans were state champions was in 1986, but that team was voted as the top small school in the state by sports writers. The 2021 team wants to earn it. That road continues at 3 p.m. Saturday at Vestal High School.

To do that, Homer will have to get through Maine-Endwell, the No. 3 team in the New York State Sportswriters Association poll. Homer sits at No. 1 among all Class B teams in the same poll.

Maine-Endwell sits at 9-1 and has scored 345 points this season while only allowing 99. Their only loss was to Class A Union-Endicott.

The Trojans and Spartans most recently met in the 2014 regional finals, with Maine-Endwell coming away with a 27-10 victory to halt Homer’s perfect season. The matchup looks very similar this time, with Homer coming in an unbeaten 9-0, and the Trojans want to avoid a repeat of the 2014 game.

“I remember the varsity team playing Maine-Endwell back in the day and how upset I was that they lost,” senior Will Dady said. “Hearing everything about Maine-Endwell throughout the years, winning the Little League World Series, we know that they’re going to be tough. We’re just excited to play such a good opponent.”

Homer’s defense, which was stout most of the year, had a tough game in the Section III Class B semifinal against Vernon-Verona-Sherrill. Those problems were corrected in the Class B title game last Saturday against New Hartford, with the Trojans forcing four turnovers. Now, senior Jake Calabro and the defense know they need to keep that going to pull out a victory.

“Our defense was struggling there for a couple games, but we really stepped up,” Calabro said. “We put in some new things on defense and I think that’s really going to work and we’re going to step up again this week.”

With the Class B West title and Section III title already in tow, it could be easy for the Trojans to look ahead to winning the state title. However, Homer has been doing things as they have all season in preparation for the regional final.

“One thing everyone’s been thinking all week is we’ve got to keep everything the same,” junior Sam Sorenson said. “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it. Everybody’s buckled down, just like the past nine weeks, and is just working hard and trying to get better.”

With two teams of this caliber set to meet, not a whole lot is different talent-wise. Homer head coach Gary Podsiedlik thinks there will be many keys to success Saturday.

“Special teams are always a huge factor,” Podsiedlik said. “That third of the game, if a team can outperform the opponent, sets you up for a victory. Turnovers — the team that’s plus in turnovers always has a better chance to win the football game. Outside of that, both teams will face adversity. We’re going to see the other team make a big play or we’re going to make a mistake. The team that reacts best to that negative thing, that mistake, is almost always the team that wins the game.”