CARTHAGE, N.Y. (WWNY) - Four quarters of football are all that stand between the Carthage Comets and their first trip to the state championship game at the Carrier Dome.
On Friday night at Cicero-North Syracuse High School, the Comets square off against Canandaigua Academy in the state Class A football semifinals.
The Comets advanced to the semis with a 38-14 win over Union-Endicott in the regionals last week at Vestal High School.
Comets coach Jason Coffman knows his team faces another tough challenge.
"You know, there's literally only four teams left in the state tournament and those teams have all earned the right to be here, you know, they're all really good," he said. "I haven't looked at anybody on the other side, the only thing I've looked at is Canandaigua because that's the only thing that's standing in our way right now and we really need to make sure we focus on that and hopefully take care of business on Friday night, but every team at this point of the year is really good."
The Comets face a Canandaigua team that beat South Park 24-6 to reach the semis and mirrors Carthage in what they try to do on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball.
"They have a pretty similar offense to us, so we might be able to lock it down," Comets quarterback Nick Cavellier said, "but other than that, they're a pretty good team and tough, so it should be a good game."
"We're just going to have to keep playing the football we've been doing, keep making our adjustments like we do every week," running back Fombo Azah said, "and I think we'll come out with that win."
A win on Friday night would be historic for this storied program, putting the Comets in their first-ever state championship game, but Coffman and the players are focused on this game and trying not to look ahead.
"We always take it one week at a time, but we all know together that if we make it through this week we're gonna be in the state finals and that's just a very exciting feeling to have," Azah said, "but other than that we know that if we look too far ahead, then we're going to get caught and that's not what we want."
"You know, we have been to the state semis before and it didn't go the way we wanted it to go," the coach said. "We aren't thinking about next week at all -- you know, Canandaigua is really good, so are we, and we're going to prepare and we're going to play and we're going to give it our best shot and hopefully things go our way."
Kickoff is set for 8 p.m.
Also heading to the states are the Gouverneur Wildcats.
Thursday’s local scores
Men’s college basketball
Middlebury 89, SUNY Canton 68
Jefferson 66, Herkimer
Women’s college basketball
Herkimer 72, Jefferson 40
NCAA Division 3 volleyball quarterfinal
Emory 3, Clarkson 2