CARTHAGE, N.Y. (WWNY) - One year ago Friday, two north country football teams found themselves at the Carrier Dome playing for the State High School Football Championships.
The first team to take the field was the Carthage Comets as they met Cornwall for the State Class A championship.
It would be a see-saw affair throughout but the Comets would fall to Cornwall 30-27 in their first ever appearance in the title game.
”Even though we came up 3 points short, you know, just the fact that they had gotten themselves to that point and had the opportunity to play for a state championship. You know, be playing on Thanksgiving weekend was something that I have never been a part of before,” said Carthage Football Coach Jason Coffman.
Coffman says being the first Comets Football Coach to take his team to a state title game was special, but was a testament to the type of program that both his father, Terry, and Sam Millich built at Carthage.
”I know that my dad and Sam both coached excellent teams and they had teams that were a play away from going to the state championships themselves. Last year it just came together for us,” said Coffman.
One thing that stands out to Coffman about last year’s team is how talented the players were. Especially the senior class led by All-State running back Fombo Azah.
”You know, I think about it all the time. I’ve watched the Cornwall game, I’ve watched the Canandaigua game, I’ve watched the highlight film about, like I said, at least 100 times this year, and we just had such great kids, you know, that senior class was unbelievable,” said Coffman.
The next north country team that took the field at the Dome was the Gouverneur Wildcats who also appeared in their first ever State Football Championship.
The Wildcats squared off against Susquehanna Valley in the State Class C title game.
The Wildcats would see their 11 game win streak come to an end as they fell to Susquehanna Valley 22-0, ending their most successful season ever at 11-1.
”We were happy. We wanted to win, we were happy being there, winning would have been icing on the cake, but the experience alone and the road to get there was unbelievable and the community support was great. We really miss it,” said Gouverneur Football Coach Sean Devlin.
Devlin says he’s not sure what made this Wildcat team so special, but feels the team came together at the right time and made a run that neither he or the rest of the members of the team will ever forget.
”I’m not sure what made it so special. I mean, I just think we gelled at the right time, we started playing well. I mean we’ve had bigger teams and we’ve had teams that have been almost as fast as us, but we were very good. We were very fast last year, and I think physically and athletically that’s one of the reasons why we got to where we were,” said Devlin.
If there’s one thing Devlin says he took away from last season’s run to the Dome, it’s to maintain confidence, but not be overconfident.
”Never think you’re out of a game and never think you’re gonna win a game because the last couple games, you know, the final 8 and the final 4 game, there was moments in your mind it’s like ‘Man, I don’t know if we can come back and win this game’ or ‘I don’t know if we can keep the lead against this very good team’ and we did. So never, you know, put the cart before the horse if you will, and never assume you’re not gonna win your league, never assume you’re not gonna make the Dome because of the kids you have, because you just never know,” said Devlin.
Watch the video above to see highlights.
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