“Great moments are born from great opportunity.”
– Herb Brooks, 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Coach.
That’s exactly what the York/Pavilion football team has in front of them Friday night when they take on Canisteo-Greenwood for the Section V Class D championship and the right to advance to next week’s Far West Regionals against the Section VI champ.
This is an incredible opportunity for the Golden Knights.
Let’s be honest for a second.
Seven weeks ago, York/Pavilion was picking themselves off the field following their 41-6 blowout loss to Oakfield-Alabama/Elba during Week Two of the regular season.
That same night, an opportunity came knocking when O-A/E QB Bode Hyde went down with a season-ending injury, that catapulted three teams to the front of the Class D pack – York/Pavilion, Avon and Canisteo-Greenwood.
Hyde’s loss crushed any chance of the Aggies repeating their sectional title. He was that valuable!
Unfortunately, injuries are a part of football, they just are – some teams stay healthy, some teams don’t – and in small school football – if your best player goes down to a season-ending injury there’s a good chance you will be sitting home in the post-season.
With a healthy Bode Hyde, O-A/E was probably a lock for the Class D crown, not gonna lie.
But he’s not, and here we are with York/Pavilion and Canisteo-Greenwood playing for all the Class D marbles.
These types of opportunities may happen once in a lifetime, and York/Pavilion and Canisteo-Greenwood will be knocking heads and banging helmets at SUNY Brockport to hold that elusive sectional block.
These teams are basically two, evenly matched football programs. They are similar in so many ways, offensively, defensively and special teams, a mirrored image of one another.
Y/P is 8-1 on the season while the Chargers are 7-2.
The Golden Knights defeated visiting C-G 13-12 back on Sept. 22. One point. Amazing.
It’s been 12,057 days (1990) since York last won a sectional football crown.
It has been 33 years since names like Andy Englert, Mike Harvey, Bill Mistretta, Jeff Colaizzi, Bob Smith, Rocco Dragani, Kevin Laursen, Rich Lyness, Lynn Pullyblank, Brian Semmel, Bill Romasser, Kyle Semmel, Bob Holbrook, Rich Rizzo, Neil Frood, Tad Rowley, Eric Dickerson, Chris Finch, Kevin House, Mike Duke, Lee Blum, John Basar, Chris Shepard, Shawn Falkner, Jim Argenna, and Dana Baron signed that championship football for head coach Dan Caraher.
Back when York last won a sectional title the cost of a gallon of gas was $1.15, a gallon of milk was just over two bucks and a loaf of bread was 86 cents.
Times have changed.
That’s why winning a sectional football title is “elusive.” It doesn’t happen all the time, like it did for Le Roy and Cal-Mum back in those years.
While at Livonia, my son Brody’s team won four sectional baseball titles, but he told me he would trade three of them for just one sectional football championship. The only title he wouldn’t trade for a sectional football block was the 2017 NYS Class B crown, for obvious reasons. But, truthfully, he would probably think about it.
Winning a Section V football title is the pinnacle. The top of the list. Numero Uno.
Football is different, it just is. Winning a sectional football title is priority number one for any high school team program. Not basketball, not baseball, not soccer, not softball, not cross-country, not track – FOOTBALL. It stands alone.
It’s the granddaddy of all sectional blocks.
When I walk down a school hallway. and I see all the athletic achievements, I immediately look for the football blocks. Some have a few, others have one or maybe two, and several others are still looking for their first. Those blocks are very rare to find.
That’s why they are so precious. They don’t just hand them out to whoever chooses to play hard that night, THEY ARE EARNED, ON THE FOOTBALL FIELD.
Many of these York/Pavilion kids grew up playing CYFL together for the Junior and Senior Knights.
The kids, parents, and grandparents, along with the youth coaches, used to talk and dream about someday playing for the Section V title.
Youth sports create many opportunities to dream of winning the high school championship.
For York/Pavilion and those two communities, that dream becomes a reality Friday night.
They could play this game against Canisteo-Greenwood 100 times and each team would win 50. These two teams are that even!
But, here’s why I am picking the Golden Knights.
There’s something special about this year’s team.
Maybe it’s their never-say-die attitude that caught my attention.
Even when Notre Dame, back in Week One, was getting after them for three straight quarters, Y/P, somehow found a way to get the dub when Parker Bonefede’s 60-yard bomb to Joe Bauer sparked the victory. Lesser teams would’ve hung their heads and not fought back. Not Y/P.
Instead, these Golden Knights decided to scratch and claw to pull out the win. ND didn’t hand that game to Y/P, the Golden Knights simply took it from them!
It was that exact moment when you knew there was something a little magical about these boys in purple and gold.
Since opening night, I have been a huge believer in these Knights and I will be pulling hard Friday night for KPO to start up those firetrucks to run throughout the valley with sirens blasting. In fact, I think they should run that victory firetruck parade throughout Livingston and Wyoming County until those trucks run out of gas! Keep those sirens blasting until every single person wakes up and cheers that team on!
It’s that kind of title waiting to happen.
Opportunity is definitely knocking on York/Pavilion’s door.
The time is now to grab that opportunity and don’t let go until you have that sectional block in hand.
It’s time, KPO time!
Go take it!
– Chris Metcalf, LCAA’s Finest