TOWN OF UNION - The Maine-Endwell football team owns five state championships, most recently in 2014. Last season though, a young Spartan team failed to make it out of sectionals. Heading into the 2017 season, Maine-Endwell looks to build toward a return to the state players and is using the phase 'honor and legacy' as an added reminder.
"It means carry what the past tradition of the team," said Maine-Endwell senior wide receiver/cornerback Tyree Brodley.
"You have to honor the game, and yourself, and your team, and work together," said Maine-Endwell junior quarterback/cornerback Joseph Mancini.
"We want to make sure that these guys understand what Maine-Endwell football has been for a long time," said Maine-Endwell head coach Matt Gallagher. "And to honor the past, but at the same time, it's time to create your own legacy."
For the 2017 Spartans, that time is now. For a team looking for a bounce-back season, Maine-Endwell is relying on each other.
"Just to stick together as a team," said Mancini. "No matter if it goes our way, if it's going the other teams way, just to stick together."
"I think that's been one of our strong points, the chemistry of our guys, and the fact that they just love playing on the same field together," said Gallagher.
To get back into the state playoffs, it starts up front.
"Our line is looking really good," said Brodley. "They are blocking real well. They are quick off the ball, explosive."
A little extra experience returning never hurts either.
"A lot of our young guys got a lot of playing time last year so, we're coming back a lot more experienced than we have been," said Gallagher.
One person not returning this season, former defensive coordinator Gary Crooks who retired from coaching.
"Crooksy is just awesome to have around," said Gallagher. "Whether it's just to be around him, and his experience, and his knowledge of football. We're not going to replace that. We're not trying to."
"We are going to miss him a lot," said Mancini. "But, Coach Titus is coming in and he has a lot of football experience as well."
So you can expect to see the same type of hard hittin', helmet splittin', teeth grittin', Spartan intensity that you've come to expect from Maine-Endwell.
"I'm really pumped up that football is back, so it's great to be on the field with a bunch of guys that we are going to become a family this season," said Mancini.
While a state championship is always the goal in Spartan country, no one is looking past the week one Saturday night showdown with Chenango Forks.
"We couldn't ask for any better of a game," said Brodley. "We can't wait. Everyone in the room is excited."
"Hogey is excited about it," said Gallagher. "We are excited about it over here and there's going to be two teams ready to play football come the second."
The week one matchup between Forks and M-E is set for 7 p.m. Saturday, September 2 at Maine-Endwell High School.
12 Sports Preseason Playbook series takes a break for the DICK'S Open. Monday it will return with the Vestal Golden Bears.