VESTAL (WBNG) -- In Vestal's first year under head coach Marty Fisher the Golden Bears finished 6-3. A season marred by a loss to rival Union-Endicott in the Section IV championship game. But year two under Fisher already seems different.
"I believe everyone remembers exactly what happened in that game," senior lineman Hunter Vanca said regarding last year's 16-12 loss to the Tigers.
"We left it on the goal line twice," added head coach Marty Fisher. "So, it was there, and we didn't finish."
But last year has been finished for quite some time.
That four-point Section IV championship loss to rival U-E has become a motivating factor for the 2017 Vestal Golden Bears.
"That [loss] is what drives this team in the offseason," said senior lineman and middle linebacker Max Barr. "I actually wrote 'Beat U-E' on a piece of paper, and I put it on my ceiling above my bed, so it reminds me every night before I go to bed."
Fisher loses 23 seniors from last season, including Logan Wiland, Zach Kintner and Robby Rea.
So the second-year head coach is looking for new leaders to emerge this season.
"You really don't replace guys like that," said Fisher. "But when I look at leadership and going into a new year, I'm looking for this team to establish their own identity."
An identity backed by burning hot speed.
"All three of our starting running backs are fast," said senior quarterback Matt Carr. "I don't want to say who I think is the fastest because anybody on any given play could break one for a touchdown."
Carr is talking about the trio of Matt Thrasher, Devon Brown and Adam Mieczkowski.
Three speedy backs, who will certainly balance out Carr's strong arm, and all of whom we'll get to see week one at the Dome.
"One thing we've been saying all year is that we're going to play our first game in the Dome and our last game in the Dome," Barr said.
"Obviously, it'd be nice to start in the Dome and end in the Dome," Carr added.
But before the speedy Golden Bears jump ahead to November.
"We're just going to come out and win one game every week," said Vanca. "One game at a time. That's the only way you can get there."
That "one week at a time" mentality kicks off Saturday, September 2nd in the Carrier Dome at 5 p.m. against Utica Proctor.