VESTAL (WBNG) - 12 Sports' Game of the Week features two of the biggest rivals in Section IV football, the Vestal Golden Bears and the Union-Endicott Tigers. Both teams enter Friday night's showdown playing some of their best football so far this season.
"This is the biggest one," said Vestal senior offensive guard/linebacker Max Barr. "They ended our season last year. They are 5-0, ranked in the state. This is the big one. We're all fired up."
Section IV football doesn't get much better than when the Golden Bears and Tigers faceoff, just take last year for example.
"My favorite moment was the game-winning two-point conversion that we had," said Barr. "Then we all dogpiled after. That is my favorite football memory in my whole career so far."
"The 4th-and-19, and then the two-point conversion to get out of Ty Cobb Stadium alive was probably one of the most exciting moments, not only of the rivalry, but our season overall," said Vestal Head Coach Marty Fisher.
Vestal couldn't make it two-for-two against U-E last season however, falling in the Section IV Championship game.
"Definitely gives us a ton of motivation," said Vestal senior offensive guard/defensive tackle Hunter Vanca. "It left a sour taste in all of our mouths after the game."
This year, the Golden Bears are 4-1 with 70 points scored and just 12 points against in their last two games.
"First two games, we played very good teams," said Barr. "Two big schools from Syracuse. That was actually good for us because it showed our mistakes. We were able to correct everything, and then once we got in our section, we've been rolling."
"We've got a great mesh between all of our players," said Vanca. "The chemistry has just been there all year."
Standing in their way, U-E's standout quarterback Devon Hogan and the 5-0 Tigers.
"One thing we cannot let happen is, we can't just have one guy there tackling him," said Fisher. "We need to have multiple guys coming from their angles of pursuit to bring him down. He's a long, strong athlete. Very agile. Tough kid. Their leader and we'll need a full effort to get him to the ground."
Both games in 2016 were played at Ty Cobb Stadium, so the VTown Den is sure to be fired up Friday night.
"Extremely excited," said Vanca. "Any home game is huge for us, but we are just going to come out and play our game like we do every week."
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Friday night at Dick Hoover Stadium.