NEWARK VALLEY (WBNG) - Newark Valley football breezed through the regular season and Section IV playoffs unbeaten. In fact, the Cardinals haven't lost since 2015. Now, Newark Valley turns its attention to the rest of New York as the Cardinals quest to repeat as Class C State Champions begins in regionals on Saturday.
"Feels like the season is just starting now," said Newark Valley senior running back/defensive back Tyler Beebe.
It's time for the state playoffs, exactly what the Newark Valley Cardinals have been preparing for all season.
"Playoffs, I mean one-and-done," said Newark Valley sophomore running back/defensive back Caden Bennett. "Every team we play now is going to be good."
"We're ready to take on the tournament," said Beebe.
Awaiting them in regionals, Skaneateles, the Section III champs, with a high-powered spread offense.
"Playing Oneonta and Sidney really helps us with our defensive schemes," said Bennett.
It's human nature to want to knock off the defending champs, especially when that team has won 23 straight games.
"If I was the other teams, I'd want to be the team to beat the streak," said Bennett.
"Everyone is shooting for the best team, trying to take us out," said Beebe. "That fuels us during practice every day."
Instead of traveling to Cicero-North Syracuse like the Cardinals did last year, Saturday's regional is a short drive to Union-Endicott High School.
"Last year, I feel like when we got off the bus, everyone was a little tense," said Beebe. "Now, we are so close to home that it's more like just another game."
"I think of it as a home-field advantage because it's so close to us," said Newark Valley senior running back/linebacker Hunter Hoffmier.
Newark Valley knows Cardinal Nation will be there cheering them on.
"Our town really gets excited about all this," said Hoffmier.
"We've had amazing fans," said Beebe. "Our community is so into the football program, and they fuel us just as much as winning a state championship fuels us."
Kickoff between Newark Valley and Skaneateles is set for Saturday at 11 a.m. at Ty Cobb Stadium.