TIOGA CENTER (WBNG) - From 2011 to 2015 Tioga won five straight Section IV Championships, capped off with the 2015 Class D State Championship. Then 2016 rolled around and the Tigers stumbled back to the rest of the pack. Now, Tiger football is back and in a big way.
The Tioga Tigers have bulldozed their way through Class D this season. But after just three wins all of last year, Tioga came into 2017 a bit under the radar.
"We were the underdogs," said Tioga senior running back/linebacker Trey Floyd. "We know we were going to be the underdogs. Everybody knew we had a bad season the year before. We were just looking to prove everybody wrong."
Safe to say those who slept on Tioga, have been proven wrong. The Tigers are unbeaten in Class D this season.
"This year, the kids just love to come to practice and work as hard as they possible can," said Tioga senior running back/linebacker Max Johnson.
"The difference this year is we all come out to practice every day," said Tioga senior quarterback/linebacker Connor Hutchinson. "Work hard in practice out here on the field and we are willing to put in the work in the classroom with film work."
The work has paid off. In ten games, Tioga has outscored its opponents by 264 points.
"I think we just do the basics very well," said Floyd. "Fundamentals, coach really stresses fundamentals. Tackling, blocking, and I think everybody does that very well."
"I think we execute well because of preparation," said Hutchinson. "Like with the film or we stay after practice a lot, watch film with the coaches. So preparation allows us to execute very well on game day and that's been showing."
Now it's time to remind the rest of the state what Tioga football is all about.
"Running hard, gritty football and three yards a carry," said Floyd.
"Hard-hitting probably," said Hutchinson. "We take pride in going out there and hitting hard and trying to make the other team quit."
"I think Tioga football is just hit hard and, especially with this team, the chemistry between (us)," said Johnson. "How everyone looks next to each other and just knows that they are going to have each other's back and just keep going through the whole game."
Tioga faces Maple Grove in the state semifinals Friday at 4 p.m. at Union-Endicott High School. Winner moves on to the Carrier Dome for the state championship game the day after Thanksgiving.