2023 Preseason Playbook: Tioga Tigers
TIOGA CENTER, N.Y. (WBNG) - Tioga football has been a dynasty for over a decade. The program has won 11 of the past 12 Section 4 Class D championships and now back-to-back state titles. In fact, the last time this team lost a game was over two years ago, back in April 2021
“The first year we won, that’s when we had a bunch of seniors and all of us were sophomores. Those guys were the leaders for us and they showed us what needed to be done to get there. Last year we put into the work to get there and we’re just trying to repeat that this year,” said Tioga senior quarterback/strong safety Caden Bellis.
The Tigers are looking to keep that streak alive. The team only lost 3 seniors and brought back 13 this season.
“Working with each other since flag football we’ve been with each other the whole way. We’re all great friends and family. We’re just pushing each other to be better,” explained Tioga senior running back/linebacker Drew Macumber.
With that amount of upperclassmen, this team has remained committed to the course.
“It’s great. We’ve been coming up since we were six years old the same group of kids and we’ve been working hard since then. Our coaches were telling us that we were going to be here winning state championships if we put in the work and that’s what we’ve been doing,” said Bellis.
“Any year you look at your seniors as your leaders and that’s what they’ve been this year. They’ve had great success but that’s in the past. You’re really looking for them to lead your program and set the example, to have a good year as seniors but also set the example for the guys that are behind them and that’s what you want out of them,” added Tioga head coach Nick Aiello.
Much like last year, this offense will look a little different than Tioga teams of the past. A lot of their experience comes at the skill positions, including QB and wide receiver, allowing the Tigers to air things out.
“You got to take advantage of what you have. We have a really good skillset right now and we’re just looking to spread the ball around. Once you get into a game you just take what’s there. That’s always been our approach,” said Aiello.
Now the season is starting and this group knows what it takes to go for the three-peat.
“Just living with no regrets. Coming out here every day knowing that I only have a couple left. Every practice I’m going to look forward to. Next year I don’t want to be thinking I could’ve worked harder in that practice. So just no regrets for these practices,” said Bellis.
These seniors want to leave this program just as they found it.
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