Most high school students spent Thanksgiving week far away from all things school related, but the McQuaid football team spent each day working towards this season’s main goal, bringing home the program’s first ever state title.
“The mindset has just been work hard in practice and play well during the game,” said senior running back Andrew Passero. “We’re focused and ready to go.”
McQuaid will play Section I’s New Rochelle in the Class AA state championship game one day earlier than expected, Saturday night at 8 p.m. in the Carrier Dome, instead of the original Sunday afternoon kickoff.
“Playing in the Dome for a state championship, that’s what you dream of as a kid,” said quarterback Joe Cairns.
The undefeated Knights have taken the responsibility of making school history very seriously; they even practiced on Thanksgiving as family watched on and Christmas music played.
“We’ve wanted to do this since the first day of football freshman year,” said Passero.
“It’s something I think these kids will look forward to for a really long time,” said head coach Bobby Bates. “We have a lot to be thankful for.”
Players and coaches alike agree the team’s chemistry is unlike anything the program has ever experienced, and a huge reason for the team’s success in 2019.
“Every year a new team comes into you and you don’t know where that season is going to lead,” said Bates. “They all just came together from day one.”
The number one is a constant in the McQuaid football program. Each player has a decal with the number one on the side symbolizing one team playing for one greater purpose.
“Everybody plays for each other on this team,” said Cairns. “You play for the love of the guy behind you, not the hate of the guy in front of you.”
Now, they have the chance to accomplish their goal on the biggest stage in New York.
“It’s neat that they want that and they use that as their motto,” said Bates. “That’s how they play, as one, that’s the mission.”