What a BIG game! NY All-State quarterbacks lead Tioga County backyard rivalry


By TIM BIRNEY, Valley Sports Report: It’s Tioga Tigers (1-0) at Waverly Wolverines (1-0) set for Friday at 7pm at War Memorial Stadium. The Tigers are coming off a 42-6 rout of Section IX’s Burke Catholic, while the Wolverines rolled over Section V’s Honeoye Falls-Lima, 41-19, in Week Zero.

The first two times these teams met coming off Section IV titles was 2012 and 2016. In 2012, Waverly edged Tioga, 14-8, in a match-up of teams that were both in the state semifinals in 2011. Tioga returned to the state semis, while Waverly dropped a, 28-27, heartbreaker to Chenango Forks in the Class C title game. In 2016, a 5-5 Waverly team rolled to a 44-24 win over a 3-7 Tioga team in Week 10. To this point, it is Tioga coach Nick Aiello’s only losing season.

This game feels different, though. There’s a lot more buzz surrounding the match-up.

Both teams are led by generational talents at QB in Waverly’s Joey Tomasso, who surpassed 6,000 career passing yards, and 1,500 career rushing yards last week, and Tioga’s Caden Bellis, who is the returning Class D “Player of the Year.”

Both QBs have a multitude of weapons at their disposal, and a big and dominant offensive line in front of them. The amount of talent on the field for a Small School football game is mind-blowing.

On the flip side, both teams pride themselves on their defenses, which are almost always among the best in Section IV. Before it’s all said and done in 2023, I’m certain they will be once again.

As Jason Miller told me, “regardless who wins, both teams will be better next week for having played this game.”