CORNING - A 5-1 Corning squad faces its toughest test of the season Friday when it welcomes Liverpool to Memorial Stadium.
The Warriors are a perfect 6-0 and one of those victories is a 22-21 win over Corcoran, the two teams’ only mutual opponent. Corcoran handed Corning its only loss of the season, 47-30. Both of those games were played in Corcoran.
“They’re a great football team,” Corning head coach George Bacalles said. “[Liverpool head] Coach [Dave] Mancuso has a very good system and runs a very good program from the youth level all the way up. They have a good offense and a very good defense. It’s going to be a major challenge on Friday night."
When it comes to the Hawks winning their sixth game, Bacalles is preaching what he has all season as far as keys to a victory.
“[We have to] Finish drives, cause two turnovers and make two big plays on special teams,” Bacalles said.
A big reason for the Warriors’ perfect record has been their defense. Liverpool has not allowed more than 21 points in a game and has only surrendered an average of 11.5 points per game.
The Warriors face a Corning offense that has been explosive for most of the season and has not scored less than 23 points in a game and averages 38.5 ppg.
“The key thing is being able to sustain drives by executing on third down plays especially and possibly fourth down if need be,” said Bacalles. “Just keeping the sticks moving. We're likely not going to be able to break a lot of plays, but hopefully we'll be able to sustain long drives."
Offensively, Liverpool scores a respectable 29 points per game and does most of its damage on the ground. The Warriors have rushed for 1,241 yards as a team and average about five yards per carry.
“We have to play good ol’ fashioned football,”said Bacalles. “Our mighty mights against their bigger guys just simply have to want it.”
Through the air, Liverpool quarterbacks have 515 passing yards with a touchdown and five interceptions.
Corning has two games remaining in its regular season and is tied at the top of the division with Elmira, which is also 5-1. The Hawks face Elmira in their regular season finale next Friday.
While a blockbuster matchup with the Express awaits, Bacalles, as always, isn’t looking ahead.
“The only team we’re playing this week is Liverpool - so that’s our entire focus,” Bacalles said.
The Hawks have already wrapped up a home playoff game against either Binghamton or Horseheads with their win against Horseheads.