Player's Diary #11: Andrew Weininger

Andrew Weininger has led Harrison to a sectional championship victory, advancing to tonight's state quarterfinal battle against New Paltz. Here are Weininger's thoughts heading into the biggest game of his career. This column was written for The Journal News, a Gannett newspaper in Westchester County, NY.

All we've got for three weeks. That is all that Coach Troilo asks of us as individuals and as a team.

Even if we go all the way I can see the end of my high school career in the near future. This is a single elimination tournament - one loss and you're out. I don't want the season to end one second sooner then it has to.

My stomach was churning all day at school before the game last Friday. I believed in my heart that we were better then Edgemont, but I also knew they could play with us. They proved that when it took a last second field goal for us to beat them earlier in the season.

It was the first time that we had played on a Friday night this season. Playing on a Friday is a lot different. The school periods seemed to take forever and it was impossible to concentrate. All I could think about was the game.

The different scenarios played through my mind continuously throughout the day. I would think about the disappointment and horrible feeling of a loss, but also how great it would be to win.

As I saw my teammates in school they all seemed to share the same feelings. They were scared to death that this could possibly be their last game and would do whatever it takes to win the game.

We all had that uneasy feeling. But I kind of like that feeling, you know that it's a big game if you have that feeling in the pit of your stomach. We boarded the bus for Mahopac at 5:30. The ride just like the entire day seemed to take forever. I just stared at the flashing motorcycle lights of our police escort.

We got to Mahopac at about 6:45 PM and went in to one of the gyms to put our pads on. Finally, after all the waiting, it was time to go out and warm-up. But, the Class D championship was going into overtime, and we would have to wait longer for that game to finish.

Finally, the Class D game ended and Coach Troilo returned to the gym and told everyone to get ready. We put on our pads, tucked in our jerseys and buckled our helmets. Dressed in our all-maroon uniforms, we gathered by the door, everyone itching to get out of the stuffy gym and on to the field.

When everyone was set we emerged through the gym and made the short walk to the field. You could feel the electricity in the air as the bleachers quickly filled up. This was the section championship, one team was going home and the other was moving on.

I knew if we played a good game as a team that we would be in very good shape. But, my stomach was still churning as it got closer to kickoff time.

Just like in the earlier game against Edgemont barely a month ago, they got off to a fast start. They took the ball and drove right down the field.Our defense couldn't stop them. They ate up almost eight minutes off the clock and scored a touchdown. Most teams would be flustered falling behind early. But we have been in this situation so many times that it doesn't faze us.

We all have the utmost confidence in our coaching staff and we know that they will figure out what the other team is doing to hurt us by the second or third series. The coaches made a few adjustments to our defense because Edgemont had done some things on the first series a little different then we had expected.

A critical point in the game came early when we forced Edgemont to go three and out after we turned the ball over on downs on our first possession. After our defense looked so bad on Edgemont's first possession, we looked like a brick wall after that. We held 1,000-yard rushers Ben Bernstein and Jake Wittenburg to under 150 yards combined.

Even though we didn't score on our first possession we knew that they weren't going to be able to stop us. It seems that we have a different star running back every week. Last week Luigi Rogliano, our leading rusher, had 150 yards and two touchdowns against Rye. This week Rudy Arcara was the star. He rushed for more than 200 yards and three touchdowns including one of the most spectacular broken field runs you're ever going to see.

Our goal all season long has been to win the State Championship, but you can't do that without first winning the section championship. We won the section title. Now our goal is to beat New Paltz next Friday in the state quarterfinals.

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