At so many different times this season, the West Genesee football team could have stopped what it was doing, and it would have been just fine. A winning record and a playoff berth were both cause enough for celebration.
So how can anyone explain, or understand, the Wildcats' incredible ride to the 2007 state Class AA championship? As far as improbable tales ago, it ranks right next to Auburn's fairy tale of a season ago, in that absolutely no one saw it coming.
WG had not won even a Section III title since 1988, before anyone on the current team was born. A succession of coaches and players had come and gone since that point, finding nothing but frustration as football receded to the shadows long cast by lacrosse and other sports that boomed in Camillus.
Given all that negative history, most folks yawned when, in 2005, Steve Bush took over as the Wildcats' head coach.
Bush had just served as an assistant at Syracuse University, so it was figured that, with the college experience he brought to the table, Bush would bring enough improvement to make WG a regular playoff visitor. Anything beyond that was never even contemplated.
In Bush's first season, WG went 5-4, which was nice improvement. But after the Wildcats slipped to 3-6 in 2006, there was even less reason to think that the team would ever win its long bout with mediocrity.
Yet the players that returned for the 2007 season continued to believe in what Bush and his coaching were teaching. What's more, a solid core of talented players started to mesh together into a strong, cohesive unit.
As with any great team, it started in the trenches. Three seniors -- Ben Wysokowski, Steve Pooler and Tony Pedrotti -- anchored the offensive line, with juniors Craig Simmons and Stefan Cavedine filling out the other starting spots.