All the elements are in place for the Marcellus football team to finally deliver on its promise and enter the championship realm.
A veteran coaching staff, with Joe Goss at the helm for a decade, has steadily built a winning program that makes annual Section III playoff visits. At the same time, an upgrade in facilities, from a weight room to an all-weather artificial turf home field, has boosted participation at both the varsity and JV levels.
In Will Fiacchi, the Mustangs have the most accomplished quarterback in the school's history, at least from a statistical standpoint, with several colleges vying for his services.
Community enthusiasm in Marcellus has never been greater, as evidenced by the thousands that turned up last fall for Mustang home games against rivals Westhill and Skaneateles.
Now all that's left is to go to the top.
For the 2009 edition of the Mustangs, there's plenty to be motivated about, especially after last October's bitter 21-7 defeat at home to Chittenango in the opening round of the Class B playoffs.
"That left a pretty bad taste in our mouths," Goss said. "We just didn't perform (that night)."
And any time there's a lull-- say, during a rainstorm in the first week of practice -- all Goss needs to do is show his players the tape of that Chittenango defeat, to fire them up once again.
So much of the Mustangs' optimism for '09 centers on Fiacchi, in his third year under center. He spent the summer traveling to numerous colleges, including Maine, New Hampshire, Albany and Massachusetts. Ivy League schools have also shown interest in the 6-3, 215-pound senior, by most accounts the area's top quarterback prospect.
Goss said Fiacchi hasn't made a college decision yet, but wants to go somewhere where he gets a chance to play right away. Before that, though, Fiacchi is working on consistent reads of the defenses, each of which is sure to be designed to stop him.