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Warriors have finals in mind for '09

Still working without the convenience of a home field, the Liverpool football team managed to work out a deal where all four of its home games will be played in the Carrier Dome.

And if the Warriors have its way, there will be at least one more trip to the Dome, when it counts the most -- in November.

Three straight times, from 2006 to 2008, Liverpool has reached the Section III Class AA finals. Each of those times, they got beat, one win short of playing for a title.

From getting shut out 30-0 by Rome Free Academy in '06, to getting beat by West Genesee each of the last two years, including a painful 41-34, double-overtime loss a season ago, the frustration has only grown.

Now it's 2009. Is it finally the Warriors' time to win it all -- or at least get a chance to do so?

"We're really close to being an excellent team," head coach Dave Mancuso said. "This is a good group of players, and they have high expectations for themselves."

And this remains true even though quarterback Tyler Kamide is now at West Point. While Kamide started the last two years, Cam Jones waited his turn. Now, as a senior, Jones gets to start, with a full knowledge of Liverpool's offense and, according to Mancuso, a better ability to throw the deep ball than Kamide.

Certainly Jones doesn't need to run much -- not with Greg Bell around, anyway. At 5-10 and 222 pounds, Bell combines power with speed and is one of Section III's top running prospects, heavily courted by colleges. Despite his size, Bell still runs a 40-yard dash in 4.6 seconds, and with Mike Donitzen or Paris Stenson clearing the way at fullback, he has the ability to dominate.

"He's one of the best kids I've ever coached," Mancuso said.

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