Home at last, football Warriors start again

Two themes have continually emerged during Dave Mancuso's tenure as head coach of the Liverpool football team -- and both have nagged at the Warriors' faithful.

Ever since Mancuso took over in 2006, Liverpool has enjoyed consistent success in the regular season, only to get knocked out in the Section III Class AA playoffs, including three straight exits in the semifinals.

The frustration only grew in 2009, when the Warriors again emerged as a title contender, but saw star running back Greg Bell sidelined by a late-season injury and, in the opening round of the AA playoffs, fell again, this time in a wild 40-36 classic to Henninger.

Lingering over all these proceedings was the other theme that ate at Liverpool -- namely, its inability to play on its own campus.

Ever since the condemnation of the high school's turf field in 2007, the Warriors have played two seasons on the road, its "home" games at sites ranging from Central Square to Solvay to last year's stint in the Carrier Dome.

Finally, a new turf field is in place. And when Liverpool hosts defending Class AA champion Baldwinsville on Sept. 17, it will be the team's first true home game in 35 months.

"It's right to have a home field, and for the kids to have a true home-game atmosphere," Mancuso said. "For them, it's the experience of a lifetime, and it may give us a bit of an edge. They just can't wait (to play on it)."

As if to add to the anticipation, the team wasn't allowed on the turf until last Thursday, two days before a scrimmage against Utica Proctor, so the team practiced on the adjacent grass fields. Mancuso said most of the players, and parents, kept on asking when they could get to work on the new field - and now that part of the wait is over.

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