TROY – It's the time of the year when everyone is talking football, whether it is high school football, college football, or the NFL. While, the season is just starting for many its playoff time for a local football team that just completed their second straight undefeated regular season.
The Troy Fighting Irish Amateur Football team is heading into a semi final matchup against Glove Cities on Saturday. The winner of that game will advance to the Northeast Football Alliance Championship game the following week.
The team, which is made up of amateur players, many of whom played high school and college football in the capital region, won the NFA Championship and advanced to the AFNT AAA Championship game where they fell to the Carolina Eagles 22–12 last season.
Now, the team is motivated more than ever to get back to that game, and change those results.
"We just try to stay one step ahead," said Fighting Irish Fullback, and Albany High School graduate Bryan Sheldon. When practice is over, mentally we're still here practicing, we're still doing extra work, we just do that extra on top of what everybody else has done,"
The team lost just one regular season game in three years since Pete Porcelli, former Lansingburgh High School head football coach, took the job as the coach of the Fighting Irish.
"He brought a winning attitude, winning atmosphere to the team and we all bought into it," said Offensive Lineman, and Catholic High School graduate Tom Buchanan.
The key to the winning atmosphere is to have a strong sense of unity and camaraderie according to Porcelli.
"Not a lot of guys have left our team so our team is basically the same," said the coach. "We always have the core group of players but each year we were able to add a few more players and we're just blessed to have a team like this right now."
That team means a lot to guys like Buchanan and Sheldon who say they eagerly await practice on Tuesdays and Thursday so they can get on the field again and do what they love.
"You got all that built up stuff during the day from work and family life, you come here and for 2 hours you are not even thinking about anything else except football and the guy to your right and left," said Buchanan.
The Fighting Irish are hoping that their dedication on the practice field will lead to a victory on Saturday against Glove Cities, and a victory in the championship game the following week.
"Just play Irish Football, no one can beat us except us, so as long as we play our game we'll be playing next week for the championship on our home field," Buchanan stated.
Regardless of the results in the playoffs the team has been invited to play in the National Championship game in Daytona Beach in January. However, Procelli said their goal is to be NFA Champions again first, before they even think about Florida.