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Fox 40 Goes to Camp: Vestal Golden Bears

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In 2017, the Vestal Golden Bears Football program earned a shot at the Section IV Class A/AA Championship, only to come up short in heartbreaking fashion, losing the Union-Endicott Tigers in the final seconds of the game.

Last season, Vestal finished the regular season with a record of 5-3 (tied with Binghamton) as starting Quarterback Matt Carr finished his senior year. This year, the Golden Bears have to fill the spot left empty by the graduation of Carr. A tough predicament they find themselves in, since no-one else has taken the helm behind center all of last season. 

"We didn't have anybody from 10th, 11th, 12th grade quarterback for us last year, in a game. We're a little inexperienced," said Tony Policare, Vestal Head Coach.

And with Tony Policare taking the reigns as Vestal's newest head coach, the Golden Bears will be asked to change some aspects of the game to better suit the playbook and fill in the open areas, like at Quarterback. One way Vestal can move the ball without a veteran experience at QB, Policare said, is the tried and true formula of the "ground and pound" running game.

"We got to go to our strengths, the running game and do those types of things, be a team effort," said Policare.

Overall, 16 seniors will get the nod to take the field for the 2018 season, most getting the start on both sides of the ball. And with that many returning players fighting for their last season to be a memorable one, fans can bet to see the Vestal tradition live on strongly. According to a few seniors on the team, it's time to know your role...and own it.

"It's hit me like, 'Dang, I may never play football again.' But I'm definitely going to go out there and make this one my best year," said Matt Thrasher, Golden Bears Running Back/Corner Back.

And even Policare is a Golden Bears alumni. He said he remembers his time on and off the field for Vestal, and since being back for the program in March, 2018, he's echoed how important it is for the last season of Golden Bears' seniors.

"We're proud of being a Vestal Golden Bear, what we represent academically and athletically. When I step on this field, I haven't been here in 30 years, it's something special. So, I echo those same sentiments to our players and say, 'Hey, let's make it special."

Policare said what will make the Vestal Golden Bears' season special is accountability. He said he tells his players and his coaches that being accountable for yourself and those around you will make you into a great Vestal teammate, and a better person.

"That's what we're about here at Vestal," said Policare.

Vestal's season begins at Horseheads, Saturday, September 1, 2018. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:30 p.m.