BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — It’s a really good time to be a Maritime/Health Sciences Falcon right about now.
“It feels good man, a lot of teams in Buffalo are not even playing anymore and they’re out here watching us,” junior running back Maurice Vaughn said. “I just want to put on for my team and go out there and represent.”
In just their second year playing high school football, the Falcons are headed to the Class B state semifinals this week after taking down Livonia 40-29 in the Far West Regional on Saturday.
“I’m living the dream. I’m very excited for our guys, our guys are very excited and happy to have the opportunity to play at the Bills Stadium, then Brockport College, now to go to Syracuse to play in the championship semifinals,” head coach Ty Parker said. “I don’t even know what to say honestly. I’m just happy for our program and our school.”
“It’s a good feeling, it’s a real good feeling,” junior lineman Darnell Gray said. “Final four, that’s good. Coming from 2-6 to 10-1, that’s good for us.”
“It’s surreal. There was always talk about it at the beginning of the season but this is the goal,” sophomore lineman David Wright said. “Now that goal has become a reality, it’s just surreal. It’s crazy.”
With the football team being comprised of students from both Maritime and Health Sciences Charter schools, it could be tough to get the players to fully buy into playing alongside guys that they compete against in every other sport. But the Falcons have completely bought in and are one cohesive team.
“We did a lot of team bonding, we went out to eat, we spend a lot of time with each other, just to get them to know each other as people,” Coach Parker said. “I think if you know your teammate as a person and you have love for them as a person, then you’re going to play for them on the field. We just had to bond and come together.”
“That’s been a thing that I’ve been preaching to them the whole season. Play for each other versus playing for yourself.”
All of that bonding has translated to the Falcons’ success on the field.
“This year we’re a little bit more connected, we do more stuff this year than we did last year, we went to Old Country buffet thanks to coach, we just do a lot more stuff together so we made a good bond this year. When we’re on the field we play like brothers,” Vaughn said.
“I knew we had the talent, but I didn’t know how it would work with two different schools,” Wright said. “It’s really hard to make that work, two teams gelling together. Before this year I never knew the boys from Health Sciences, I didn’t even know Health Sciences existed.”
“To make this connection with all the boys on the team, that was something really big that’s hard for other teams to do, even if it’s just one school. To be able to do that with two schools is really big,” Wright said. “To be honest, I didn’t know how well it was going to work at the beginning of the season, so to see how it has worked, it’s crazy.”
“We’ve been through this together. Part of that journey was going 2-6 last year, we took our lumps, but we took them together. That’s what I’ve been preaching,” Coach Parker said. “We’re going to win, we’re going to lose, we’re going to do everything together as a team versus as individuals.”
Maritime/Health Sciences will play in their first ever State Semifinal game on Saturday when they travel up to Syracuse to take on Chenango Forks. Kickoff is set for 3 pm.