SYRACUSE — Instead of a championship, the Holy Trinity Pride with a capital “P” had to settle for “pride” in lower case on Friday.
The young football program of players from Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons High School in Schenectady and Catholic Central in Troy lost 28-25 to Skaneateles High in the New York State Class C championship game at the Carrier Dome.
A late touchdown in the fourth quarter made the final score close, but Skaneateles held Holy Trinity at bay for most of the game in what was the first state championship appearance for both teams.
Like any big loss, this one was emotional for the team and its fans, but had some added backstory.
The loss closed an 11-2 season that came in the aftermath of a fire that destroyed the team’s fieldhouse and lockerroom adjacent to the football field at Bishop Gibbons a year ago.
A day later, the Pride were trounced in the first-ever playoff game in program history, but they came into 2017 with a goal of winning a state championship, as coach John Barber said to the media during the preseason.
They nearly achieved that.
Despite two spectacular touchdowns by Holy Trinity’s Nacier Hundley, Skaneateles junior quarterback Patrick Hackler proved to be too much.
In the end, after the plaques and awards had been handed out, Barber addressed his players, many of whom were weeping.
“Keep your heads up … when you walk off that field, hold your heads high,” he said, his voice cracking. “I’m proud of what you did.
“I’m proud of what you did.”