ALEXANDER — Homecoming 2022 proved extra special for Tim Sawyer.
In front of a sizeable hometown crowd, Sawyer’s Trojans earned their leader the 100th victory of the long-standing Alexander head coach’s career, throttling visiting South Seneca, 50-0, on Friday night.
Alexander powered their way to a victory over the Falcons, scoring 22 first-quarter points to jump out to a big lead, from which they never looked back. Trenton Woods threw three touchdown passes to lead the first-quarter charge. Alexander’s defense pitched the shutout while not allowing a single first down to be gained by the SS offense. An interception from Ben Merrill, a safety and fumble recovery from Cole Dean and sacks from Jaden Snyder, Bryce Feldman, Christian Kissell and Woods propelled Alexander’s defensive effort.
“Coming off a bye week (last week), we were very ready to play against someone other than ourselves,” said Sawyer of his team’s winning performance. “We’ve been able to address areas in need of improvement along the way. It was Homecoming week, and this week at school, and as a coach, you always wonder if the athletes will be distracted and maybe not perform very well. We answered that question.”
The Trojans (3-0) now look ahead to a matchup with rival Notre Dame in Week 5.
“It’s quite special to me,” said Sawyer on his 100th career win. “It hasn’t always been smooth sailing. It’s taken 18-plus seasons to get to this point. It definitely makes me reflect a little bit this past week about the journey. I’ve coached a lot of good young athletes, and of course, I get to work with some great coaches.”
Sawyer’s high school football coaching career began a long time ago, in 1992, when he served as an assistant coach while student-teaching at Iroquois High School under then-head coach Scott Rolo. The following season, Sawyer took a year away from the gridiron to complete his master’s degree at Cortland State University. In 1994, Sawyer moved to Alaska, where he secured a teaching job and immediately joined the coaching staff at Palmer High School as a varsity assistant.
During his time at Palmer, Sawyer worked under head coach Rod Christiansen, who has since become the all-time winningest high school football coach in Alaska.
“The Palmer teams were very good,” said Sawyer. “We competed with the biggest high schools in the state from out of Anchorage and Fairbanks. We won a State Championship in 1995. That was the first-ever for a school outside of Anchorage or Fairbanks.”
From Palmer, Sawyer returned to New York to Orchard Park High School where he took a teaching job in 1999 while remaining around the game. But the following year, he made a move that would define the next 20-plus years of his life when he transitioned to a position at Alexander High School, where it just so happened the Trojans were in search of a new head football coach.
Sawyer became Alexander’s head coach in the fall of 2000 and remained in that role until the ‘07 season, following which he stepped away for a four-year stretch in order to start a family. During his time away from the Trojans’ program, the head coaching position served as a revolving door before Sawyer stepped back into the role to begin the ‘12 campaign. Alexander finished that season 2-6, which brought Sawyer’s career head-coaching record to a paltry 24-42 over his first eight seasons at the helm of the Trojans program.
“It was a struggle,” recalled Sawyer of his first eight seasons as head coach. “But we survived.”
Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Sawyer’s program began to find its stride the following year, when it completed the ‘13 campaign 7-2, then rolled to 5-3 and 6-3 finishes during the ‘14 and ‘15 seasons, respectively. That three-season stretch set the stage for what was to come next — a golden age of Trojans football.
To conclude the ‘16 season, Alexander won its first Section V Football championship in program history, defeating perennial powerhouse Clyde-Savannah 19-6 in the Class D title game. The Golden Eagles avenged the loss to the Trojans in the title game the following season, then, in ‘18, Alexander again reached the mountain top, defeating York/Pavilion, 37-0, for the championship. Fast forward three seasons later, and an incredible streak of five straight trips to the sectional title game came to a close with a loss to Avon in the ‘21 Class D semifinal. From ‘13-’21, Alexander compiled a record of 68-17.
After a 3-0 start to the ‘22 campaign, Sawyer’s career record sits at 100-63, with two sectional championships to his record. Another highlight for Sawyer throughout a long coaching career was when he was named the head coach for the West team in last year’s Eddie Meath All-Star game. The West team won 13-7, defeating the East squad for the first time in 17 years.
Alexander is a championship contender once again this season, joining GLOW region rival Oakfield-Alabama/Elba atop the pack in Class D.