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Saturday, November 16, 2013

 

Road to the Dome: Regional Saturday

The Maine-Endwell Spartans cruised through the regular season and into the playoffs, with their smallest margin of victory coming just last week in the Section Finals, a 35-15 win over Johnson City.  Enter Cazenovia, the #3 ranked team in the State in Class B, and M-E's opponent last year.  It came down to the final minute, but the Spartans survived with a 35-34 win to advance to the state semis.

Aside from the first score of the game, which went to the Lakers, the Spartans never trailed.  They scored back-to-back to go up 14-7 and then both teams traded scores the rest of the way.  The toughest test for Maine-Endwell came with 0:08 on the clock in the 4th quarter.  The Lakers on 4th and goal from the 8, lining up to kick, QB Kevin Hopsicker the placeholder, from two knees, tries to run but is hit.  Referees throw a flag in the direction of a 15-yard facemask, Spartans Head Coach Matt Gallagher wanted Hopsicker ruled down.  Ball moves to the 4 yard line with 0:05 left.  Hopsicker goes back to pass, Spartans flagged for pass interference with no time left on the clock.  With one last play before the quarter, and 4th and goal from the 2, the Lakers go for it and fall just short to end the quarter.

After a Kyle Gallagher fumble on the 1 to start the 4th, the Lakers tie the game at 28 and plenty of football left.  But Kyle would get his redemption, finding little brother Adam from 5 yards out for the eventual game winning score.

But enter the drama, Andrew Vogl scores with 1:12 left to pull Cazenovia within one point.  After both teams call a timeout, the Lakers opt to go for two, and the win.  Hopsicker calls his own number and lunges for the goal line.  The ball comes lose, but the whistles already blew the play dead.  Both teams are celebrating before any official call was made.  Eventually, Hopsicker was ruled down before the ball crossed the plane and the Spartans maintain their one point lead.  Cazenovia with one last chance, goes for the onsides kick, but the Spartans recover and take a knee to secure their 36th straight win.

M-E advances to the State Semis for the 3rd straight year.  Next weekend they play Depew at Rochester's Sahlen Stadium.

In Class C, the Chenango Forks Blue Devils hold off a late surge from General Brown for the 35-18 win.  JC Sweeney and Andrew Ziegenfus connected for two touchdowns through the air.  LJ Watson and Isaiah Zimmer each added one score apiece on the ground.  Watson also found the endzone on a 65 yard punt return.  The Blue Devils advance to the State Semis for the 2nd straight year and they have plenty of unfinished business.

The Forks team has been talking about this next game (and beyond) since training camp.  After losing to Hornell in the State Semis, their entire season has been played with the goal of returning to the Carrier Dome where they have historically had plenty of success.  The Blue Devils, most recently, went back-to-back in 2003 and 2004.

The Blue Devils draw Cleveland Hill in Rochester next weekend.

Finally, in Class AA, possibly the upset of the year, the Elmira Express hold on to defeat Christian Brothers Academy 24-18.  The go-ahead touchdown was scored by Eli Thomas with 2:28 left on the clock.  Rasean Brooks then came up with an interception to tip the scales even more in Elmira's favor.  But CBA had the ball with 53 seconds left but could not convert on 4th down.  From there, it took just a few knees to run out the clock.

An impressive 5-0 weekend sweep for Section IV in the State Quaterfinals.


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