Oct 16, 2006 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
They are still alive.
And for that, the Cicero-North Syracuse football team can thank junior running back Laquan James, whose career performance helped the Northstars come from behind last Friday night to beat Baldwinsville, 37-27, at Pelcher-Arcaro Stadium.
That victory, combined with Auburn’s loss to CBA and Liverpool’s epochal double-overtime win over Corcoran, put CNS in a three-way tie for third place with the Maroons and Cougars, all with 3-3 league marks.
Based on the tie-breaker of first-half point differential, Corcoran came out in front, with CNS second. That means both teams were in the playoffs, and Auburn, despite a winning record (4-3), was out.
Going in, CNS knew the math. Whatever else might take place, the Northstars had to subdue the winless (0-6) Bees, or its playoff chances were gone, and Auburn and Corcoran would back into the tournament.
And the opposition was fired up. Determined to play the role of spoiler, B’ville welcomed back quarterback Jeremy Boltus from missing three games with an injury, and his presence seemed to give the rest of the team a jolt of confidence.
Combine that with some early CNS struggles, and the Bees took a 13-3 lead to halftime, Mitch Collins getting both of B’ville’s touchdowns on short runs to counter Jamie Praino’s 21-yard field goal.
Desperate for a spark, the Northstars got it when it started forcing turnovers in the third quarter, leading to a run of 21 unanswered points.
At first, Greg Larioni got the Northstars into the end zone, finding Jeff Falvey on a 25-yard TD completion. Then, James took over.
From his own 30-yard line, James took a handoff, then sped right through the B’ville defenders and was never caught, a 70-yard touchdown dash that put the Northstars ahead for good.
By the end of the third quarter, James had scored again, on a six-yard run, and CNS had a 24-13 lead.
B’ville refused to go away. Boltus hit Evan Twombly on a 54-yard TD strike, but James was red-hot, and he ran 40 yards for his third TD to make it 31-21.
After the Bees cut it to three on Boltus’ seven-yard TD run, James capped off his memorable night by again breaking loose and going 50 yards for his fourth TD.
All told, James carried the ball 16 times, piling up a career-high 219 yards. Larioni was seven-for-14 for 112 yards.
CNS now will make the trip east to play AA-2 league co-champion Rome Free Academy in the first round of the Class AA playoffs Friday night at 7:30.
Seeking a return to its past glory, the Black Knights went 6-1 this fall, its only blemish a 14-3 loss to Fayetteville-Manlius on Oct. 6. If the Northstars can pass this test at RFA Stadium, it will meet Liverpool or Utica Proctor in next weekend’s AA semifinals.