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Warriors end Auburn reign in AA playoffs

First, the rain let up. Then the reign ended.

Clearly, the Liverpool football team wasn't responsible for the first part. But it was completely responsible to putting an end to Auburn's dreams of another improbable run to a state Class AA championship.

All the Warriors did was venture to the rain-soaked grass of Holland Stadium and take the Maroons apart in the opening round of the Section III Class AA playoffs, forcing five turnovers and pulling off a decisive 34-7 victory.

With the win, Liverpool (5-3) advanced to Friday night's Class AA semifinal against West Genesee (6-2), to be played at Cicero-North Syracuse's Bragman Stadium at 7 p.m.

From beginning to end, the Warriors carried no resemblance to the team that, in the previous two weeks, saw 14-point leads disappear against CNS and Fayetteville-Manlius. Nor did it seem all that bothered by Auburn's perfect 4-0 home mark.

In fact, Liverpool, all season, has been a better team on the road -- something the Maroons (playing without top running back Ismail Brooks) would discover in a full and painful manner.

The defenses ruled until the late stages of the first quarter. There, Liverpool strung together a scoring drive capped off when Tyler Kamide threw a 42-yard pass to T.J. Davis and Dom Caruso ran 10 yards for the first touchdown of the night.

With Caruso pounding the ball up the middle, Liverpool lulled Auburn up to the line of scrimmage, which was exactly what quarterback Tyler Kamide wanted.

Early in the second quarter, with the Maroons expecting another run deep in Warrior territory, Kamide instead threw over them -- and found Mark Sperduti deep. Sperduti covered 81 yards before getting tackled, a back-breaking play that set up Kamide's one-yard TD plunge.

Auburn tried to answer with a long march that included plenty of runs from Matt Hoey, but a fumble ended that march, a symbol of all the turnover trouble the Warriors would cause.

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