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Bees rally past Union-Endicott in AA regional

A new week, a new opponent, a new challenge to face and milestone to clear -- all of it is becoming commonplace for the Baldwinsville football team.

Down by two touchdowns early in last Saturday's Class AA regional final against Union-Endicott at Vestal High School, the Bees turned it around by halftime and kept on adding up points until it had registered a 49-34 victory over the Tigers.

This sends B'ville (11-0) into its first-ever AA state semifinal, to be played at Rochester's Marina Auto Stadium Saturday night at 6 p.m. against North Tonawanda, who is also 11-0. The winner plays New Rochelle or Saratoga Springs in the state title game Nov. 29 in the Carrier Dome.

As has been the case all season, the Bees rode the running of Malik Burks to victory. Though his 36 carries did not quite match the 43 he had against CBA in the sectional AA final, Burks picked up 317 yards, plus four touchdowns.

Most importantly, Burks and his powerful running helped B'ville overcome a potentially disastrous start.

The first time Section IV champion Union-Endicott had the ball, it moved 64 yards in eight plays against the Bees' defense, mostly through the runs of Rutgers-bound senior Jordan Thomas, who finished the drive with a three-yard touchdown run.

When B'ville couldn't move the ball, U-E forced a punt -- then gave it right back to Thomas, who broke loose for a 54-yard TD run.

Just like that, the Bees trailed, 14-0, but this was nothing new. B'ville had fallen behind in each of its last two playoff games (against CBA and Corcoran), but had turned things around. This would prove no different.

Unleashing its patented draw play on its next drive, the Bees saw Burks go 55 yards near the Tigers' goal line, and before U-E could recover, fullback Parker Kiff drove through the line 19 yards for his team's first touchdown.

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