Nov 21, 2009 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Reaching the ultimate destination – a state championship game – was the only thing the Baldwinsville football team could not quite pull off in its magical 2009 season.
The Bees lost, 28-7, to North Tonawanda Saturday night at Marina Auto Stadium in Rochester, never recovering from a first quarter spent without the man primarily responsible for getting B’ville there.
Malik Burks sat out that period for what head coach Carl Sanfilippo described as a violation of team rules.
Without Burks to add to his 2,785 yards on the ground accumulated in the Bees’ 11-0 start, B’ville could not get on the board against a quick, aggressive North Tonawanda defense.
On the defensive side, the Bees missed Burks, too, as the Lumberjacks bolted out 14-0 and would never get caught. Still, Sanfilippo said the temporary absence of Burks did not completely lead to his team’s defeat.
“We have no excuses to offer,” he said. “They (North Tonawanda) was better.
Indeed, NT, the Section VI champions who made it to its first-ever state final, started to prove its worth when the Bees tried to score on the game’s opening drive.
Using Parker Kiff and Ben Paprocki in the backfield, B’ville drove to the Lumberjacks’ 35-yard line. But on fourth down, Casey Colligan rolled out – and NT’s Sean McDonough sacked him.
From there, the Lumberjacks moved 65 yards to the game’s initial score. From the Bees’ 28, quarterback Mike Tuzzo threw a quick pass to the wing, and Joe Montesanti took it straight up the middle, through an unoccupied secondary, for the game’s first touchdown.
Barely two minutes later, Montesanti struck again, this time taking a handoff at his own 29 and speeding left, past the entire Bees’ defense, to the end zone for a 71-yard TD run.
Finally, Burks entered early in the second quarter, but he could not put together the consistent big runs that he had enjoyed all season, NT’s defenders fighting past the Bees’ vaunted offensive line to make all kinds of key stops.
Meanwhile, the Lumberjacks continued to add to its margin. Tom Sell made a spectacular 28-yard run to the end zone, breaking tackles and, at least once, spinning and jumping over a B’ville defender.
As the half wound down, B’ville moved into NT territory and tried again to get on the board.
Instead, when Colligan tried a screen pass with 31 seconds in the half, McDonough stepped in front, made the interception at the 50, and ran it back for a touchdown to make it 28-0.
Staring at that kind of a halftime deficit, B’ville did not sulk too much. Instead, it pitched a second-half shutout, and even put together a 52-yard scoring drive, Burks scoring on a two-yard run after his own 31-yard sprint set it up.
“We calmed down in the second half and played better,” Sanfilippo said.
Burks, despite that missed playing time, still finished with 175 yards on 28 carries. His 2,960 yards for the season shattered the previous school record and is, as of now, the fifth-best single-season mark in state history.
North Tonawanda advanced to face New Rochelle (who rallied past Saratoga Springs) in next Sunday’s AA state final at the Carrier Dome. The Lumberjacks have outscored its 12 foes by a combined 477-107.
And the 100th season of Baldwinsville football ended at 11-1. From start to finish, it proved memorable, as the Bees ended a 20-year sectional championship drought in Sanfilippo’s 25th season at the helm.
Now Burks leaves, as does other standouts like Niko Manning, Jed Clouston, Ben Messmer, Mike Guinta, Tom Lawrence, Raeshaun Jones and Curtis Stanard.
A lot of talent returns for 2010, though. The likes of Colligan, Kiff, Paprocki, Tyler Rouse, Steve Mitchell, Ryland Jennings, Mark Stanard, Matt Moreland, Nick Robinson, Nate Stoughtenger and Jake Margery gives B’ville fans lots of reason to think that the 101st season of Bees football might prove memorable, too.