Bees run over RFA, go to playoffs unbeaten

All kinds of history unfolded Friday night in the course of the Baldwinsville football team's 41-21 victory over Rome Free Academy on Friday night at RFA Stadium.

From the Bees' standpoint, the win culminated a 7-0 regular season and an undisputed Class AA-1 division title, which was big enough.

However, the loss by the Black Knights also mattered, because it officially knocked RFA out of the Section III Class AA playoff picture. It's the first time RFA has ever missed the post-season since the current format was instituted in 1979.

Having no sympathy for RFA's plight, B'ville sought to complete its own perfect regular-season run by putting the ball in the hands of its most reliable performer.

Malik Burks greeted the Black Knights' defense with a 64-yard sprint to the end zone early in the first quarter, then added a one-yard plunge minutes later to give the Bees a quick 14-0 edge.

The Black Knights cut it to 14-7 on Kyle Kimball's two-yard TD run late in the first period, but the Bees quickly regained control with two more scoring drives once the second quarter started.

And both times, Burks finished them off, adding TD runs of 11 and four yards on his way to a night where he had 29 carries for 286 yards. Burks has accumulated 1,715 yards and 23 touchdowns this fall.

While all this was going on, B'ville's defense settled in and pounded RFA all over the field. And it expanded upon the 28-7 margin in the third quarter by causing a fumble in the end zone that Niko Manning recovered for a touchdown.

To seal matters in the fourth quarter, Manning returned to throw a 19-yard scoring pass to Tyler Rouse. RFA would land a pair of late TD's, but that came against the Bees' reserves. B'ville kicker Mark Stanard converted five of the six extra points he tried.

For the opening round of the Class AA playoffs next Friday at Pelcher-Arcaro Stadium, B'ville will face Fayetteville-Manlius, a team it beat 49-27 back on Sept. 11.

Game time is 6:30.

In fact, the Hornets started 0-4 before winning two of its last three games, and had to rally past West Genesee 28-21 in overtime just to get into the playoffs. The winner will face Corcoran or Cicero-North Syracuse in next week's semifinal round.

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