A tackle, and a kick. One saved a championship. The other decided a championship.
Those two single acts stood out as the dramatic centerpieces of last weekend's Section III football finals at the Carrier Dome. The outcomes also proved quite familiar, as three teams repeated from 2009 and the other two returned to what is, for them, familiar territory at the top.
Most of all, though, you had those decisive end-of-game moments that men who are young now will talk about long after they've turned old and stopped wearing helmets. They both eerily resembled two of the most famous moments in Super Bowl history.
In the first of the sectional finals on Friday, Onondaga, in Class D, was doing everything it could to hold off first-time finalist Sandy Creek in a game quite similar to their Oct. 15 encounter. The Tigers had a 14-7 lead, but was watching, in complete agony, as the Comets drove toward its goal line, 17 plays in four and a half minutes.
Seven seconds left, ball on the four-yard line, a title at stake. In moments like this, it's far more difficult to focus and execute, which made what OCS did on the defensive side that much more remarkable.
First, the Tigers blanketed Sandy Creek's receivers, giving Corey Sprague no choice but to run for it. Then Dan Southard, reading the play, grabbed Southard and tackled him two yards short of the end zone as the clock ran out. Think Mike Jones of the Rams grabbing the Titans' Kevin Dyson and stopping him one yard short of the goal line at the end of Super Bowl XXIV.
So it's the sixth OCS sectional title in 10 years, but the first without a superstar back (Mike Hart and Latavius Murray, anyone?) at the helm. Now the Tigers become a major underdog for the regional against Walton, who has flattened past Section III survivors. Silver Creek or Caledonia-Mumford await in Rochester next weekend.