Now let's fast-forward to Sunday's Class AA final. Turns out that Baldwinsville and CBA didn't need a full field of mud to grind it out, as points proved precious and everything came down to one strong right leg.
Just 21 seconds left, and the Brothers are down 16-14. Out of time-outs, Tyler Hamblin has drove his team to the Bees' 25, but can get no closer, leaving Riley Dixon to try a 42-yard field goal. Talk about pressure - make this low-percentage kick, and CBA reigns. Miss, and B'ville repeats.
If you are a Bills fan, you know how this turned out nearly two decades ago in Tampa. Dixon, like the star-crossed Scott Norwood, absolutely belted the ball, adrenaline sending it halfway up the net. And it starts out straight, with Joe Casmaento convinced it's good on one sideline and Carl Sanfilippo unable to even watch on the other sideline.
Alas, it hooked to the right. And everyone in red exhaled.
B'ville had forced four turnovers, but nearly blew a 16-7 lead after the failure to cover a punt led to Evan Adamo's TD return midway through the fourth quarter that set up the final act. Dixon, who had missed an earlier extra point, has absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. He hit a great kick. It just went wide.
The Bees' next task involves playing the Corning Hawks in the AA regionals. Remember Corning East and Corning West? They're now combined, and unbeaten, so B'ville's task (even if Tyler Rouse is back) is considerable if it wants to return to Rochester for the state semifinals against Clarence or Rush-Henrietta.
All the tension of those two finals that came down to the last play should not obscure what the other three champions - Whitesboro, General Brown and Cazenovia - accomplished in the Dome, and they all have reasonable chances to get through the regional round, too.