Nov 23, 2010 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Jacob Brown is, at best, a peripheral figure in American military history. He did most of his work in the War of 1812, a conflict that made the likes of Andrew Jackson, William Henry Harrison and Oliver Perry (he of “We have met the enemy and they are ours) instant heroes.
Among Brown’s important feats was turning back a British force that sailed across Lake Ontario, attempting to take the port of Sackets Harbor on May 29, 1813. For that, he earned the eternal gratitude of residents in that area and, some generations later, the school district in the village of Dexter chose to name itself in his honor – using his military title.
Thus, General Brown – which brings us to the football portion of the program.
Three Section III teams ventured west to Rochester’s Marina Auto Stadium for last weekend’s state semifinals. Only the Lions came back with a chance to win it all in the Carrier Dome on Thanksgiving weekend.
GB’s Class C semifinal against the Fredonia Hillbillies (my, what a nickname to deal with) was, for nearly three quarters, a complete standoff, one defensive stop after another. Then two Fredonia turnovers led to two Lion touchdowns, the latter of them a Kyle Scordo interception returned for six early in the fourth quarter.
Fredonia cut it to 13-7, only to muff a punt that set up another GB score. From there, the Lions held on, winning 20-14 as the Hillbillies’ last attempt to pull even fell a few yards short.
Never in the 18-year history of the state football playoffs has a team from the Frontier League played for the big prize. So you can bet a large portion of north-country partisans, and not just those in gold and blue, will be ready Sunday at the Dome when GB faces Bronxville, who lost last year’s title game to Southwestern and bashed Saranac Lake 42-14 in the other semifinal.
Bronxville is trying to grab its third state championship of the fall, joining girls cross country and soccer teams (the latter of which beat Marcellus in its final). That’s a lot of gold-plated plaques for the Broncos of Westchester County, which already has a rather high income bracket. Maybe General Brown can pull it off, which would be quite ironic, given that it would come the year after Steve Fisher retired and handed the coaching reins to Tom Frears.
As to what happened to Whitesboro and Baldwinsville….well, what happened was equally rough encounters with Rochester-area football machines as, for the second year in a row, they fell two steps short of the gridiron summit.
For the Warriors, that meant a rude greeting from Aquinas, who followed up its dethroning of two-time state champion Sweet Home by outclassing Whitesboro 35-12 in the Class A semifinal. Mixing speed with the power running of Mike Messina (133 yards on 23 carries), the not-so-Little Irish exploited every Warrior mistake, leading from start to finish.
Then Aquinas got even better news from Kingston, where Burnt Hills, favored to get back to the finals again after trips in 2008 and ’09, was stunned by Harrison 17-7, unable to convert several key fourth downs when the game was still even. Can Harrison pull off another shocker Friday against the Irish?
Baldwinsville was convinced that this state Class AA semifinal, against Rush-Henrietta, would be different than the North Tonawanda debacle of a year earlier. They were healthy, at full strength, had Tyler Rouse ready to tear it up, and he even scored on a 65-yard sprint up the middle in the game’s first two minutes.
Then came Ashton Broyld. Way, way too much of Ashton Broyld.
The 6-4, 235-pound wonder from Rush-Henrietta buried the Bees in a 55-28 avalanche that included a state-record 606 total yards. Working without a huddle, Broyld threw for 300 yards, ran for 136 more and displayed all the tools (poise, great arm, patience, ridiculous moves for someone that size) that ought to make any college salivate. He certainly put the Bees away.
And once Troy had rallied late to beat New Rochelle in Kingston, it meant that the Flying Horses and Royal Comets will gather Sunday in the Dome for the AA title. Troy has knocked off some big names (Monroe-Woodbury in the regionals before New Rochelle), but it’s doubtful they have faced anyone as dominant as Broyld.
As for the other finals, it will be Tuckahoe meeting Caledonia-Mumford on Friday to settle the Class D crown and, on Sunday, Hornell looking for back-to-back championships in Class B against Schalmont, a first-time finalist.
There’s a pretty good chance the games in the Dome might prove more entertaining than driving around a full mall parking lot in search of a parking space, so go check them out. And who knows – you might learn something about the War of 1812, too.