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ESM, J-D surge into playoffs with big wins

Fast finishes to the regular season give both the East Syracuse-Minoa and Jamesville-DeWitt football team a reason to think that it could make some serious noise in the upcoming Section III Class A playoffs.

The Spartans clinched a first-round home game on Friday when Tyler Johnson accounted for six touchdowns - four on the ground, two through the air - in a 49-20 victory over the Mexico Tigers at ESM Stadium.

Meanwhile, in Oswego, the Red Rams, who started 0-4, notched its third consecutive victory as it gave up the first points of the night at Oswego, then dominated the rest of the game in a 46-6 drubbing of the Buccaneers.

ESM knew, going into its game, that first place in the Class A American division was out of reach thanks to Cortland's 30-22 win over Mexico last Saturday. Still, second place could be attained - and thanks to Johnson and his offensive mates, the Spartans went out and got it against Mexico, ignoring the brutal conditions to record its highest point total of the season and improve its mark to 5-2.

Patient at the start, the Spartans had just one scoring drive in the first quarter, Johnson capping it off with a one-yard touchdown plunge as Jeff McDuffie handled the two-point conversion and ESM seized an 8-0 lead.

Mexico briefly cut the margin to 8-6 on Ray Eastman's 10-yard TD run early in the second quarter, but ESM countered with a pair of scoring drives, mostly staying on the ground. McDuffie converted from three yards out and, after Johnson scored again from the one, he hit Buddy Frigon on a two-point pass, expanding the Spartans' lead to 22-6 going into halftime.

But it really got settled in the third quarter, thanks to 20 unanswered points. From midfield, the Tigers expected another run - but Johnson instead threw deep and found Bobby Campese for a 50-yard TD pass. As if that wasn't enough, on the Spartans' next drive Johnson again found Campese in the end zone from 27 yards out, and he capped the period with a two-yard scoring run that made it 42-6.

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