We could very well see a Baldwinsville-F-M semifinal, which would be tremendous. The Hornets actually own the top seed, sits at 7-0 and faces Liverpool, just seven days following their odd head-to-head regular-season finale. F-M won what amounted to a dress rehearsal, 31-7, with all the usual things (timely passing, diverse ground game, hard-hitting defense) present in what amounted to a dress rehearsal. Expect the Warriors to be tougher in the rematch, but closing the gap might prove too much.
Those other AA games are nice - but seeing Rome Free Academy take on Utica Proctor in the playoffs is beyond special. The state's longest rivalry, pitting RFA's power against Proctor's speed, includes a Sept. 10 classic where the Raiders held on 24-21. Whether it's as close again depends on if the Black Knights can establish that physical ground game and keep Jordan Treen, Richard Pete and company from springing those big plays they love so much.
As we start to examine Class A, we wonder whether Indian River, in the course of getting bashed by Carthage 32-14, played 48 minutes of possum, knowing its first-place spot and home playoff game was secure. The answer will start to arrive Friday, when Mexico, at 2-5 carrying the worst record of any of the playoff teams, brings its ground game into the north country, needing long possessions to keep the Warriors ' explosive running attack from piling up points.
With ESM, the problem is never the regular season, as it again put together a smooth 5-2 mark behind the multiple talents of Tyler Johnson. It's always been about the playoffs with these Spartans, but without New Hartford to torment them, ESM might feel better about its chances. Watertown, unaccustomed to the playoffs, arrives sky-high, though, and with a flaming-hot back in Tevion Cappe who dropped 391 yards on Camden.