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Section III football playoff preview

Speaking of Camden, it must absolutely kill Carthage to see the struggling Blue Devils in the playoffs ahead of them. Can Camden justify their place by winning at Cortland? Owners of the top seed, the Purple Tigers swept all five Class A American division foes - but that only came after Camden beat them 35-25 back in their better days in September. In many ways, Cortland is defending the entire American division's honor. If they can't win, will anyone?

No, we haven't forgotten about Whitesboro. The defending champion Warriors possess Class A's best defense (it gave up 34 points to Watertown, 36 to everyone else), and will be heavily favored at home against J-D. True, the Red Rams shook off a winless September by winning its last three games and have, in Ahkeen Williams and Curtis Walker, a dangerous duo of skill powers. But this isn't basketball or lacrosse.

So much in Class B was unsettled going into the final weekend - except Cazenovia's B East title. Now 7-0 after dusting off South Jefferson with four Jeff Hopsicker TD passes, the Lakers will meet...the Lakers. Skaneateles made enormous strides in Tim Green's first year in charge, but it was low on gas late in the regular season and, at 3-4, need everything to work well to have a chance at Buckley-Volo Field.

A lot of the signs point toward a Cazenovia-Westhill championship classic. The Warriors, after that loss to Homer, dominated down the stretch as its defense settled into familiar form and R.J. Chester stabilized the ground attack. There's also that Nathan Nigolian guy to worry about. Oneida, a back-door entry after a poor finish to the regular season against rival VVS, draws Westhill in a clash of the last two sectional champions.

In one game, VVS went from playoff doubts to a team everyone else is worried about. Combine the hard running of Collin Way-Dylan Guider with a healthy Tyler Mautner, and it's quite scary. But Homer is not scared of the Red Devils - not after it won at Westhill, and not after a 6-1 season where it ran and passed the ball with equal success. And revenge is on the Trojans' mind after it lost to VVS in this exact same round a year ago.

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