Back in September, senior Parker Kiff, who had hoped to be the featured running back on the Baldwinsville football team, left the squad when he found out that sophomore Tyler Rouse would get most of the carries.
"I was just hot-headed," Kiff said of his abrupt departure.
Within a few days, Kiff was back on the team - and when Rouse went down with an injury early in Saturday night's Section III Class AA semifinal against Fayetteville-Manlius at Cicero-North Syracuse's Bragman Stadium, Kiff took charge.
The quick, powerful runs of Kiff and his backfield mates, combined with the superb blocking offered once more by B'ville's offensive line, led to a 21-14 victory over the previously unbeaten Hornets, the second time in as many years that the Bees (8-1) have knocked the Hornets out of the post-season.
All told, Kiff had 155 yards on 31 carries, with 20 of those carries coming in the second half as the Bees broke out of a 7-7 tie with a pair of scores, then held off a fierce F-M rally to advance to a sectional finals rematch against Christian Brothers Academy.
Head coach Carl Sanfilippo praised his team's character, saying his players refused to panic when Rouse went to the sidelines at the end of the first quarter, not to return.
At the time, B'ville trailed 7-0, its ground game stifled even with Rouse in the lineup as it had not recorded a first down. F-M had gone ahead thanks to a 58-yard pass from John Wittig to Austin Perez that set up Wittig's own five-yard touchdown run late in the opening period.
Not until the middle of the second quarter did B'ville start to move the ball with regularity. An 18-yard pass from Casey Colligan to Carter Twombly keyed a 50-yard march where Kiff and Ben Paprocki did most of the running. Kiff scored on an eight-yard run, and Mark Stanard's extra point made it 7-7, where it stood until halftime.