Nov 05, 2011 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
A 12-year wait for the Chittenango football team to climb to the top of the Section III ranks is over.
The Bears gained the Class B championship Saturday in the Carrier Dome, defeating Oneida 35-14, making it two straight years that the Indians lost in the title game.
It was ironic that, for its first sectional title game since 1999, the Bears had to face Oneida – the same team is beat in that long-ago Class A final by a 32-26 margin. Neither team would get close to that point total here.
Chittenango won the early battle of field position, twice moving into Oneida territory in the first quarter. It worked the second time around when, from the Indians’ 36, Devin Phelps threw deep and found Devin Christopher, who sailed into the end zone. Steve Billington’s extra point put the Bears up 7-0.
A 43-yard screen pass from Phelps to Joe Gilona got Chittenango back in scoring position. On the first play of the second period, Phelps, on fourth-and-one from Oneida’s 11, found Gilona, who raced his way to the corner of the end zone, and the Bears had a 13-0 edge.
The blocking of linemen Nathan Fox, Jon Guignard, Aaron Jones, Nick Myers and Zach Graham, plus Billington at tight end, sprung Gilona, Phelps and Kyle Zimmer for big chunks of yardage on the Bears’ next possession. Gilona went the final five yards for the TD, and Zimmer’s two-point run expanded the margin to 21-0.
Breaking up the shutout, Oneida drove to the Bears’ 10 as the half wound down. Due to a Gilona sack and penalty, the Indians were back on the 35-yard line before Tyler Mallinder found Jimmy Moyer on a 34-yard pass, putting the Indians on the one.
On fourth-and-goal, Mallinder sneaked in for the TD, just eight seconds before the break, and he found Justin Klossner on a two-point pass.
Suddenly, what seemed a runaway was now a 21-8 Bears lead, and through halftime Chittenango’s loud, large contingent fans that had invaded the Dome had to wonder if Oneida had another big comeback, similar to what it did in the semifinals against Cazenovia (two TD’s in the last five minutes to prevail 12-10), in them.
Just two plays into the third quarter, though, Barry Seymour intercepted a tipped Mallinder pass at the Indians’ 29, and Phelps went deep to find Christopher on the very next play, a TD catch made in coverage that spread the margin back out to 27-8.
Those points were more important when Oneida marched right back to Chittenango’s end zone, mostly through power runs from Dylan Cafilone. Mallinder scored on another one-yard sneak to make it 27-14, though the two-point attempt was missed.
From there, the defenses took over, which was just to the Bears’ liking with a double-digit lead. With 8:29 left, Brad Phelps intercepted Mallinder at midfield, and from there Chittenango returned to the ground, eating up yards and time to put Oneida away.
Zimmer’s 20-yard run got the Bears close, and it was Devin Phelps who, from 15 yards out, found the end zone on an option play with 4:35 left, after which Phelps hit Christopher for two points.
Overall, Phelps completed six of his seven passes for 152 yards to complement the 296 yards the Bears gained on the ground.
Chittenango will take on Section IV champion Chenango Valley Friday night at Binghamton Alumni Stadium in the Class B regional final. The winner will face Hornell or Alden in the state semifinals Nov. 19 at East Syracuse-Minoa Stadium.