East Syracuse Every Section III football team in 2012 finds its season over - except for Christian Brothers Academy, who now sits two victories away from a second state championship to go with the one it claimed in 2004.
The Brothers parlayed a near flawless first half into a convincing 31-7 win over Section IV champion Binghamton on Saturday in the Class AA regional final at East Syracuse-Minoa.
This win propelled CBA into the state semifinals, where it will face defending champion Orchard Park (Section VI) next Saturday at 6 p.m. at Sahlen's Stadium in Rochester. The Quakers beat Rochester Aquinas 14-7 in the West Regional final.
The unbeaten Brothers (11-0) scored all their points against Binghamton in the opening 24 minutes. They were unstoppable on the ground, through the air, and unmoved on defense.
“We played a great first half,” CBA quarterback J.R. Zazzara said. “Great blocking up front led to me having time to make some decent passes. The receivers made me look great and I owe it all to them.”
“We were focused (and) we were making plays,” CBA coach Joe Casamento said. “We practiced hard all week. I thought we did a good job of executing our game plan.”
Zazzara threw for 151 yards and two touchdowns in the first half. One was a 35-yarder to Andre Dowdell. The other covered 29 yards, and it ended up in the hands of Cody Radziewicz after a leaping grab.
Much of the Brothers' dynamic ground game came from talented running back Deshawn Salter. The senior, who missed the sectional final against Baldwinsville a week earlier, recovered from mononucleosis in time to run for 84 first-half yards and two touchdowns of six and 15 yards.
As good as CBA was on offense, they were just as impressive defensively. The Brothers allowed Binghamton to cross midfield just twice in that opening half. The unit's leader, linebacker Joey Pascarella, credited his squad’s reserves for preparing them to play the Patriots.