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Football Lakers stopped by Chenango Forks, 28-21

Rally falls just short in first-ever state playoff game

Skaneateles wide receiver Jake Cooney (4) gives a stiff arm to Chenango Forks' Nick Cannon (21) and still hangs on to the ball in Saturday's Class C regional final. Despite Cooney's 12 catches for 144 yards and a touchdown, the Lakers lost, 28-21, to the Blue Devils.

Skaneateles wide receiver Jake Cooney (4) gives a stiff arm to Chenango Forks' Nick Cannon (21) and still hangs on to the ball in Saturday's Class C regional final. Despite Cooney's 12 catches for 144 yards and a touchdown, the Lakers lost, 28-21, to the Blue Devils. Scott Schild

— To the last whistle, the Skaneateles football team remained in the fight, a state Class C championship a goal not that far away - but ultimately, proving elusive.

Chenango Forks ended the Lakers dream season with a hard fought 28-21 win Saturday in the Class C regional final at East Syracuse-Minoa Stadium.

The Lakers saw its 2012 campaign end at 10-1. Skaneateles lost for the first time in 19 games, dating back to a 2010 Section III Class B quarterfinal defeat at Cazenovia.

A sloppy first half doomed the Lakers’ winning streak. Three turnovers, along with multiple offside penalties, were the main culprits.

“We just made too many mistakes in the first half and we just didn’t quite make enough plays in the end,” Skaneateles coach Joe Sindoni said. “You saw saw the heart and character of our kids by the way they played in the second half. These guys just battled to the end.”

As bad as that first half was, Skaneateles only trailed 14-7 at the break. In fact, the Lakers scored first, on its opening drive, the march concluding when Colin Jones caught a 26-yard pass from Conor Herr.

The Blue Devils wasted little time responding. Forks took the resulting kickoff and marched down the field, scoring less than two minutes after Jones’ touchdown.

They traded possessions before The Blue Devils was on its way again. Forks' punishing ground attack was rewarded when star running back Isaiah Zimmer rumbled in from 16 yards, which gave his side that 14-7 halftime margin.

Herr opened the second half with a quarterback sneak. He took a hard hit and appeared to injure his shoulder, an echo of a year ago, when he tore his ACL in the playoffs against Watertown IHC.

Things got worse for the Lakers later in the quarter, when Zimmer scored from nine yards out to make it 21-7. Zimmer’s tally capped another drive in which Forks ran the ball exclusively.

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