Baldwinsville A rash of penalties, a season's worth of missed tackles and other mistakes - none of this mattered one bit to the Baldwinsville football team as the final seconds of Friday night's Section III Class AA semifinal against Fayetteville-Manlius ticked away at Liverpool High School Stadium.
"We're going to the Dome!", several players kept shouting to each other, jumping up and down.
They meant, of course, that the Bees are on the way to the Carrier Dome to play for a third sectional title in four years, though it required fending off a fierce late comeback from the Hornets to prevail by a 38-36 margin and avenge a Sept. 14 regular-season defeat to F-M.
A large reason why the game was so close was B'ville's mistakes. Yellow flags wiped out two Tyler Rouse touchdown runs, along with an interception Rouse made in the firs quarter. All told, the Bees had more than 100 yards of penalties.
"We're a lot better football team than we played tonight," said head coach Carl Sanfilippo. "We played hard and we persevered, but we need to clean up our mistakes."
The cascade of errors began early, after Rouse, on B'ville's first offensive play from scrimmage, sprinted 75 yards for the first of his four TD's on the night. Rouse then intercepted Wolfgang Shafer's pass, only to have it called back when Shafer got roughed.
Then, after F-M zoomed ahead 9-7, the Bees saw Rouse go 45 yards for what it thought was six points before a holding penalty brought it back. Shaking that off, Josh Demoski threw a screen pass to his left to Shay Sargeant, who made a great move to elude a tackle and took off on a 48-yard TD sprint, putting the Bees ahead 14-9.
Another pass play, going 19 yards from Demoski to Anthony, set up Rouse's second TD that made it 21-9, where it stood at halftime. On the first play of the second half, Rouse took a toss and was never caught, a 54-yard scoring play.