SYRACUSE Up by 13 points in the first half, and up by seven points late in regulation, the Baldwinsville football team could not hold on to either advantage in Saturday's opening round of the Section III Class AA playoffs against Henninger at Sunnycrest Field.
As a result, the Bees lost a 26-20 decision to the Black Knights, and its dreams of reaching the Carrier Dome and the sectional finals for the fourth year in a row fell short of reality.
“They (Henninger) are a good football team (and) we’re a good football team,” Baldwinsville head coach Carl Sanfilippo said. "And we fell a little short.”
After one quarter, it looked as though the Bees would run away with the game, a rematch of a 10-7 Bees victory over the Black Knights back on Sept. 13. This time around, B'ville jumped out to a 13-0 lead thanks to some nice running by tailback Ricky Sparks.
After a B'ville fumble recovery at its own 44, Sparks rushed five times for 51 yards on the ensuing possession, capping off the drive with a one-yard touchdown.
Then, on the Bees' next drive, Sparks did most of the heavy lifting, rushing five more times for 21 yards, but quarterback Gage Blasi extended the Bville lead to 13-0 with a 37-yard TD pass to Cameron Skipworth.
But after that drive, the mistakes began pilling up for the Bees. A face mask penalty, combined with Justin McGann's running, extended a long Black Knights drive (12 plays, 73 yards) that Henninger's Keisean Scott capped off with a nine-yard touchdown run to cut the Bees' lead to 13-6 with 8:02 remaining in the half.
B'ville's next drive stalled at the 40 when Henninger’s K.J. White ripped the ball out of Blasi’s grip before he could hand it off to Sparks. The Black Knights recovered, took over at its own 40 and scored 10 plays later when quarterback Romero Collier took the ball himself for the two-yard scored, tying the game up at 13-13, where it stood at the break.