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B’ville football sees changes in AA-2 league

Bees do not face Liverpool in regular season, has strong home slate

— In the more than quarter-century he has presided over Baldwinsville football, head coach Carl Sanfilippo has rarely diverted from a run-first philosophy, and that’s translated into more than 200 victories on the field and a status as one of Central New York’s strongest programs.

After Bees reached the Section III Class AA finals at the Carrier Dome three times in four years and won sectional championship in 2009 and 2010, the Bees fell back a bit in 2013, going 5-3 and taking a tough first-round, 26-20 overtime playoff defeat to Henninger.

For the 2014 season, some changes loom on the horizon for B’ville – some of it in the short term, some of it in the long term.

Of more immediate concern is another switch in league groupings. As they do every two years, Section III shuffles the pair of Class AA divisions, and while the Bees are still in the AA-2 league, half the teams around them are different.

Fayetteville-Manlius, Auburn and Utica Proctor remain in AA-2, but Henninger now joins the league, as does Cicero-North Syracuse and Fowler, back up in the AA ranks after years in Class A.

The AA-1 division includes reigning champion CBA, Liverpool, West Genesee, Central Square, Corcoran, Rome Free Academy and Nottingham, who like Fowler returns from a Class A stint.

For the younger players in the B’ville program, they can look forward to a long-awaited artificial turf at Pelcher-Arcaro Stadium.

Last February, school district voters approved an $11.5 million capital project that, along with school renovations, includes the new turf, which is scheduled to be installed late in 2015. That will give each Class AA school in Section III a Field Turf facility, since C-NS is replacing its Astroturf at Bragman Stadium this summer.

For now, grass will do, and B’ville will play on its four times in the 2014 regular season, including the first two games against Auburn on Sept. 5 and West Genesee on Sept. 12.

All of the home games carry marquee value, as B’ville clashes with F-M Sept. 26 and C-NS on Oct. 17, while the road games are at Fowler, Proctor and, most significantly, a playoff rematch with Henninger Oct. 11 at Sunnycrest Field.

One consequence of the new league structure is no regular-season showdown with neighbor and rival Liverpool, though the two sides will scrimmage Aug. 30.

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