October 7, 2012
We had all heard, before the season, that the Section III Class C football playoffs would be lengthened and doubled - 16 teams instead of eight, C-1 and C-2 champs crowned before we got to the Carrier Dome, no one of any quality left out, unlike 2011, when 5-2 wasn't good enough in a few instances.
Well, ask and you shall receive, and now we have it. Eight post-season games take place on Friday night, and here they are.
In C-1, it's Canastota the top seed, set to face Watertown IHC, while in the 4-5 game Bishop Ludden meets pass-happy APW. The other side has Skaneateles, the unbeaten no. 2 seed, hosting Sherburne-Earlville, while General Brown, also 6-0, is the no. 3 seed, meeting Utica-Notre Dame.
Move to C-2, and forget the fact that Herkimer lost 20-12 Saturday to Little Falls without seven suspended players (something to do with a party in Ilion).
The top-seeded Magicians and Mounties are going to meet again, this time on Herkimer turf, while Frankfort-Schuyler, the no. 4 seed, gets Mount Markham. Tully has the no. 3 seed and plays Syracuse ITC as no. 2 seed Waterville will take on Lowville.
Notice something here? The two remaining unbeatens are in the same quarter. Thus, barring total shocks, Skaneateles and General Brown, perhaps the best of the bunch, would meet in the C-1 semifinals. For real.
On the one hand, it's two rounds too soon. This possible dream game is Dome-worthy. On the other hand, we'll finally get to see who's better, the Conor Herr-led Lakers offense dropping about 50 points a game, or the Lions defense that, by bashing APW 43-0 on Saturday, recorded its fifth shutout in a row.
Never mind the whole redemption storyline for the Skaneateles players back from last season and the early enforced dismissal from the playoffs. This made the transgressions of Herkimer players doubly ironic, since it was the Magicians that won it all a year ago when the Lakers were ordered out.
It's also clear that, because of Skaneateles and General Brown, C-1 is way stronger than C-2. Really, Canastota or Bishop Ludden, stuck in C-1, would have enjoyed a great chance in C-2 were they put there. Now, it's anyone's guess.
Even before the Class C playoff brackets were released, it was quite a football Saturday. There was F-M going to Utica Proctor, a night after a power outage forced a postponement, and getting everything from Jake Wittig (TD pass, TD run, interceptions, field goal, PATs) to beat the Raiders 30-7 and creating that possible dreaded three-way tie in the AA-1 division with Baldwinsville and Liverpool, should they all win next Friday - and they're all favored to do so.
Herkimer's short-handed defeat to Little Falls drew some waves, but most in the Mohawk Valley were eyeing D East to see if the top two had any hiccups. There were not, as West Canada cast aside Beaver River 41-13 and Dolgeville denied New York Mills 29-8, setting up the league title showdown between the Indians and Blue Devils this Saturday.
Barely into October, and at least in Class C, it's already playoff time.