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The Blackwell Blog

And the picture clears...

Before we sift through the maze of Section III football playoff contests up ahead, there's the small matter of recapping what went on during the final Friday of the regular season.

Oh wait a minute, the playoffs already started. Yeah, those Class C folks didn't want any 5-2 teams left out of the party so, to fix things, they went to 16, and to a C-1 and C-2 split that, at least upon first glance, was quite lopsided.

Well, it still might be, if Skaneateles played like they did in the first round of the C-1 playoffs against Sherburne-Earlville, grabbing a 35-0 lead and cruising past the Marauders 49-22, beginning the holy quest to .

Meanwhile, General Brown, who shut out five straight opponents, was in danger of elimination against Utica-Notre Dame before Richard Lagano found David Pitre for a touchdown with 9.3 seconds left to beat the Jugglers 33-30.

It was also a bit wild at Bishop Ludden, where the Gaelic Knights forced APW into 10 turnovers in a sloppy 43-14 affair and, to fill out the C-1 side, top seed Canastota brought the defense against Watertown IHC in a 29-6 victory where Anthony Mason was responsible for a trio of TD's.

Moving to C-2, Herkimer, the reigning champs, welcomed back a full roster and displayed it to Little Falls in a 42-8 romp, just as Frankfort-Schuyler put an end to Mount Markham's run 34-18. Lowville needed Kyle Mallick's 24-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter to slide past Waterville 24-19 as Tully beat ITC for the second time this fall in a 27-8 affair.

Now for those still in the regular season, a lot was to be decided, including the entire Class AA pecking order outside of CBA's top spot in AA-2, and the Brothers kept itself perfect by holding off Corcoran 37-20, not completely safe until Deshawn Salter scored a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns.

Everyone that was tied for first in AA-1 stayed that way, in various ways. Baldwinsville was not about to lose Tyler Rouse's last home game, and Rouse obliged with 270 yards, every bit of it needed to hold back Utica Proctor 40-32.

By contrast, F-M only got a touchdown and field goal at Auburn, but it was enough to blank the Maroons 11-0, while Liverpool used a big mid-game surge to blow past Rome Free Academy 42-20. So it's Bees, Hornets and Warriors, all sharing the league title, with Proctor fourth.

But the best AA game of the night was in Camillus. WIth second place in AA-2 at stake, Henninger blew a 21-point lead to West Genesee but still bounced back with Keisean Scott's long run setting up the winning TD in a 40-37 classic. Chris Hicks scored four times, and the Black Knights fit in behind CBA in the standings as Central Square's win over C-NS allowed the Red Hawks to nab fourth place.

The other big decisions took place in Class D. One saw Port Byron truly earn the D West regular-season title, going to unbeaten Weedsport and stunning the Warriors 14-7. All season long, it was just assumed that Weedsport was the league's best, but the Panthers' stifling defense took care of those myths.

Just as stunning, if not more so, was the way West Canada Valley absolutely dismantled Dolgeville 40-0 with the D East title on the line. Yes, the Indians were at home, and yes, they were unbeaten, but the Blue Devils always won these types of games in years past. Ryan Grogan did it all, throwing, running for and returning an interception for touchdowns. Maybe it's the 1997 state title run all over again at WCV.

Also of note was Chittenango's 14-13 escape at Cortland, the second straight week where the Bears won by a single point. It was one thing against ESM, a quality Class A foe, but the fact that the Purple Tigers, a solid if not spectacular team, made Chittenango sweat so much is rather interesting. Homer sealed second place in B West by holding off Homer 26-19.

One more team finished off an unbeaten regular season, but without Chittenango's troubles. J-D went to Watertown and used big plays to bash the Cyclones 47-12 to get its 7-0 mark. Impressive wins by Nottingham (over Oswego) and ESM (over Fowler) mark the American division.

Since losing the opener to ESM, Indian River has reeled off six straight wins, the National division champs completing a perfect run through the league by smashing Carthage 48-14, led by Jason Smith's trio of TDs. Whitesboro handled Oswego and settled into second place.

All of this leads to....well, tomorrow we'll go through that part.

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