Baldwinsville wide receiver Austin Lehman (7) catches a second-quarter touchdown pass from Ben Dwyer in Friday night's game against Auburn at Holland Stadium. The state Class AA no. 14-ranked Bees defeated the Maroons 31-14.
All the September preliminaries are now in the books, and the Baldwinsville football team can put its total focus on a a trip to Cicero-North Syracuse that carries plenty of short-term and long-term stakes.
The battle between the 5-0, state no. 14-ranked Bees and 5-0, state no. 8-ranked Northstars at Bragman Stadium next Friday will decide the Class AA-2 division regular-season championship, and might also offer a preview of the sectional final at the Carrier Dome in early November.
To make this showdown as important as possible, both sides had to first win on Friday night. C-NS handled Nottingham 49-6, while on the new Field Turf at Holland Stadium B’ville unleashed its long-dormant passing attack to put away the Auburn Maroons 31-14.
Through its first four games, the Bees had mostly stuck with its traditional run-first approach, largely because it took early leads and didn’t have to change things up, especially with how well its defense was playing.
Such was the case again in the first quarter against Auburn, with an opening drive that covered five-plus minutes before Aquari Warner scored on a five-yard run, his 11th touchdown of the season.
A little good fortune helped, too, as a Maroons penalty wiped out a possible 85-yard TD return by Quashar Bowman on the ensuing kickoff, and another one, pass interference, saved a Bees possession on fourth down.
B’ville turned that latter flag into a short Garrett Selover field goal to make it 10-0, and it was here that Ben Dwyer, the Bees’ quarterback, took charge.
Luring Auburn’s defenders to the line of scrimmage, Dwyer ended up throwing for more than 200 yards in the first half, making it 17-0 on a 36-yard scoring pass to Austin Lehman, and Dwyer wasn’t done.
Faced with third-down-and-35 deep in his own territory, Dwyer threw long – and converted it for the first down. Stunned by this, the Maroons could only watch as Dwyer hit Gabe Horan on the next play for a 25-yard TD that extended B’ville’s lead to 24-0 by halftime.
And it was a long halftime – nearly an hour, due to lightning spotted in the Auburn area. What usually takes 15 or so minutes lasted more than three times that length.
When things finally resumed, B’ville reverted to its ground attack, but even here Dwyer dazzled, taking a draw and dashing 53 yards to the end zone for his team’s final TD in the third quarter. Overall, Dwyer ran for 100 yards to go with his eight-for-12 passing for 216 yards.
Auburn would score twice in the final period, but against the Bees’ reserves. Prior to that, Troy Anthony registered 14 tackles, with John Hernandez adding eight tackles. Luke Eberl had seven tackles as Cameron Majchrzak, Kolin Wolff and Victor Lamar had six tackles apiece. Mike Letizia added five tackles.
In its five victories, the Northstars have outscored its opponents by a combined 247-27 margin, but it has not faced any defense as good as B’ville’s, and the Bees know that it must control the game’s tempo and not let C-NS’s vast array of skill players get loose for big plays.