With a pair of undefeated seasons and a 2017 Section III championship, Bishop Grimes set the standard for eight-man football for everyone else to follow.
Finally, someone caught up to the Cobras – and kept them from a return to the Carrier Dome.
Altmar-Parish-Williamstown, given a second chance at Grimes in Friday night’s sectional semifinal at Central Square, played superb defense and used timely big plays to defeat the Cobras 28-18.
These very same teams had played seven days earlier at APW, with Grimes prevailing 34-20, but only after it scored twice in the fourth quarter to break a 20-20 tie.
Prior to this, no one this season had stayed close to the Cobras, but the Rebels did so and taking the confidence from that performance, was ready for the playoff rematch.
Even when A.J. Burnett threw a 28-yard scoring pass to Tyler Wait in the first quarter to give Grimes a 6-0 lead, APW did not flinch, shuttting out the Cobras the rest of the half as Cory Kosten and Kody Roe would lead the Rebels with eight tackles apiece.
Then APW took the lead for good in the second period when Jon Comstock, from his own 45, threw deep and found Zach Costen, who went to the end zone to complete a 55-yard play. Comstock ran in for the go-ahead two-point conversion.
Trailing 8-6 at the break, the Cobras would get a big play in the third quarter when Joe Wike scored on a 53-yard run. Again, the Rebels had an answer.
It came from a ground game that twice produced touchdowns when Anthony Frank scored on runs of 37 and 14 yards. That, along with Jon Comstock’s 12-yard TD run, built a lead Grimes could not overcome, despite Burnett’s 24-yard scoring pass to Nate Gay.
APW will face Weedsport in the eight-man football sectional final this Saturday at 9 a.m. at the Dome. The Warriors are 7-0 and scored 76 points in a sectional semifinal win over South Lewis.