It is the last stop before the state championships are decided, beginning on Black Friday, in Syracuse at the Carrier Dome. Four Section II teams made the trek to Kingston's Dietz Stadium to vie for berths in the state title games next week. At the end of business tonight, we're down to three.
In the opener, Class D champion Cambridge overpowered a under-manned and overmatched Haldane squad, 61-6. I came home from work at halftime, turned on the broadcast on Time Warner Cable Sports Channel, and wondered why I even bothered leaving the game on. Cambridge led, 47-6, at halftime. Ballgame over. Cambridge will play for their first state title since 1999 on Black Friday vs. Maple Grove, which crushed Sidney, 56-20.
Class A champion Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake had avenged their only loss of the season two weeks ago in the Class A Super Bowl with a win over Averill Park. Somers High, out of Westchester County (Section I) was playing in a state semi-final for the first time. Both teams came in at 10-1, but the parallels would end there.
Entering the 4th quarter, Burnt Hills was down, 21-17, and had the Tuskers of Somers High pinned at their own 20 yard line. Or so they thought. Senior tailback Messiah Horne took over from there, and galloped 80 yards for a score to extend the Tuskers' lead to 28-17. Horne would add two more touchdowns, Spartans QB Darren LaPietro threw two interceptions, both of which were cashed in for touchdowns, and Somers rolls into their first state title game with a 48-24 verdict. Burnt Hills finishes at 10-2, with nothing to be ashamed of.
Section II has two more games tomorrow. Class B champ Glens Falls will play Pleasantville, and AA titlist Troy challenges Section I titlist New Rochelle in the nightcap.
Once the final gun sounds in the AA title game in 8 days, the focus will shift to basketball and other winter sports, although one cross-country ski meet was scheduled for today. Go figure.