1. The opening round of the Section III football playoffs included one road team winning in Class AA as Baldwinsville, 2-5 during the season, pounded Corcoran 28-3 with a near-perfect game. Now the Bees get 8-0 Utica Proctor in the semifinals after the Raiders handled CBA, while archrivals Liverpool and C-NS meet for the first time this late in the playoffs in 25 years. In Class B, all of the home teams won, with Solvay staging four different comebacks to top Cazenovia and get to 8-0 to set up a semifinal against 7-1 New Hartford, who handled South Jefferson. Oneida is 8-0 after routing Homer, with the Indians now ready to face a 7-1 Marcellus side that held off Central Valley Academy 17-14 to make it this far.
2. In the opening round of the Class C sectional football playoffs, Lowville ripped Skanetaeles and Cato-Meridian held off Mount Markham 14-7 in the mud, both teams going to 8-0. Now the Red Raiders face Herkimer (who edged Clinton) in the semifinals as the Blue Devils, to win nine in a row, must stop a Canastota team that easily eliminated General Brown. Then, in Class D, all eight teams got into the playoffs, and the first-round results give us semifinals where Dolgeville against Frankfort-Schuyler, two teams ranked in the state top 10 most of the season, while Beaver River, who topped Thousand Islands while short-handed due to injuries, meets Waterville, who was impressive in topping Sauquoit Valley 23-6.
3. With their regular season over, four Class A football teams now battle for the sectional title. The semifinals on Friday at C-NS have red-hot, state no. 5-ranked Carthage challenged by Whitesboro, who needed to beat Central Square last week just to get into the playoffs, while defending champion Indian River again faces an Auburn side it handled earlier this season when those two sides first met at Holland Stadium. There’s also the eight-man sectional playoffs following a regular season where Weedsport and South Lewis both went undefeated. The defending sectional champion Warriors, who beat Morrisville-Eaton 42-20 last week, will face APW in the semifinals, while the Falcons are challenged by West Canada.
4. Once the opening rounds were done in the Section III girls soccer playoffs, it was time to decide titles this week. F-M gets C-NS in the Class AA semifinals as Baldwinsville is challenged by West Genesee. J-D’s 10-year reign in Class A is challenged by New Hartford in the semifinals as top seed Central Square meets Cortland. The Class B semifinals bring Marcellus and Westhill togehter again as Central Valley Academy meets defending champ Hollland Patent. The Class C semifinals have top seed Waterville against Frankfort-Schuyler, with Little Falls up against Westmoreland. Finally, in Class D, unbeaten, state no. 1-ranked Poland takes on McGraw, while no. 2 seed Fabius-Pompey goes up against Copenhagen.
5. Big surprises marked the first week of the Section III boys soccer playoffs, three in particular. In Class AA, F-M, expected to challenge Baldwinsville, was knocked out in penalty kicks by a Liverpool team that once stood at 3-10 this season. In Class B, top seed General Brown didn’t even get out of the first round, the Lions upended by Holland Patent, who went on to a quarterfinal defeat to Chittenango. And top seed Old Forge did not make it out of the Class D quarterfinals, the Eskimos ousted by Fabius-Pompey. In other memorable quarterfinals, Westhill ousted Cazenovia for the fourth straight year, 2-1 in overtime, and Skaneateles topped Marcellus 1-0 in the same round as the Lakers eliminated the Mustangs a year ago.
6. So this leads to a string of boys soccer sectional semifinals this week where, in Class AA, surprise teams Liverpool and Henninger meet as West Genesee challenges top seed Baldwinsville. PSLA-Fowler, the top seed in Class A, battles Watertown, while Whitesboro, the no. 2 seed, takes on J-D. The Class B sectional semifnals has three-time champion Westhill challenged by Chittenango, while no. 2 seed Clinton goes up against Skaneateles. An epochal Class C semifinal has private-school rivals Bishop Grimes and Bishop Ludden against each other, while South Lewis, holding the top seed, battles against Westmoreland/Oriskany. The Class D semifinals have Fabius-Pompey against Cincinnatus, while Poland takes on Lyme.
7. The early rounds of the Section III field hockey playoffs eliminated two top seeds. F-M, the top seed in Class A, was beaten by Baldwinsville 1-0, setting up a sectional final Sunday against Rome Free Academy, who survived a shoot-out with no. 2 seed C-NS. Also, Class D top seed and defending champion Weedsport is out, defeated 2-0 by Port Byron/Union Springs, who will take on Little Falls, who beat no. 2 seed Morrisville-Eaton. Seeds did hold in Class C, and in that sectional final Camden and Clinton will have a rematch of the 2018 sectional final won by the Blue Devils. The Class B semifinals has top seed ESM up against Whitesboro, with defending champion Holland Patent challenged by Cortland.
8. And the first state championships of the 2019-20 school year get decided this weekend in girls tennis in Latham. From Section III, three singles and three doubles players are going, with CBA’s Gieselle Vlassis joined by her teammate Grace DelPino, who finished third in the state qualifier, and Utica-Notre Dame’s Ellen Lyga. Vlassis did not lose a set the state qualifier. It was West Genesee’s duo of Angelina Llanos and Katie Viau winning the sectional state qualifier in doubles, beating the top seed, F-M’s Anna Manta and Phoebe Wang, in the semifinals before topping J-D’s Mona Farah and Tara Pollock in the finals. Manta and Wang did finish third, though, so they advanced to the state tournament, too.
9. Plenty of league championships are taking place in cross country. Last week, there was the Tri-Valley League championships, swept by Rome Free Academy, and the OHSL Patriot division championships where, again, Tully dominated on both sides. There’s also the OHSL Liberty division meet that takes place this Wednesday at Long Branch Park. Moving to girls swimming, CBA (in the OHSL), Watertown (in the Frontier League) and RFA (in the Center State Conference) won their respective league championship meets, while C-NS’s duo of Madeline Throne and Kaitlyn Carroll earned the points needed to qualify for the state championships in November when they went 1-2 in the Burgos Dive Invitational.
10. Regular seasons end for boys and girls volleyball this week, leading to Section III playoffs where there are heavy favorites and state championship contenders such as Baldwinville in Class AA girls and Westhill in Class B girls, plus C-NS on the boys Division I side. On Monday night, C-NS legend Breanna Stewart was back in town as part of the Class of 2019 for the Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame one that also includes former Baldwinsville and long-time Major League pitcher Jason Grilli and, as the “Team of Honor”, the 2003-04 Marcellus girls soccer teams that Laurie Updike coached to a pair of state championships. And former CBA great Greg Paulus is now the head coach at Niagara University.