Here are the top 10 topics for the November 17 edition of the Inside High School Sports show.
1. Nothing that happened last weekend was as dramatic as the Class B football regional final between Skaneateles and Chenango Forks. The Blue Devils controlled most of the game, but a fumble return for a touchdown by lineman Josh McIntyre midway through the fourth quarter pulled the Lakers close, a fourth-down stop near midfield gave them a chance to win, and a drive led to a Pat Hackler touchdown sneak on the last play before time ran out as Skaneateles claimed a 27-26 victory. After all that, the Lakers have to turn around and face Batavia in Saturday’s state semifinal at Union-Endicott, and Batavaia has a back, Ray Leach, who gained 417 yards and got eight touchdowns in a regional win over Cheektowaga.
2. Also celebrating last weekend was Westhill’s boys soccer team, who brought home the state Class B championship from Middletown. In the semfiinals, the senior-heavy Warriors prevailed 3-1 over Schalmont, leading to a final against Briarcliff, which was deadlocked until Braden Krzykowski’s second-half goal made the difference as Westhill beat the Bears 1-0 to add a second state title to the one it earned in 1992 and atone for just missing the state championship the two previous years. Baldwinsville, the only other Section III boys soccer team to make it to the state final four, lost 4-1 in the semifinals to eventual champion Monroe-Woodbury, giving up twice as many goals as it had in 20 previous games that produced 18 shutouts.
3. There was also plenty of state titles won by Section III cross country teams at Long Island’s Sunken Meadow State Park. F-M dominated the boys Class A meet with five of the top 10 finishers, while Beaver River earned a 17th state title in boys Class D, while Westhill was second in Class B. On the girls side, Tully edged Maple Grove for the Class D championship as Brooke Rauber won her third straight individual state race. But F-M’s streak of 12 consecutive state titles ended as Saratoga Springs edged them by a single point, 46-47, this after the Hornets beat Liverpool by a single point at the sectional meet a week earlier. Clinton’s Eva Borton was the individual state Class C girls champion.
4. C-NS and Indian River joined Skaneateles as regional football champions. The Northstars did so for the second year in a row in Class AA, relying on three long touchdown plays by Jaiquawn McGriff in the second half to get away from Elmira 42-20, which sets up quite a state semifinal Saturday as C-NS challenges Rochester Aquinas, winner of five previous state titles. In Class A, Indian River had no trouble with Vestal in its regional final, Guillermo Rosario-Acosta scoring three touchdowns and gaining 169 yards to help the Warriors roll past the Golden Bears 48-7. Having won the state title in 2014, Indian River will need to beat West Seneca East in Friday’s state semifinal to get to the title game at the Carrier Dome.
5. Three other Section III football champions had their seasons end in the regional round. In Class C, Holland Patent found Susquehanna Valley far too big and powerful, the Golden Knights taking a 43-7 defeat after earning its first sectional title in nearly three decades. A day earlier, in Class D, Onondaga got run over by perennial power Tioga, who proved the better of the two Tigers sides by a 56-6 margin, having also beaten OCS in this regional round two years earlier. Finally, Weedsport, who won the eight-man sectional title, played a regional game against Oakfield-Alabama, from Section V, and the Warriors, undefeated going into that game, were unable to keep up, taking a 48-6 defeat.
6. It proved frustrating for Section III girls soccer teams pursuing state championships last weekend in the Cortland area, none more so than J-D in Class A. Denied four times before at the state final four (twice in the title game), the Red Rams ended two-time defending champion Spencerport’s amazing 64-match unbeaten streak 1-0 in overtime in the semifinals, Hayley Quackenbush scoring off a corner kick, but with little time to recover had to turn around 15 hours later and play Valley Stream South, from Long Island, in the state title game. In a clash of unbeatens that also spilled into OT, J-D this time lost the 1-0 verdict on, ironically, a converted corner kick in the last minute of the first OT.
7. Also in girls soccer, Holland Patent reached the state Class B title game and Little Falls did the same in Class C. HP was quite impressive in its semifinal game, routing Allegany-Limestone 4-0, but that didn’t carry over into the final at Cortland High School as Chenango Forks shut out the Golden Knights 2-0 to claim the title. Over in Class C, Little Falls fought past Wheatland-Chili, winner of the last two state Class D championships, 2-1 in its semifinal game, but ran into an absolute buzzsaw in Section II champion Stillwater, who had lost the title game a year earlier, but here rolled past the Mounties 5-0. Cincinnatus, who reached the state Class D semifinals, lost 2-0 to Kendall, who went on to claim the state title.
8. From a crowded set of regional girls volleyball matches, only Westhill, in Class B, was able to reach this weekend’s state final four in Glens Falls, sweeping past Alden and Wayne in consecutive matches. Elsewhere, it was yet another Class AA regional championship between Baldwinsville and Shenendehowa, and all four sets were close – the last three of them 25-22 – but Shen again knocked out the Bees. Everywhere else, teams were swept out by familiar powers, with J-D unable to do much against Burnt Hills in Class A, Skaneateles running into reigning state champion Portville and falling in Class C and, finally, Bishop Grimes losing to Bainbridge-Guilford in Class D for the second year in a row.
9. In boys volleyball, the assignment for C-NS, in Division I, and Oswego, in Division II, was to win two regional matches in less than 24 hours. The Northstars pulled it off, easily defeating Clarkstown South Friday and then, in a regional final epic, twice coming from behind against Shenendehowa and pulling out an 18-16 fifth set to advance to this weekend’s state championships in Albany,a three-team event involving C-NS, along with Fairport and Sachem North. Meanwhile, Oswego got half the task accomplished, as the Buccaneers needed three sets to handle Eastchester in one regional round, but were overwhelmed in a three-set defeat to Burnt Hills in the regional final.
10. And it’s state championship weekend in girls swimming, with the top Section III stars heading to Ithaca College on Friday and Saturday. It’s a longshot to expect any of the area swimmers to medal, but many of them will compete in multiple events. J-D, for example, is sending all three of its relay teams (200 medley, 200 freestyle and 400 freestyle), while it’s CBA who could post a top 20 time in the 200 medley. Individually, Mexico eighth-grader Alexa Von Holtz is entered in both the 200 individual medley and 100 butterfly, while West Genesee’s Maddie Zapisek is in the 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle. Syracuse’s Alexiana Foster is the top-ranked diver from the local ranks.