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Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017: Curtis retains PSAL football championship

   Leading off today: Senior Ty Son Lawton rushed 33 times for 202 yards and a pair of touchdowns to lead Curtis to a 36-35 upset of Erasmus Hall for the PSAL City Conference football championship Tuesday at Yankee Stadium.

   Senior QB Quincy Barnes completed 7 of 16 passes for 179 yards with a touchdown pass along with running for a score as the Warriors captured their record seventh league championship, breaking a tie with Susan Wagner and Bayside.

   Erasmus Hall, which Erasmus Hall lost for the fourth consecutive year in the championship game, had defeated Curtis 39-20 in the opening week of the season.

   "We just finished out the right way. We did it the right way," Barnes said. "We lost the first game of the season and it wasn't pretty. We just cleaned it up and stayed the course."

   Lawton, a Stony Brook recruit who missed three late-season games with an ankle sprain, scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 50-yard carry with :46 left in the third quarter. Shamar Logan (101 rushing yards) of Erasmus Hall countered with a 26-yard TD run with 6:13 to play, but Curtis senior lineman Dakar Edwards stopped Logan short of the end zone on the conversion attempt the keep the score 36-35.

   More football: We'll finalize our New York State Sportswriters Association rankings and post them Wednesday evening.

   Milestone win: North Salem boys basketball coach Henry Sassone earned his 400th win with a 76-68 victory at Westlake. It was the Tigers' season opener.

   "I enjoyed the moment because it makes me reflect on all the kids who played here at North Salem and the two years I coached at Tuxedo," said Sassone, the North Salem AD who is in his 33rd season of coaching. "They were all instrumental in the 400 wins. I've had the honor to experience it from the sideline, which has been great."

   Kennedy Catholic transfer Mike Ryan led the winners with 18 points to go with seven rebounds and six assists. Kendrick Tchoua, a 6-foot-6 junior who moved from Baltimore, had 16 points and 15 rebounds in his North Salem debut.

    • K.C. Ndefo had a triple-double for Abraham Lincoln in a 94-70 win over Paul Robeson in PSAL action. Ndefo finished with 17 points, 14 rebounds and 10 blocks.


   Quick work: Niskayuna's Peter Meshkov pinned his opponent from Tamarac in five seconds in a 152-pound match in Saturday wrestling action at Columbia High.

   "I definitely wasn't expecting it," Meshkov said. "The pin was mostly instinctual. We shook hands and it happened."

   The win broke the Niskayuna record for fastest pin by three seconds. Andy Seras, who went on to become a two-


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  • time Olympian, had set the previous school mark in 1977.

       "We shook hands and stepped forward," Meshkov said. "I got an underhook and felt the kid wasn't giving any pressure back. I stepped through and hip-tossed him. I had weight on his chest. I put my chest on his and went for the pin."

       Said coach Shaun Neely: "It's close to impossible to pin someone that fast, but I saw it with my own eyes. It was one fluid motion. Step, throw, and the ref was there to call it."

       Meshkov went 7-0 for the weekend with five pins, including falls in 35 and 43 seconds.

       The National Federation of State High School Associations lists eight instances of pins recorded in three seconds, none in New York.

       Eight-man summit: Seven of the 11 New York State Public High School Athletic Association sections were represented last week a meeting in Syracuse to discuss the future of eight-man football, which made a limited return to the state this fall in Central New York.

       "It was to see what questions are out there," NYSPHSAA Executive Director Robert Zayas told The Daily Gazette. "It was to clear up misconceptions, discuss eight-man rules, the number of players, the size of the field. Different things like that."

       Just 12 players are required to field an eight-man team as opposed to the minimum of 16 needed for the 11-man format, thus making it more attractive in an era of declining enrollments and waning interest in football in some districts.

       "It's a chance for a school to save their program and have their own identity," Section 2 Executive Director Ed Dopp said. "In Syracuse, it was do this or lose your program. They made it work."

       Added Zayas: "A big thing with dwindling numbers in school districts is finding a way to get kids to play sports," Zayas said. "When kids play they tend to get better grades. There are less discipline problems. They go to school."

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