Leading off today:
Ray Leach had finest game since ... uh, last week.
And it was all Batavia needed, but just barely, as the senior running back combined eight touchdowns with more than 400 rushing yards for the second consecutive week and Batavia edged Skaneateles 54-49 on Saturday to advance to the NYSPHSAA Class B football final.
Leach rushed 51 times for 474 yards, giving him a ridiculous 891 on the ground in his last two contests and a preposterous 1,235 (with 22 touchdowns) in his last three.
His latest heroics broke tournament records for rushing yards and total yards, and tied his week-old record for touchdowns.
"Coach always tells me I'm the man on the field. I definitely had to come out here and perform like I was supposed to and I just followed my line. Things worked out," Leach said.
Trailing 48-35 late in the fourth, Skaneateles QB Patrick Hackler connected with Nick Wamp for a 15-yard TD, but Batavia recovered the onside kick and Leach galloped 48 yards for his eighth rushing touchdown of the day and 46th of the season. Hackler answered with a scoring scramble to make it 54-49 with 2:19 to play, but Batavia recovered another onside kick and Leach moved the chains on third-and-4 to wrap up the win and help set up an intriguing title game in the Carrier Dome.
Leach and the Blue Devils will face Glens Falls, quarterbacked by Syracuse basketball commit Joe Girard III. The marquee matchup stirs up memories of the 2004 Class AA final in which future Duke point guard Greg Paulus and Syracuse CBA edged the New Rochelle team led by future NFL running back Ray Rice.
That could take the sting out of a set of finals that for the first time since 2006 will not feature a matchup of unbeatens.
• Girard, who quarterbacked the Indians to the 2016 state title and a spot in the 2017 semifinals, finished 14 of 22 for 306 yards and three TDs through the air as Glens Falls defeated Marlboro 48-28. He also returned a fumble 25 yards for a TD late in the third quarter.
"That was the goal all year, to get back to this spot," Girard said. "Obviously you want to get back to the Dome, win a sectional title and take first in your division, but the goal was to get back to this spot and avenge what happened last year."
Sophomore Aalijah Sampson ran nine times for 134 yards and three TDs on his way to 229 total yards and four trips to the end zone overall.
New Rochelle, Aquinas advance: Senior running back Jordan Forrest rushed 26 times for 285 yards and helped New Rochelle rally past Shaker 27-19 in the Class AA semifinals in Middletown.
The Huguenots, who trailed 19-13 at halftime, will be returning to the Carrier Dome for the final for the first time since 2012.
"It's been a long six years," Forrest said. "This group of seniors has wanted to get there for the last four years, so this is a great feeling."
After the defense got off the field to start the second half, Mac Coughlin threw a 31-yard pass to Halim Dixon-King for a touchdown midway through the third quarter and the extra point put New Rochelle ahead for good. Forrest carried three times on the next possession, capping a 92-yard drive with a 65-yard TD run up the middle with 9:46 to play.
• At Union-Endicott, Aquinas moved out to a three-score lead and then held on to eliminate Cicero-North Syracuse 28-21.
Receiver Kobe McNair, who missed two games following a concussion, caught a pair of touchdown passes and threw another.
"When I got that text Friday morning (that cleared him to play) I didn't know what to do," McNair said. "I was just shaking in my pants like, 'We gotta win, we gotta win, there's nothing else to do.' I just had to put everything on the line in this game, so I'm excited (that we won)."
Cicero-North Syracuse's last chance came up short as Conner Hayes' 40-yard throw to the end zone went threw the hands of a defender and the intended receiver.
Class C semifinals: Trevor Frable recovered a fumble at midfield with 1:38 to play, sealing Susquehanna Valley's 21-20 victory against Cleveland Hill.
The recovery came after linebacker Billy Sheridan, who earlier ran for a TD, shed a block and poked the ball free from Aaron Wahler on a fourth-and-2 play at the Cleveland Hill 44.
SV improved to 12-0 despite losing quarterback and linebacker Jarred Freije to a concussion in the second quarter. Senior Ed Lavin (10 carries, 50 yards) caught a 61-yard pass from Freije to set up the first TD, then took over at quarterback after the injury.
"He's got a ton of heart, he's such a great kid," Freije said. "He's so fast. He's smart, he knows what to do, he knows how to lead this team. ... I'd rather have him step in for me than anyone else."
• Dobbs Ferry advanced with a 55-22 win over Ogdensburg Free Academy courtesy of a diverse rushing attack. Emilio Nolasco ran 11 times for 134 yards and a TD, Jack Baglieri added 102 yards and two touchdowns on eight carries and Awvise Khan had 98 yards and two scores on 25 carries. Thomas Ritch chipped in with 70 yards and two mote TDs.
Nolasco went wide five plays into the game to score from 38 yards out.
"We kind of felt the perimeter was where we were going to make our money, so to speak," Eagles coach Jim Moran said. "And once that play hit, I did feel a little bit more comfortable. They're very big up front and I knew we'd have a tough time running the ball between the tackles."
L.I. sectional finals: Undefeated William Floyd trailed for the first time all season before beating Ward Melville 34-17 for the Suffolk I championship. The Colonials ran for 211 second-half yards and scored on three of five possessions.