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Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019: Streaking Canandaigua eliminates South Park in 'A'

   Leading off today: Canandaigua has a full head of steam heading into the NYSPHSAA Class A football semifinals next weekend.

   The Braves, ranked 17th in the state, suffered an opening-night loss to Victor but have been perfect since, with the latest victory coming by a 24-6 margin over No. 6 Buffalo South Park in Friday's state quarterfinals in Brockport. Canandaigua scored on its first two possessions and never looked back.

   Canandaigua's defense forced South Park into a pair of three-and-outs to start the contest. A short punt after the first possession set the Braves up at the South Park 44, and Joe Urlacher scored his first varsity touchdown on a 29-yard pass play from Bryan Boldrin on a 4th-and-3 snap. The next drive covered 78 yards, culminating in a 58-yard screen pass to Matt Vierhile.

   "A couple of three-and-outs and then some good field position," said coach Jeff Welch. "You're always hoping to get starts like that."

   The Braves opened the second half with 75-yard drive capped by Zach Wantuck's 5-yard TD run for a 21-0 lead.

   More upsets: The NYSPHSAA Class C bracket isn't playing out as projected, with a pair of upsets punctuating the quarterfinals.

   Fifth-ranked Gouverneur squeezed out a 10-2 victory over No. 3 Stillwater on the strength of senior quarterback Caleb Farr's 23-yard TD run less than two minutes into the game.

   Gouverneur outgained Stillwater 315-195 behind Farr's 157 yards on 29 carries.

   Meanwhile, No. 16 Valhalla downed No. 16 Chester/Tuxedo 19-8 at Dietz Stadium. The Vikings had opened the season with a 42-22 loss to the Hambletonians but improved throughout the fall.

   "We're more disciplined. We're more mature. And we definitely like to win," senior wideout Mahari Davis Jr. said.

   Davis and Sammy Mussuto caught first-half TDs to help forge a 17-0 lead.

   Pinch-hitting: A lot of football observers were keeping an eye on one Class D game in particular in the aftermath of an incident in the Section 1 final. Forced to use a freshman quarterback with almost no experience in varsity action, Valhalla advanced with a 12-6 victory over Section 3 runner-up Waterville.

   Michael Annunziata was forced into action last week following the ejection of starting QB Justin Lee, who had to miss the state quarterfinal due to the mandatory one-game suspension. He went 11-for-16 for 198 yards.

   "Its was huge shoes to fill for Justin, even for one game," Annunziata said. "Everybody had to step up, not just me. Everyone gave 100 percent effort. Now we can get him back next week."


   Clutch when it counted: William Pickett drove No. 24 Rockville Centre South Side to three fourth-quarter TDs as the Cyclones rallied past No. 26 Wantagh in the Section 8 Conference III semifinals.

   Nick LiCalzi's 4-yard TD run and a 67-yard pass from Pickett to T.J. Maher pulled South Side to within 21-20 with 5:28 left. Pickett was given the ball back at his own 6 with 2:14 left and ran or threw on every snap of the 12-play drive, finishing it off with a 5-yard touchdown with :20.3 remaining.

   "We're not a team that ever feels like there isn't enough time to get back," said LiCalzi, who had a pair of touchdowns. "As long as there is time left, we like our chances."

   Pickett carried 24 times for 132 yards and was 10-or-18 through the air for 176 yards and one score.

   Following up: New Rochelle coach Lou DiRienzo will miss Saturday's Class AA football quarterfinal vs. Utica Proctor because the district's investigation will not be completed before the game, Superintendent Laura Feijoo said Friday.

   Feijoo made the announcement in a letter to football parents that was preceded by a half-hour protest by students on campus. The students gathered at the one of the school's football fields to show their support for DiRienzo, who was reassigned after an unspecified incident that led DiRienzo to be reassigned this week from teaching and coaching duties.

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  •    In a statement Friday, Feijoo commended the students who participated in the rally for doing so in an "orderly and respectful" fashion on school grounds. "We are proud of the students for taking the initiative to express their views," she said.

       The Journal News reported that more than 5,000 people have signed an online petition calling for DiRienzo's return, and the teachers union has called for the superin- tendent's resignation. Board of Education President Amy Moselhi said in a statement Thursday that the board stands behind Feijoo.

       Venue roulette: The snowstorm that clobbered a wide swath of Upstate New York to start the week has caused multiple changes to the scheduled Class D football quart- erfinal between Moriah and Warrensburg.

       The teams were originally slated to play Friday at Beekmantown High, but the foot of snow that landed in Plattsburgh made that unrealistic, so the contest was moved to Saturday at Glens Falls.

       However, that had to be scuttled as well because it was determined that there was too much ice on the field to be removed in such a short timeframe. So, the game was switched to a noon kickoff Saturday at Shenendehowa.

       It's not Moriah isn't used to improvising. The Vikings' Section 7 final vs. Ticonderoga two weekends ago was pushed back three days and moved to a new venue due to heavy rains that triggered a state of emergency in Essex County. Last season, the state semifinal game between Moriah and Haldane was moved from Friday to Sunday after a snowstorm hit the Middletown area.

       It's a fine line: I was rather ignorant about the sport in my younger days, but I've come to appreciate just how good the quality of boys volleyball is in New York even if there aren't a ton of schools fielding teams in the sport.

       When you get down to this juncture of the season, the quality of competition is so good and so close that there is almost no margin for error. That was on display in the Section 6 Division I final, were Clarence pulled out a 26-24, 25-23 12-25, 25-23 victory over Orchard Park. The teams split their season series and one point here or there and the outcome in the championship match could have been flipped ever so easily.

       A well-rounded teen: Miriam Aziz of McKee/Staten Island Tech captured the Federation girls tennis single title last weekend with a 6-0, 6-0 win over Kaitlyn Mendoza of Archbishop Molloy in the final.

       The senior's exceptional work is not limited to the tennis court. The Advance reports she carries a 105 average in the classroom and posted a perfect 36 score on the ACT exam.

       Mass. confusion: A Massachusetts football playoff game ended in overtime last weekend, but a play in the third quarter is all that people out that way have been talking about this week.

       Central Catholic edged Everett 39-37, but The Boston Globe reported that Catholic Central was given a crucial extra down due to an officiating error.

       A penalty and an injury delay may have complicated the situation, but due to a confluence of a penalty, the end of the quarter and an injury Central was given a so-called fifth down while driving to toward a TD that made the score 24-24.

       The paper reported the down marker wasn't flipped after an incomplete second-down pass. The final play of the possession would have been a 3-yard pass play to end the quarter on what was errantly treated as a 3rd-and-11 snap.

       "I'm sick to my stomach," Everett coach Theluxon Pierre said. "How do you make that mistake?"

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