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Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019: Three teams defend NYSPHSAA football crowns

   Leading off today: Defending champ Cornwall, down 12 points in the second quarter, completed its second straight 12-0 season and stretched its win streak to 24 games with a 30-27 victory over Carthage on Friday for the NYSPHSAA Class A football title in the Carrier Dome.

   Senior running back Amin Woods had 226 yards and three touchdowns on 35 carries. Louie Francese, switched from receiver to quarterback late in the regular season as an injury replacement, went 11 of 15 for 130 yards.

   Francese clinched the win by converting a 4th-and-shot play deep in Carthage territory with under a minute to go.

   "I'm not going to lie to you, I immediately starting bawling," Francese said. "I just couldn't believe we did it twice. ... There's no feeling like this to win it with my brothers like this. It means everything. Getting one is a once-in-a-lifetime thing. Getting two is really mind-blowing."

   After surrendering TDs on Carthage's first three possessions, Cornwall allowed only six more points the rest of the way. Woods' 16-yard touchdown run, his 24th scoring play of the season, gave the Dragons their final lead with 8:48 remaining.

   Carthage put together an ensuing drive that stalled out with under 2:00 to go and ended with a blocked 52-yard field goal attempt that was returned 39 yards to set up Cornwall's clock-killing final possession.

   C/S/P dominates: Clymer/Sherman/Panama got an all-around team effort in defeating Moriah 47-6 for its second straight state Class D championship.

   After turning the ball over on downs its first possession, C/S/P scored on its next seven possessions.

   Cam Barmore's 37-yard touchdown pass capped a three-play drive to give the Wolfpack the lead for good with 2:30 left in the first quarter. C/S/P needed just two plays to turn its next possession into six points as Brendon Ramsey scored on a 26-yard run after John Swabik opened the possession with a 25-yard burst.

   Connor Cooper (10 carries, 55 yards) rushed for the first of his two touchdowns to make it 20-0, and then Zavon Overton caught a 2-yard pass before halftime.

   "We all just do our piece of the puzzle and never take our foot off the gas," said Swabik, who rushed for 39 yards and made 12 tackles and an interception. "As long as we do that, we're good."

   And another repeat: Susquehanna Valley made it a sweep on the day for defending NYSPHSAA champs by limiting Gouverneur to 45 first-half yards and defeating the Wildcats 22-0 in Class C.

   Logan Haskell rushed for 199 yards and three teammates scored touchdowns for SV. The Sabers drove 76 yards for a touchdown to make it 16-0 with :42 to go in the second quarter, then denied the Wildcats after they had driven 63 yards to SV's 2-yard line on the opening third-quarter possession.

   "It feels great to be back here again," said Connor Brown. "Everyone made it sound like it was going to be such a big stretch, but we had more than enough to get here."


   Island powers impress: A pair of downstate powerhouses capped their seasons with big performances in the Long Island Championships, pairing champions from Sections 8 and 11.

   Makhai Jinks rushed for five touchdowns on short runs and made a team-high 10 tackles in Freeport's 42-14 win over William Floyd in the Class I championship game at Stony Brook University.

   Jinks (15 carries, 87 yards) spent two seasons at tackle before being given his shot as the featured running back for the Red Devils, L.I. champs for the third time in four years and winners of 24 consecutive games.

   "He's always been that good. He just didn't have the opportunities early on," Freeport coach Russ Cellan said. "In all honesty, he has been what he was tonight, all this year. That's who Makhai Jinks is. You have a need -- he steps up."

    • Plainedge QB Quarterback Dan Villari ran for four touchdowns and passed for two more to beat Sayville 56-20 and claim the school's first Class III championship. Villari rushed for 306 yards on 24 carries and passed for another 65.

   Villari suffered a broken arm in last year's 34-6 loss to Half Hollow Hills West in the final.

   "The arm injury was devastating to our team last year and it made me work so hard to be in the position to win a Long

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  • Island title this year," he said. "Our whole team committed to the goal of being Long Island champions. And it was a total team effort. Our line, our defense, the wide receivers and backs blocking for each other -- it all came together."

       'AA' final moved up: The NYSPHSAA Class AA football tournament final between McQuaid and New Rochelle has been moved up to 8 p.m. Saturday.

       McQuaid (12-0) and New Rochelle (12-0) had been scheduled to play at Syracuse University's Carrier Dome on Sunday at 3 p.m.

       New York State Public High School Athletic Association officials made the change because of concern over New Rochelle fans potentially traveling home into the heart of a projected winter storm in the midst of heavy traffic at the end of a holiday weekend.

       "You would have a New Rochelle team trying to leave at 7 p.m. on Sunday when the storm is intense or will have put a significant amount on the roads," NYSPHSAA director of communications Chris Watson said. "We are mindful of McQuaid, too.

       "It's about the safety of the players, coaches and fans first."

       NYSPHSAA officials began considering the switch Friday morning and got a huge helping hand from SU officials. Syracuse hosts Wake Forest in football at 12:30 p.m. Saturday. The arena staff will do a quick turnaround after that game -- clearing locker rooms, changing signage and restocking concessions -- to accommodate the high school game in the evening. The task is further complicated by some of the normal gameday crews for concessions and stadium operations being unavailable due to the Thanksgiving break.

       CVA wrestler honored: Central Valley Academy wrestler Marek Bush was honored last weekend at the annual Musial Awards at the Stifel Theatre in St. Louis.

       The event named for baseball great Stan Musial recognizes great moments of sportsmanship and major sports figures who embody class and character.

       Bush, a junior and 2018 state champion, earned the spotlight after a classy ending to a championship match during a regular-season tournament last winter. Indian River junior Logan Patterson was injured while leading Bush 7-0 with :32 remaining in the 126-pound final and had run out of injury time. Rather than accept the default, Bush took the down position at the restart and allowed Patterson to ride out the waning seconds for the victory.

       Highlights of last Saturday's awards ceremony will be shown on CBS on Dec. 21 at 2 p.m.

       Extra points: John McKissick, whose 621 victories at Summerville (S.C.) High made him the nation's winningest football coach at any level, died Thursday at age 93.

       McKissick retired in 2014 after 62 seasons in charge and finished with a record of 621-155-13. He won 10 state championships, the last coming in 1998.

       In 2003, McKissick became the first coach to reach 500 victories.

       Coming up: In the next day or two, we'll publish the breakdown of NYSPHSAA schools scheduled to more up or down in classification next football season. With new two-year classification cutoffs in the sport going into effect next fall and the BEDS data already finalized by the New York State Education Department, our Steve Grandin crunched the numbers and found more than 40 Class B or C schools that will be moving down a class.

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