Leading off today:
Yogi Berra just phoned to remind us that it's never over 'til it's over.
Well, not really. But a couple of high school football teams did help drive home the point Saturday.
Lockport trailed Clarence 27-0 in the second quarter but came all the way back and then some, edging Clarence 42-35 in the Section 6 Class AA quarterfinals. James Chambers (35 carries, 133 yards) scored four touchdowns, including the game-winning run in overtime.
“I tried to say a few things (after the game), and nothing intelligible came out, and it just dawned on me that there was nothing that I could say that could do justice to what they just saw and were a part of,” Lockport coach Greg Bronson told The Buffalo News. “That’s the beauty of high school football, it’s the beauty of kids working together, believing what they are taught to do, coaches seeing those things come to fruition.”
Lockport got the job started with two TDs before the half but still trailed 27-14 to start the fourth quarter. Lockport scored two touchdowns to go ahead, with a 90-yard punt return by Chambers giving the Lions a 28-27 lead. Clarence came right back with Emaure Williams (23 carries, 238 yards) producing a 43-yard scoring run.
Lockport answered when Dan Bronson threw his second TD pass of the game, a 37-yarder to Tevye Maslowski with 1:56 left.
The Lions scored first in OT, then quickly held Clarence on downs to end the game.
New Rochelle, ranked fourth in Class AA by the New York State Sportswriters Association, was on the wrong end of a rally. New Ro squandered a 20-0 lead by allowing three touchdowns in the fourth quarter to fall at North Bergen (N.J.) 21-20.
The turning point may have come in the third quarter when the Huguenots were stopped on fourth-and-goal from the 1. “The wheels started coming off the cart,” coach Lou DiRienzo told The Journal News. “We didn’t respond.”
North Bergen (4-2) won the New Jersey North 1 Group 4 championship last season, but was later stripped of the title for recruiting violations.
Not quite D-cisive: No. 4 Cambridge beat No. 5 Rensselaer 27-21 in the final week of the Section 2 Class D regular season but couldn't quite make a definitive statement to set a tone for the presumed rematch in two weeks.
Rensselaer, playing its finale without QB Steven Harwood and three other starters, picked up some late-game confidence by posting three scores in the fourth quarter, needing only to recover an onside kick with :51 to go to have a chance to win. Instead, Cambridge came up with the ball and ran out the clock.
"We definitely encouraged them a little," Cambridge coach Doug Luke told The Times Union. "We had them down and we let them back into it. But this game is experience. We'll need to be ready to do better if we have to play them again in two weeks."
Still, Cambridge has won six straight in the series.
Something to build on: Albany ended the state's longest active losing streak -- 44 games -- by beating South Glens Falls 24-0 at Schenectady in a contest delayed 75 minutes by fierce storms.
Albany coach Jon McClement credited dedication by the team and leadership by his seniors.
"These boys have stuck it out for four years and even as the losses mounted their resolved continued," McClement said. "I told these gentlemen that football will teach you lessons that will last a lifetime. High school football is special and this group of Albany High players are special."