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Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014: Canisius wins huge Western NY confrontation

   Leading off today: Mitch Thomas atoned for two lost first-half fumbles by carrying for 249 yards, and Brad Zaffram ran for two touchdowns Friday as Canisius, ranked No. 1 in the state in Class AA, fought off No. 3 Jamestown 27-14 before an estimated 6,000 fans in Jamestown.

   "It was a great game between two very good football teams," said Canisius coach Rich Robbins told The Buffalo News. "Just to keep fighting and handling adversity ... when it got to 20-14, I think a lot of teams might have tightened up and panicked. I was really proud of our guys to just keep fighting, to keep working and getting the win."

   Canisius made it 13-0 with :55 left in the first half when Zaffram scored from the 1 to complete a nine-play, 68-yard drive highlighted by Thomas' 43-yard gallop to the 2.

   The Crusaders wrapped it up when senior QB Jakob Loucks hooked up with tight end T.J. Wheatley for a 15-yard TD with 2:29 left. Jack Seminara then intercepted a pass with 1:28 left as Canisius improved to 4-0 heading into its Monsignor Martin Association rivalry game vs. St. Joe's.

   "Even though we lost, the energy of the crowd is something I'll never forget," Jamestown coach Tom Langworthy said.

   PSAL action: Needing to go 89 yards in the fourth quarter, No. 5 Abraham Lincoln finished the drive with a flash -- receiver Luis Rodriguez's 75-yard catch and run on a Paul Litvak pass -- to beat No. 19 Grand Street Campus 21-18.

   Rodriguez finished with two catches for 108 yards plus 61 yards on the ground and a rushing TD as Lincoln ran its winning streak to 17 games.

   Grand Street junior star Taysir Mack caught two touchdown passes from Justin White. Their 4-yard connection midway through the fourth quarter put Grand Street ahead.

   "This team was able to matchup skill for skill with us," Rodriguez told MSG Varsity. “It came down to technique and to win a close game says a lot about our team character."

   Quality win: Schalmont proved it's worthy of the state's No. 2 ranking in Class B by earning a 34-28 win over Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, rated fourth in Class A.

   After having a 27-point third-quarter lead evaporate, Sabres QB Nick Gallo converted a third-and-12 play with a pass to Devin Higgins from deep in his own territory that sealed the win.

   "This is a senior-heavy group and it showed tonight," Schalmont coach Joe Whipple told The Times Union. "Devin Higgins, Nick threw a perfect ball to him. They made some big plays tonight."

   After Schalmont stopped the Spartans on downs at the Sabres' 16 midway through the second quarter, Hunter Gac broke free on an inside handoff and ran 67 yards for a 22-7 halftime lead. On the team;s first play of the third quarter, Gac raced 60 yards for another score.

   "The locker room was going pretty wild (at halftime)," Gac said. "We just came out fired up and ready to go."

   Defense rules the day: Saranac Lake accumulated all of 148 yards of offense, but it was enough. Tristin Fitzgerald hit Ty Marmion in stride on a 39-yard TD strike with 11:16 to go as the Red Storm, ranked 13th in Class C, edged Class D No. 10 Ticonderoga 7-0.

   Fitzgerald finished 14-for-22 for 117 yards. Marmion led all receivers with 54 yards and the TD.

   "The defense was crazy good, and we got that one big play on offense," Fitzgerald told the Press-Republican. football site

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   Late drama: Colin Ivich made a 31-yard field goal with :17.9 remaining to lift Highland, ranked 15th in Class B, over Class C No. 11 Millbrook 31-30.

   The Huskies rallied from deficits of 14-0 and 30-21 to win as Brandon Mack threw TD passes to Cory Garcia (13 yards), Isaiah Daubon (15 yards) and Mike Weed (65 yards).

   Overcoming mistakes: Herkimer overcame three turnovers deep in Frankfort-Schuyler territory to beat the Maroon Knights 26-8 in a meeting of state-ranked Class C teams.

   No. 10 Herkimer fumbled the ball away inside Frankfort-Schuyler's 5 on its first two possessions and inside the 10 on its first possession of the second half.

   Herkimer lineman Dan Appley intercepted a throw near the line of scrimmage and ran the ball back 65 yards for a touchdown to gave the Magicians a 6-0 lead over No. 20 F-S in the first quarter. QB Mitchell Scherer pushed it to 20-0 with runs of 12 and 4 yards.

   It's called efficiency: Vinny Aloi went 5-for-6 for 156 yards and five touchdown passes as Chester breezed past Pine Plains 48-0. Brandon Sadlier had touchdown catches of 27 and 45 yards and Angel Suarez made scoring grabs of 25 and 40 yards.

   Explosive performance: Sidelines two weeks by a suspected concussion, Cheektowaga's Marshawn Gibson returned in big way, breaking two school records in Cheektowaga's 46-23 win over Amherst.

   Gibson set marks with 333 rushing yards and six touchdowns. He scored on runs of 3, 67, 55, 23, 4 and 50 yards.

   "He is all about football and I'm sure it was killing him to be out," coach Mike Fatta said. "He was just running hard. We have four quality receivers and a very good quarterback and a lot of times defenses have to spread out a little bit."

   More huge numbers: Livonia senior Josh Henderson rushed 16 times for 300 yards and six touchdowns in a 64-7 rout of Wayne. Henderson's only second-half carry for Livonia, which totaled 520 yards rushing, was a 76-yard touchdown.

   Brett Rodriguez of Class A No. 1 Queensbury ran for 110 yards and a TD, returned a kickoff 85 yards for a score and threw a 63-yard TD pass off a halfback option in a 40-17 win over Scotia-Glenville.

   Scoreboard: The Week 4 list of scores from around the state has been posted.

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