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Monday, Nov. 24, 2014: Maine-Endwell extends football streak to 50 games

   Leading off today: Maine-Endwell is now half way to an even hundred.

   The Spartans scored the first 20 points, led 48-20 at the half and defeated Cheektowaga 54-28 in the NYSPHSAA Class B football semifinals Sunday in Rochester. It was Maine-Endwell's 50th consecutive victory -- the nation's fifth-longest active streak -- and put the team one win away from a fourth straight state championship at the Carrier Dome.

   Quarterback Kyle Balmer rushed 13 times for 199 yards and three touchdowns, and Adam Gallagher scored two TDs in a 127-yard rushing effort to set up a rematch with Schalmont, which fell to late M-E heroics in the 2013 final in Syracuse.

   Cheektowaga, located in the community that was the epicenter of the freak winter storms that dumped seven feet of show on some Western New York towns last week, managed to practice just twice since its victory in the state quarterfinals.

   "Hats off to coach (Mike) Fatta and that team, what they had to go through and they came to play," Spartans coach Matt Gallagher told the Press & Sun-Bulletin. "I'm sure it was terrible up there and the resiliency of the kids showed for them. They came out and gave us all we could handle."

   M-E scored TDs on all six of its first-half possessions, five of which were drives of four or fewer plays.

   Indian River runs wild: Indian River rolled to a 49-22 victory over Irondequoit in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class A semifinals be rushing for a staggering 496 yards and passing for another 94.

   The Warriors missed three days of practice due to the early winter storm but came flying out of the gate vs. Irondequoit. Indian River established itself with a 16-play, 85-yard touchdown drive on its first possession.

   Irondequoit closed to 22-15 with a TD in the closing moments of the second quarter, but Indian River needed just two plays on its opening drive of the second half -- a 46-yard run by fullback Dustin Sharrit (18 carries, 123 yards and a pair of TDs) and a Densel Barnes QB keeper for a 35-yard score.

   "We treated it as just another bump in the road," Barnes, who ran for 121 yards and three touchdowns and passed for a fourth score, told The Daily Times. "Our game plan is pretty simple. If we execute well and everyone does their job, we're tough to stop. That first drive of both halves really showed Irondequoit we meant business."

   After Irondequoit clicked on a 66-yard TD pass from Sean Mannion to D.J. Walker, Indian River needed just seven plays to go 65 yards with Barnes carrying the final eight yards for a 36-22 lead after the conversion.

   "That was Indian River football at its best, said Sharrit.

   Said Irondequoit coach Dan Fichter: "I didn't think


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  • anybody could run the ball on us like that. They are going to be a handful to beat."

       Hoops signing: Cardinal Hayes 6-foot-10 center Akintoye Ojo signed with Manhattan College last week, making him the school's ninth basketball player in four years to sign with a Division I program. Among them is Tyler Wilson, a starting guard for the Jaspers' last season.

       Ojo arrived at Hayes from Nigeria as a sophomore. He helped Hayes reach the 2014 CHSAA semifinals, where the Cardinals lost to eventual city and state Federation champion Christ the King.

       Coming tomorrow (I hope): The Basketball Coaches Association of New York has firmed up its class of hall of fame inductees for March 2015 in Glens Falls. I'll unveil the names of those being inducted in my next blog.

       Extra points: York football coach Eric Amorese has resigned after going 28-27 in seven seasons with three division titles.

       There's a hockey game scheduled there for the second Friday in March and Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial in Rochester is closed the following day to set up for something called "Disney Junior Live: Pirate and Princess Adventure!" on Sunday, so look for the NYSPHSAA boys basketball quarterfinals between Sections 5 and 6 to be booked into a high school gym this season.

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