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Sunday, Nov. 30, 2014: Jamestown, Forks, Randolph win NYSPHSAA finals

   Leading off today: Jamestown pulled away steadily and defeated Newburgh Free Academy 41-20 on Saturday to win the NYSPHSAA Class AA football championship at the Carrier Dome.

   Junior quarterback Nikkolas Holland threw for 246 yards and a touchdown while running for 138 yards and three more scores on 15 carries, and Zack Panebianco caught six passes for 125 yards and a score.

   The Red Raiders' Devan Jackson capped a 12-play, 62-yard drive with a 7-yard TD run with 3:34 left in the first quarter and Jamestown (12-1) made it 14-3 just 15 seconds later as Jackson ripped the ball out of the hands of kick returner Anthony Dubose and ran 44 yards for the touchdown.

   "He was held up so I just took the ball," Jackson told The Buffalo News.

   Newburgh (9-3) kicked another field goal, but Jamestown needed just five plays to counter as a 45-yard pass from Holland to Panebianco put the ball at the 1. Holland scored on the next play to make it 21-6 with 7:53 left in the half.

   Anthony Dubose (21 carries, 259 yards) of Newburgh scored on a 41-yard run with 2:21 left in the quarter after a Holland, but Jamestown drove to another score on Holland's 3-yard run to make it 28-13. Holland scored on a 2-yarder early in the fourth quarter and a 22-yard TD pass to Panebianco with 3:35 left for the final margin.

   Wild start to the day: Senior QB Bryce Morrison's fifth rushing TD of the game with :26 left capped a big Randolph (12-1) comeback against Chester and gave the Cardinals their third straight New York State Public High School Athletic Association championship in Class D by a 48-41 score.

   Morrison and senior running back Devyn Nelson (25 carries, 289 yards, one TD) ran for 464 of the Cardinals' 466 yards, with the rally from the 27-6 halftime deficit officially complete when Morrison picked off Chester QB Vincent Aloi near the Cards' 20 in the waning seconds.

   "I've never played in a game like this, being down 27-6 and being able to come out with a win like that," Morrison told The Buffalo News. "I give all my guys the credit. They were unbelievable."

   Said Randolph coach Brent Brown: "I don't remember ever in 25 years" of coaching "being down like that going into halftime of any game let alone a state championship game. Those kids were not going to quit. We made a couple of adjustments to slow them down a little bit, barely, but it was enough."

   Aloi passed for 266 of his team's 324 first-half yards as Chester scored on every possession but its final one for the 27-6 halftime lead. The Cardinals received second-half kickoff and proceeded to score on every possession the rest of the day. Nelson took the first offensive play of the third quarter 62 yards to Chester's 15 to help set up Morrison's first TD, a 1-yard run.

   Morrison's scoring carried of 44, 8 and 1 yard pushed Randolph ahead 40-35 with 2:55 to go, but Aloi (23 of 40, 455 yards, 4 TDs) found Justin Feldman for a 31-yard TD play just 32 seconds later to finish off a five-play drive.

   Needing to go 65 yards in 1:00, Morrison got the job done in four plays -- passes of 42 and 18 yards to Derek Young, an intentional spike to stop the clock and then the QB's 5-yard TD carry.

   When it was over, the teams had combined for 51 first downs and Chester outgained Randolph 557-530.

   Forks triumphs: Chenango Forks senior Ryan Bronson ran for 192 yards and two touchdowns as the Blue Devils defended their Class C crown with a 20-14 win vs. Hoosick Falls in the middle game of the Carrier Dome tripleheader.

   Bronson scored on runs of 4 and 43 yards, giving Forks (12-1) the lead for good with 6:54 remaining. Tim McDonald added a 24-yard TD run for Forks, which won the fourth state title in program history.

   "It's not hard to call plays, it's like 'Bronson, where do you want to go?'" Forks coach David Hogan told the Press & Sun-Bulletin. "I wouldn't have expected him to carry it 30 times because he plays so hard on defense, but if there's anyone that can handle it, Ryan can."

   Canisius wins MMA title: Canisius defeated Bishop Timon-St. Jude 35-8 for its third straight Monsignor Martin Association championship, sending the Crusaders into next week's CHSAA championship against Archbishop Stepinac.


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  •    Canisius scored the final 21 points, thanks in large part to two big plays by junior Justin Jones -- a 35-yard TD reception and 33-yard TD run). Senior T.J. Wheatley made a 22-yard TD catch, six tackles and two sacks and forced a fumble, and senior running back Mitch Thomas had 13 carries for 169 yards and a TD.

       "We have another game to play, and I think you saw that by the reaction of the kids," Canisius coach Rich Robbins said. "We're happy, we're going to celebrate a little bit, but it's back to work tomorrow for Stepinac."

       PSAL semifinals: Senior receiver/running back Luis Rodriguez scored three touchdowns for the second consecutive week, sparking Abraham Lincoln to a 27-0 win over Grand Street Campus in the PSAL semifinals.

       Rodriguez put the Railsplitters ahead for good on their first possession, scoring on a 26-yard run with 7:45 left in the first quarter. Junior kicker Axel Pembele connected on a 28-yard field goal and then a 34-yarder to end the first quarter.

       Lincoln will make its fourth title appearance in five years against Erasmus Hall at Yankee Stadium on Dec. 9. Erasmus Hall defeated Curtis 39-22 as Shavar Braithwaite scored on runs of 21 and 70 yards.

       Junior QB Aaron Grant completed first-half touchdown passes to Jahsen Wint and Keon Gravenhise i n the win.

       Strong take: Donn Esmonde of The Buffalo News has long been a strong writer, first as the paper's sports columnist and for many years now as the news columnist. He's one of the reasons I read that paper as often as any other news source in the state.

       When he writes, people listen. And then they talk about what he wrote, often continuing the conversation for days.

       The reason I mention this is what he wrote Saturday on the subject of football. Here's the lead:

    "Mama, don't let your babies grow up to be Cowboys.

    Or Steelers, Rams, Raiders, Browns or even Bills.

    More to the point, why let your "babies" play football at all – unless you're willing to roll the dice with their brains?

    Thanksgiving came locally with a side dish of sadness. A front-page story Thursday revealed the deteriorating mental and physical state of ex-Buffalo Bill Darryl Talley. Sports reporter Tim Graham chronicled in distressing detail Talley's suicidal depression, memory loss and physical pain – consequences of his decades on the gridiron, including 12 years as a Bill.

    Talley's condition, along with the brain-damage death last year of Damon Janes, the 16-year old Brocton Central School football player, has brought home the potential toll of a violent sport."

       You might as well read the rest of the column, because there's no way people won't be talking about it this week.

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