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Monday, Nov. 16, 2015: Zembiec, Jones pace Aquinas past Orchard Park

   Leading off today: Jake Zembiec threw four touchdown passes and Jamir Jones made five receptions and an interception for Aquinas in a 42-7 win over Orchard Park on Sunday in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association football quarterfinals.

   Zembiec connected with classmate Earnest Edwards for touchdown throws of 52 and 24 yards. He also hit Jones on a 4-yard TD throw and Jason Hawkes on a 33-yarder. The Penn State-bound quarterback was 15 of 21 for 230 yards with no interceptions.

   Jones, who made eight tackles at linebacker, had 78 yards worth of catches.

   Edwards' 33-yard punt return set up a Little Irish TD in the game's opening minute. Junior Tyler Olbrich scored from four yards out.

   The Quakers tied, but Edwards' 52-yard catch and run and Jones' TD shortly afterward sent Aquinas off to the races and on to next weekend's semifinals at Cicero-North Syracuse.

   "It's a terrific way to go out," Aquinas senior lineman Bishop Simmons told the Democrat and Chronicle. "It's been a great honor to play here, with these teammates, my brothers."

   In the Western Region's Class B game, Cheektowaga fought back to beat Batavia 43-36.

   Junior QB Eric Bartnik completed 26 of 32 passes for 310 yards and a touchdown and also rushed for 61 yards and two scores. Stephan Parker caught 12 passes for 145 yards and a touchdown., and running back Tyree Billingslea carried 21 times for 210 yards and three TDs. Billingslea's score with 1:36 to go broke a 36-36 tie.

   Saturday football: Time constraints prevented me from rounding up the highlights yesterday, but I did want to make note of a few tidbits:

   In the NYSPHSAA Class AA quarterfinals, New Rochelle broke to a three-TD lead on the strength of three fumbles -- two of which were forced by sophomore linebacker Lloyd King -- and held on to eliminate Newburgh 21-20.    New Ro's all-time record in the quarterfinals is now 6-1.

   In the other game, Liverpool dug its way out of a two-TD deficit and beat Elmira 27-22 to reach the semifinals for the first time in 17 years.

   The Warriors advanced by driving 59 yards to a TD in the final two minutes. Jaydakis Scott (25 carries, 146 yards) ran for three TDs, including the winner with :48 remaining.

   In Class B, Cazenovia took home a 17-14 victory over Waverly on a 22-yard overtime field goal from the right hash by Cole Willard, a senior in his first season of football after previously playing soccer.

   Cazenovia then stopped Waverly on its possession to wrap up the triumph.


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  •    "I was pretty nervous, but we've played in a couple of big games before, as you know, in lacrosse," Willard, a Penn State recruit in that sport, told "That is my worst angle to kick a field goal, across my body. I'm usually not good at those in practice."

       Cazenovia advances to its first NYSPHSAA football semifinal since 1996.

       Hayes advances: Playing for the first time since lineman Demalo Cowan's death last weekend, Cardinal Hayes beat St. Anthony's 44-39 in the CHSFL Class AAA semifinals.

       Cowan, 16, died when he fell off the roof of the Bronx building he lived in, according to police, who are still investigating.

       The victory puts the Cardinals in their first CHSFL title game, where they will face state co-No. 1 Archbishop Stepinac.

       Hayes broke to leads of 18-0 and 38-20, then had to hang on vs. the Friars. Senior running back Justin Covington finished with four TDs and more than 150 yards on the ground.

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