Leading off today:
Buffalo South Park became the first team from one of the state's Big 5 public-school districts since 1996 to win a NYSPHSAA football championship by beating Our Lady of Lourdes 49-46 in a fireworks-filled Class A championship game Friday.
The Sparks never trailed after early in the second quarter but three times responded with scores of their own in the second half after Lourdes TDs trimmed the deficits to three points. Tyree Brown scored on runs of 38 and 44 yards in that span wrapped around an Austin Neal 49-yard scamper.
Brown was unstoppable, running for four touchdowns and throwing for two. He carried 11 times for 217 yards and finished 7-for-15 for 140 yards through the air with three interceptions. Neal ran 12 times for 141 yards.
Brown also made 11 tackles on defense.
"A lot of people don't get to do things like this," he told The Buffalo News. "It means a lot to our community, to our players and our coaches. We worked all season. It finally paid off."
Lourdes had its own offensive stars in a game featuring 1,060 yards of total offense. Section 1 career passing yards leader Dean Rotger went 28-for-45 for 408 yards and three TDs to go with two rushing scores. Receiver Luke Timm caught 18 balls for 277 yards and three TDs.
Timm's 7-yard reception pulled Lourdes to within 49-46 with 2:53 to play, but South Park successfully covered the onside kick and proceeded to run out the clock.
"Watching the clock go to zero and we're up in the state championship at the Carrier Dome," Sparks coach Tim Delaney said. "It's pretty amazing."
Timm's 18 catches tied the state record set by Khalif Staten of Abraham Lincoln in 2006.
Buffalo's public schools began competing in the Section 6 playoffs in 2010. The last Big 5 district school to win a NYSPHSAA football championship had been Yonkers Roosevelt in 1996.
Tioga digs out of hole to win: Senior Jesse Manuel made a 46-yard interception return with 44 seconds left to set up his winning 33-yard touchdown run with :16 to go as Tioga downed Ticonderoga 33-26 in the Class D final at the Carrier Dome.
It was a breakthrough win for Tioga, a loser in the previous four NYSPHSAA semifinals and it capped a rally from a 14-0 deficit before the Tigers had run an offensive play in the first quarter.
Manuel ran for 215 yards, made four catches for 52 yards and scored three TDs to go with his crucial interception. That last minute of his scholastic career was a spectacular finish.
Ticonderoga tied the score at 26 on a 1-yard run by Brody Rocque with 2:18 left, and then Ryan Trudeau picked off Tioga quarterback Connor Hutchinson with 1:23 left. Facing third-and-7 from Tioga's 38, Ticonderoga threw deep for tight end Jacob Spaulding only to have Manuel intercept and run the ball back to the Ticonderoga 34.
Three plays later, Manuel took a handoff heading to his right, cut back sharply against the grain and scored on a 33-yard gallop.
Forks three-peats: Chenango Forks rolled up 480 yards on 45 rushing attempts and earned its third straight state Class C championship with a 42-7 victory over Greenwich.
Cody Lamond rushed for 172 yards and three touchdowns, and L.J. Watson scored two more TDs for the Blue Devils, who won 11 straight games after an early-season loss to Class A Maine-Endwell.
Lamond's first TD, a 61-yard run, gave Chenango Forks a 21-0 lead late in the second half, but Greenwich drove 61 yards in 13 plays to a TD just :14 before the half. Lamond capped a 10-play, 80-yard drive with an 11-yard TD run on Chenango Forks' first possession of the second half.