Leading off today:
"The craziest third quarter I've been a part of in my 23 years as coach," Pioneer's Jim Duprey told The Buffalo News on Friday.
It's pretty safe to say few football coaches have seen anything to match what took place in the Panthers' 50-43 victory over East Aurora/Holland ... unless they were watching the Morrisville-Eaton/Hamilton vs. Herkimer game a few hours to the East.
First things first:
EA/H and Pioneer combined for 40 third-quarter points thanks in no small part to four kickoff returns for touchdowns -- including three by the losing team. Junior J.T. McCabe started it with a 70-yard return for EA/H on the first play of the third quarter. The quarter's second play was Pioneer's response -- a 90-yard scoring return by Todd Thompson.
Later in the period, Thompson (35 carries for 253 yards) would score on runs of 8 and 58 yards. But each of those tallies was followed by 70-yard kickoff returns for TDs by Jacey Jakubczak.
Pioneer's Thompson scored his fifth TD of the game in the fourth quarter to give his team breathing room. He also contributed three two-point conversions in the victory.
Meanwhile, you probably regretted it if you blinked late in the third quarter of Herkimer's 48-26 win over Morrisville-Eaton/Hamilton. That's because the teams scored 26 points in a span of 1:03 -- without the help of a kickoff return to the end zone.
The sequence began with a 1-yard sneak by Herkimer sophomore QB Wyatt Renshaw. M-E/H fumbled the subsequent kickoff and Antonio Aceto ran 39 yards two plays later for the third of his four touchdowns. On the first play after the ensuing kickoff, the Vipers' Alex Featherly broke off a 73-yard TD run to cut the deficit to 33-18.
But Aceto responded with a 60-yard touchdown run on Herkimer's next play from scrimmage, and Marshall Borek converted his second extra=point kick of the sequence to close out the points frenzy.
Aceto finished the night with 359 yards on 24 carries. His second-quarter TD runs of 59 and 28 yards came on the first plays of possessions after M-E/H punter and turned the ball over on downs.
Inter-association clash: Archbishop Stepinac earned a 28-12 win over Cornwall in a contest matching the two-time defending CHSFL large-school champion against NYSPHSAA Section 9's perennial Class A champion.
Stepinac's Steve Ramos recovered a fumble on the opening kickoff of the second half and the Crusaders' Jonathan Gomez, a transfer from Sleepy Hollow, scored four plays later on an 8-yard run to extend its lead to 14-6.
"We were waiting for a big play," senior captain Antonio Giannico told The Journal News.
Stepinac didn't need to wait long for its next big play. On the Green Dragons' ensuing possession, Devonte Myles intercepted a tipped ball, and Atrillieon Williams ran yards for a touchdown four plays later.
Gomez finished with 109 yards on 10 carries.
Section 3 upset: Josh Klosner's pair of rushing touchdowns in the fourth quarter capped Central Valley Academy's 30-7 upset of Utica Notre Dame. The Thunder led just 14-7 after three quarters before Klosner scored on runs of 1 and 22 yards.
Big performances: John Perugino had 293 yards receiving and five touchdowns, but Marlboro fell to James I. O'Neill 63-43.