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Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016: Stepinac defense survives erroneous fifth down

   Leading off today: An apparent officiating blunder couldn't derail Archbishop Stepinac in its 42-34 win Saturday vs. Iona Prep.

   The Stepinac sideline started celebrating with 40 seconds to play after the Crusaders stopped Iona Prep's potent pass offense on fourth down. Trouble is, the down marker was wrong and the officials gave the Gaels what amounted to a fifth down.

   It didn't matter. Stepinac junior Trill Williams intercepted a tipped pass and returned it 70 yards to cap the victory. It was Williams' fifth touchdown of the day in between battling cramps that forced him to the sideline for treatment.

   "I lost all my energy, but I still tried to fight for my team," Williams told The Journal News. "They're a big part of me and I love them, so I had to keep fighting for them."

   Iona Prep QB Mike Apostolopoulos went 29-for-50 for 342 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Michael DeGasparis had 13 catches for 211 yards and two scores.

   Iona Prep drove 85 yards and pulled within 35-34 against the state's third-ranked Class AA team on Rodney Samson Jr.'s 3-yard run. New coach Joe Spagnolo, the former Stepinac offensive coordinator, opted to go for the lead but Apostolopoulos' pass to Johnryan Freeman was broken up by Justin Hariston.

   "I told the kids before the drive, 'When we score, we're going for two,'" Spagnolo said. "Right now we do have some inconsistency in the special teams game. We were down a couple guys on defense. The way I took at it is, if we can't get three yards, we don't deserve to win the game."

   Samson Jr. recovered the ensuing onside kick, which led to the fifth-down heroics by Williams.

   "Trill's a cheat code," Stepinac senior Antonio Giannico said. "He went off and he's going to go off the rest of the season."

   Home streak snapped: Cazenovia's 52-game home winning streak ended with a 28-27 loss to Utica Notre Dame. It also ended the defending NYSPHSAA Class B champions' overall 15-game winning streak.

   The Jugglers rallied for 14 points in the fourth quarter and prevailed when Isiah Czarnecki blocked a punt and the ball was recovered in the end zone for a touchdown by A.J. Papa with 4:55 to go. Tom Roefaro kicked the extra point for the final score.

   Notre Dame quarterback Jaylen Warmack threw three TD passes. Cazenovia, ranked third in the state, turned the ball over four times, had three punts blocked and missed an extra point.

   Canisius now 3-0: The 2016 renewal of one of the better series in the state did not disappoint. No. 2 Canisius earned a 33-20 home win over No. 18 Aquinas in Class AA action.

   Mason Hoose's 2-yard touchdown run in the third quarter gave Canisius the lead for good, and the defense held Aquinas to just 10 yards of offense in the fourth quarter.

   With Aquinas down 21-20, Caron Robinson (15 carries, 216 yards, two TDs) broke off a 20-yard gain to the Canisius 40, only to have an official throw a flag on a blocker for illegally aiding the runner. An Aquinas assistant's reaction drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. That resulted in head coach Chris Battaglia getting flagged seconds later and ejected.

   Battaglia told The Buffalo News he didn't curse or yell. "I was questioning the penalty and he didn't like I was questioning the penalty," he said. "I'm embarrassed I got thrown out."

   The ejection triggered an automatic suspension for Battaglia when Aquinas takes on St. Joseph's in Week 4.

   TDs galore: Scoreboard operators worked overtime in Section 4 this weekend. Lansing scored 60 points in a win over Whitney Point and Tioga tagged Elmira Heights Edison for 66 ... and those offensive outbursts ranked as also-rans.

  
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   Windsor defeated Dryden 71-17 on Friday, then Saturday gave us a 73-32 win by Harpursville/Afton 73 over Seton Catholic and a 74-46 win by Elmira over Ithaca.

   Elmira took control in the second quarter by scoring all four times it had the ball for a 44-20 advantage, the teams combined for seven TDs in the third quarter.

   Lansing's win included 335 rushing yards and five TDs on just 11 carries by senior running back Tim Kelly. He also returned a kickoff 84 yards for a score.

   Also noteworthy: Glenmour Osbourne had 25 carries for 361 yards and five touchdowns as White Plains defeated Mount Vernon 44-18. The Tigers rushed for 481 yards on 50 carries.

   Lawrence's Chris Collier ran 19 times for 290 yards and scored touchdowns on runs of 37, 11, 64, 77 and 6 yards to beat Levittown Division 48-22.

   Somber moment: Players from Brentwood and Northport paid tribute Saturday to the two teenage girls killed in Brentwood earlier this week.

   Players from each team placed a white carnation sprayed with green -- Brentwood's school colors-- below the scoreboard in honor of Nisa Mickens, 15, and Kayla Cuevas, 16.

   Mickens was found dead from an apparent beating on a sidewalk Tuesday night by a passing motorist, police said. Cuevas, who was also beaten, was found by a resident the next evening in woods not far from where her best friend was found. A law enforcement source told Newsday Cuevas had recently gotten into a dispute with students believed to be gang members. No arrests have been made and no motive has been disclosed.

   Police are offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of those responsible for the killings.

   Scoreboard: Here's a look at all of this weekend's football scores.


  
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