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Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016: Troy, Glens Falls cap season with thrilling wins

   Leading off today: The last time John Germinerio had been to the Carrier Dome for a high school football game was as a grade-school student watching Troy drop a heartbreaking championship game to Rush-Henrietta. On Saturday, he left the building a happier young man.

   The two-way standout overcame two early interceptions, threw for 222 yards and made the crucial tackle on a 2-point conversion attempt as Troy defeated Victor 21-20 in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class AA championship game.

   Dev Holmes scored two touchdowns and amassed 214 yards of offense and Joey Ward ran for 92 yards and a TD, but it came down to a single play on defense after Victor's Chris Varone scored on a 7-yard run with 5:15 to play to pull the Blue Devils within 21-20.

   Victor coach Geoff Mandile opted to go for two points and the lead. The Blue Devils set up nearly the entire offensive line to the far right and quarterback Clay Bleier behind center between the hash marks. Bleier threw left to Cordell Jackson at the sideline, but Germinerio was able th shed a block and make the stop.

   "We had some momentum and we were moving the ball. It just didn't work out," Mandile told The Daily Messenger. "I can't hit rewind. I can second-guess myself all night, but I'll drive myself crazy."

   After that, Victor needed a defensive stop and nearly had it, too. A false start pushed Troy back to its 21 until Germinerio found Jessie Brown on a flood pass over the middle on third-and-9 for a 56-yard gain with 1:19 left. The Flying Horses took three knees after that to end the game.

   "I can't really express how pumped I am to win this state championship," Germinerio told The Record. "The best feeling of my life."

   The day's first game of the doubleheader was every bit as scintillating and also came down to a 2-point conversion. A wall of Glens Falls defenders collapsed on Chenango Forks' L.J. Watson inside the 1-yard line with :37 left in the Class B contest, preserving the lead.

   Glens Falls' Andrew Murphy returned the subsequent onside kick 50 yards for a TD and the Indians came away with a 47-39 win over Forks, which had won the past three Class C titles.

   "This is the most surreal feeling -- to put in all the work we put in all year, it just came together for this one game," senior safety Brandon Vachon told The Post-Star. "It took a lot of hard work, preparation and Glens Falls toughness."

   Glens Falls scored on six of its first eight possessions, but the Blue Devils scored on five of their first seven, including a touchdown just before halftime to tie the score 27-27.

   "They wouldn't go away," said Aaron Sampson, who led Glens Falls with 165 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries.

   Joe Girard III, who passed to Dylan Balcom for two touchdowns and ran for two more, gave Glens Falls the lead for good at 40-33 on a 3-yard run on fourth-and-goal with 8:54 left. After an exchange of punts, Chenango Forks drove 68 yards in 12 plays -- converting two fourth downs -- on a drive capped by Cody Bogue's 16-yard TD pass to Connor Borchardt.

   Forks went for two and turned to Watson, who rushed for 191 yards and two scores. But the handoff wasn't clean and Watson was contained on the right sideof the line.

   "You can't fault them for (running), they were averaging more than 3 yards a carry," Glens Falls coach Pat Lilac said.

   PSAL progress: Junior quarterback Quincy Barnes completed two touchdown passes to Amad Anderson to help Curtis rally for a 24-13 victory that advanced the top seed to the New York City championship game next Friday at Yankee Stadium.


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  •    Barnes' 41-yard completion to Anderson (5 catches, 111 yards, 3 TDs) gave Curtis an 18-13 lead with 8:41, and the Warriors' Josh Decambre made two interceptions as the defense forced four turnovers.

       Curtis will meet Erasmus Hall in the title game. The Dutchmen reached their third straight final by edging Abraham Lincoln 27-26.

       Trailing with :45 left, Lincoln had a 2nd-and-10 snap at the Erasmus Hall 15. Quarterback Faruq Shittu (18-for-23, 241 yards and three TDs) scrambled to the 1, where the ball popped loose and defender Shockuone Bobbitt recovered in the end zone for a touchback.

       Aron Cruickshank had a hand on all of Erasmus Hall's scores. He completed 7-of-19 passes for 194 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for 124 yards on 22 carries and had a touchdown.

       Following up: Cambridge senior tackle/linebacker Lucas Winchester suffered a neck injury during Friday's Class D state championship game, but was doing all right later that evening, The Post-Star reported.

       Winchester reportedly suffered a transverse non-displaced fracture of his C6 vertebra during a collision with Maple Grove quarterback Dalton Dubois late in the third quarter.

       "They said it'll probably be a month or a little more before he's able to do anything," coach Doug Luke said. "There's no long-term (nerve) damage, it'll just take time to heal."

       Despite the injury, Winchester received the game's most outstanding offensive lineman award.

       More later: I'll be back later Sunday to recap Saturday's cross country action and maybe even break a little bit of news.

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