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Saturday, Nov. 26, 2016: Cambridge goes two OTs to earn Class D crown

   Leading off today: Trailing by a point in the second overtime against Maple Grove, Cambridge coach Doug Luke played for the win.

   And Shawn Lemieux delivered it, catching the conversion pass from junior quarterback Zack Rowland to earn a 22-21 win in the NYSPHSAA Class D championship game at the Carrier Dome on Friday.

   "I still don't believe what happened," Lemieux told The Times Union.

   Said Rowland: "It may have been seconds, but in my mind it felt like forever. Once the ball left my hand, it just fell into his hands. Then we were state champs. It is amazing."

   Cambridge had the ball first in overtime, but Colton Dean fumbled it away without being hit and Maple Grove recovered it. Maple Grove running back Brad Benson (139 yards rushing) gained 10 yards on first down, but then QB Dalton Dubois fumbled and junior Brenden Holcomb recovered.

   Said Holcomb: "I thought, 'Oh my God, we just caught the biggest break we ever could have caught.'"

   Maple Grove's Nick Fabrizio scored on a 2-yard touchdown run to open the second overtime and the Red Dragons kicked the extra point.

   On fourth-and-10 from the 20, Rowland threw under pressure to Holcomb over the middle for 12 yards and a fresh set of downs. On the next play, senior running back Maurice Seymore scored on a sweep to set up the decisive conversion.

   NV ends on winning note: Newark Valley recovered from three giveaways in the first seven minutes but closed out a perfect season by fighting off Ogdensburg Free Academy for a 39-34 win in Class C.

   Joe Dalton completed four of five passes, the last a 10-yarder to Jackson Troiano for a TD which pulled the Devils within 36-28 after a successful 2-point conversion.

   Newark Valley followed with an 80-yard drive aided by a fourth-down fake punt and two third-down conversions. A 33-yard field goal by A.J. Coleman made the lead 39-28 with 3:18 left.

   It was the Cardinals' first close call since a 20-12 win over Owego in the opener.

   "Awesome, best feeling in the world," said senior Aaron Gorsline.

   Somers triumphs: Somers bagged its first championship by defeating Greece Athena 25-17. The Tuskers became Section 1's first state champion in four years and first Class A winner since Nyack in 2003.

   It's believed that Tony DeMatteo became the first coach with tournament titles at two schools, having also won a Class AA title with Yonkers Roosevelt two decades ago.

   Senior Matt Pires had 153 yards on just nine touches, including a 45-yard touchdown catch from Kevin Olifiers from a 33-yard reverse that gave Somers a 19-10 advantage late in the third quarter.

   Messiah Horne added 28 carries for 99 yards and a touchdown and also scored on the game's decisive play. It came shortly after he lost a fumble at the Athena 7. The defense forced the Trojans to punt and Horne darted 40 through the coverage team for the winning touchdown.

   "I knew he was going to come back from that," Pires told The Journal News. "He is one of the toughest, most non-selfish kids I've ever met. For him to come back on that and score a touchdown the next time out there is something special."

   Horne's return gave Somers a 25-10 lead with 8:49 to play despite a violent collision at the goal line. The officials ruled that Horne had crossed the plane prior to the ball popping loose.

   Statistical oddity: Cambridge's triumph in the Friday opener was the first for a team in the East portion of the bracket since Queensbury's Class A championship in 2013.

   The West won the remaining four games that weekend and then all five games in both 2014 and 2015.


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  •    The East has won majority of championship games twice since 2001 (3 wins each in 2005 and 2012).

       Long Island Championships: Leading 21-14 with 3:40 remaining, Wantagh cornerback Anthony D'Onofrio batted away Kyle Fleitman's pass on 4th-and-8 at the 15-yard line to preserve the win over East Islip in the Long Island Class III final.

       Gavin Casey and Tommy Rohan combined for 115 yards on 27 carries and scored twice. Warriors quarterback Jake Castellano was 5-for-7 for 86 yards and had a touchdown.

       Wantagh had shut out Floral Park, Bethpage and Roosevelt in the playoffs before knocking East Islip opened the game with a score on its first possession.

       "When they were up 7-0," coach Dave Sachs said, "I turned around and told the kids we lined up wrong four times, we lined up right once, they got minus two (yards). They completed a pass they'll never complete again. I said it's 7-0 and I told the team I never felt better."

       Rashad Tucker completed 5-of-8 passes for 124 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 94 yards on 13 carries as Freeport went wire-to-wire to beat William Floyd 28-14 in the Class I championship.

       The Red Devils scored on their first four series. On the third play from scrimmage, Tucker connected with Jaelin Hood for a 44-yard touchdown. Running back Aaje Grayson scored from six yards out on the next series. On the third series, Tucker and Hood hooked up for the second time, a 49-yard touchdown on the first play of the second quarter. Tucker added a 17-yard touchdown run.

       "We knew if we got the ball in space to certain guys that we could make plays," coach Russ Cellan said. "We knew we could make plays offensively, but they answered the bell defensively. The stuff that we needed to do, we did well. So I was very pleased."

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