Sports Editor’s Playbook, Dec. 2, 2013


Patrick Newell

What a weekend for football – except for my beloved Bills, who bungled a loss out of possible victory.
It was rivalry weekend in college football, and although I prefer the pro game, how could one not appreciate the drama that unfolded? The glitter of my night turned to gold in the “Iron Bowl” as Auburn knocked off number one Alabama in one of the most dramatic endings in recent memory. To sum up:  Alabama missed a long game-winning field attempt that was retrieved nine yards deep in the endzone by the Tigers’ Chris Davis. Davis made a couple of nice moves – certainly nothing Barry Sanders-like – to avoid the lumbering ‘Bama field goal team, and ran 109 yards for the game-winning points. I bear no allegiance to anything in the state of Alabama, but I joined with the millions watching the with a victory lap around my living room. It got better on Sunday because of the local flavor that aired on Time Warner’s local sports station. Over a year ago, my cable package was realigned based on the the digitizing of certain channels. For my purposes, out went the Golf Channel, and in came TWS. The lineup change was well worth it Sunday afternoon as Time Warner aired the New York State football championship games. Chenango Forks beat Rye Neck in the C final, while Maine-Endwell rallied to beat Schalmont in the B title tilt. On their roads to state title games, Forks and M-E beat local teams in lopsided fashion. One of our area coaches was not entirely impressed by the Blue Devils, although he probably could be persuaded to change that opinion now. In an interesting coincidence, the final determining play was a two-point conversion attempt in the final moments. Chenango Forks stopped Rye Neck’s two-point try to take the lead, while Maine-Endwell – after scoring with four seconds left in the fourth quarter – went for two and the win. The Spartans did everything wrong in the first half except for a key defensive stop or two. Even after failing to capitalize on Schalmont’s fumble to start the third quarter, these Spartans showed remarkable resolve.
M-E senior quarterback Kyle Gallagher drove his team 75 yards for a score in less than 90 seconds, the last a four-yard scoring toss to Jake Sinicki. The Spartans sent out kicker Stephen Pham for the tying extra point, but Schalmont called timeout to ice the kicker. In the pro game, I have yet to see a team try to ice the kicker on an extra point, but hey, this is high school football. Giving an extra minute, the M-E coaching staff reconsidered, and came back out with its regular offense. With everything on the line – an unbeaten season, 37 straight wins, and a possible third straight state title -  M-E pulled off the gutsy move when Gallagher found a wide-open Darnell Woolfolk for the two-point toss. I guess Woolfolk was not supposed to run a pass pattern, but after some brief scrambling by Gallagher, drifted to an unattended spot. It was a perfect ending to a third straight perfect season for the Spartans.
If only the Bills could hang on to the ball.
 
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