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South Park Continues Historic Run To State Semis

Last week the South Park made history at Ralph Wilson Stadium when they became the first Buffalo public high school ever to win a Section VI football championship. Friday night in Rochester, the Sparks made even more impressive history.

The Sparks jumped out to a 20-0 lead on Brockport and never let up, cruising to a 20-7 victory over the Blue Devils to advance to the New York State Class A final four in Syracuse next weekend.

Senior David Thomas, who helped Canisius win a catholic state title last year, racked up 286 all-purpose yards for the Sparks, including an 89-yard punt return in the first quarter and a 65-yard touchdown reception with under two minutes left in the first half.

Quarterback and Connolly Cup favorite Tyree Brown completed just 6 of his 21 pass attempts, but made them count for 141 yards while rushing for a game-high 126 yards on the ground including the game’s first touchdown.

Things will get unequivocally harder for South Park to keep their magical run alive next week in Syracuse when they face perennial state power Maine-Endwell next Friday night at 8p.m.  Maine-Edwell has won an eye-popping 62 straight games and four state titles in two class sizes.  They earned a date with South Park by throttling Whitesboro, 42-7 in the Central regional final.

The only other Section VI school to move onto the state final four is Class B Cheektowaga, who had Connolly Cup finalist Tyree Billingslea score the winning touchdown in a wild 43-36 win over Batavia. It’s the second straight year the Warriors beat Batavia to move on to Syracuse.

Batavia was ahead most of the game including leads of 14-0 and 22-6, but quarterback Eric Bartnik scored from four yards out with 9:02 left to tie the score at 36-36 and Billingslea scored from the goal line with 1:36 left in the fourth quarter for their first and only lead.

Batavia drove inside the Warriors 30 in the waning moments, but Trevor Darlak got an interception with just 19 seconds left to seal the win.

Rochester was the end of the road for Class C Maple Grove/Chautauqua Lake, who lost to Bath 16-8 as well as Class D Franklinville/Ellicottville, who lost to Bishop Kearney 22-12 and Orchard Park, who fell to Aquinas 42-7 in Class AA.

Also this weekend in an announcement carried live on the air by WGR550, the 10 finalists were announced for the Connolly Cup, given to Western New York’s top football player.

Here are the finalists, with the winner to be announced at a banquet in December.

♦ Tyree Billingslea (Cheektowaga)

♦ Tyree Brown (South Park)

♦ Terrell Ford (Kenmore West)

♦ John Dolac III (West Seneca East)

♦ Cole Burninston (Canisius)

♦ Lyle Grant (Alden)

♦ Dillon Janca (Orchard Park)

♦ Isaiah McDuffie (Bennett)

♦ Brandon Metz (St. Francis)

♦ Grayson Taylor (Cleveland Hill)

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