Zeke Wright rushed for 188 yards and two touchdowns Saturday as Groton took advantage of four Harpursville turnovers and advanced to the Section 4 Class D football title game with a 30-15 victory in the semifinals at Binghamton Alumni Stadium.
Groton advances to Friday night’s Class D championship game, slated for 7 p.m. at Ty Cobb Stadium at Union-Endicott High, where it will take on defending sectional champion Tioga. The Tigers (8-1) defeated Unatego in Friday’s other semifinal, 26-21.
One of Wright’s scores was a 75-yarder in the second quarter, which put the Indians (8-1) ahead by 11 points, 18-7. The Hornets moved the ball deep into Groton territory following that touchdown, but junior Steven Lee fumbled at the Indians’ 5-yard line. Teammate Mason Dean rushed for 124 yards on 23 carries, but also committed a costly fumble, with 3:01 to play and Groton ahead, 24-15.
“We just made too many mistakes,” said Harpursville coach Tim Petras, whose team had won seven straight in its first winning season since the 1980s. “We took too many penalties, some of which were questionable, and turnovers. When you have (four) turnovers and they have zero, and they play good fundamental football, it’s tough to win games.”
Midway through the second quarter, with Groton up 12-7, Indians quarterback Jeff Hatfield threw a sideline pass that slipped through the hands of Harpursville defensive back Dean. Had the senior co-captain come up with the interception, he had clear sailing to the end zone for a go-ahead touchdown. Instead, Groton scored two plays later on Wright’s 75-yard touchdown run.
Harpursville crowded the line with nine defenders for much of the game, but Wright was able to find creases on the interior and use his speed to gain the edge outside. Fullback Joey Scaglione picked up 63 yards to complement Wright.
* Chenango Forks 48, Lansing 12: CF’s first five possessions brought touchdowns Saturday in the Blue Devils’ 48-12 Section 4 Class C football semifinal dismantling of Lansing (6-3) at Binghamton Alumni Stadium.
Fullback Isaiah Zimmer rushed for 199 yards and three touchdowns, and Jake Green intercepted three passes for the Blue Devils (9-0), who’ll seek a 10th sectional championship in a dozen-year span when they oppose defending champ Waverly (9-0) in the final. Kickoff is slated for 5 p.m. Saturday at Union-Endicott.
Eleven Forks rushers contributed to a 378-yard output, and quarterback John Colm Sweeney turned one of his two pass completions into a 32-yard touchdown to go with his 74-yard rushing output.
Lansing’s scores came on a second-quarter pass of 10 yards from Mason Carrican to Troy Osterman, and on a 1-yard, fourth-quarter rush by Tyler Winslow one play after Carrican hit Andrew Maul for 37 yards on third-and-9.
* Binghamton 62, Ithaca 8: A 502-yard offensive outburst was the root of Binghamton High’s rout of Ithaca in a Section 4 Class AA football semifinal Friday night at Alumni Stadium.
Speedy junior Amman Weaver, primary beneficiary of the Patriots’ overall physical superiority, closed with 241 rushing yards and a personal-best six touchdowns on a night the hosts led by 49-8 at halftime.
The outcome earned Binghamton (7-2) a title-game berth Saturday night at Union-Endicott’s Ty Cobb Stadium opposite Elmira (5-4).
The Express avenged a 24-point Week 2 loss to Corning by putting a 45-25 beating on the Hawks in Friday’s other semifinal.
Four weeks ago, the Patriots were far short of sharp on the way to a 34-6 win over the Little Red. This time, though, it was 33-8 with 3:20 gone in the second quarter after Weaver turned his eighth and final carry of the first half into a 53-yard touchdown.
Weaver’s offensive onslaught was complemented by a 9-for-12, 156-yard passing outing from Andre Yevchinecz. It was an avalanche of offense with which Ithaca (1-8) was unable to cope.
Ithaca’s touchdown, 2:20 into the second quarter, was a 50-yard Julian Tino-to-Jaedon Henderson pass, one play after the two connected for a 12-yard gain. Tino finished with 132 passing yards on the strength of five double-digit completions, but Ithaca’s run game was limited to a net 79 yards.
* Spencer-Van Etten 42, Trumansburg 26: Elijah Burns rushed for 102 yards and three touchdowns to propel the Panthers (7-2) past the Blue Raiders (2-7) Friday in the season finale for both teams.
Burns scored on a 13-yard run in the first quarter, and 1-yard runs in both the second and third quarters as S-VE built a 35-7 lead after three periods.
Dylan Mosher led the Blue Raiders with 94 yards and two touchdowns, including a 48-yard burst in the second quarter. He also caught a 44-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Colin Fellows (8-for-25, 125 yards).
Kyle Pierce scored on a 51-yard interception return in the second quarter for S-VE, and Hunter Bergmark returned an onside kick attempt 51 yards for a TD in the fourth.