It’s been another rough season for the Ithaca High football team, with a few glimmers of hope but precious few flashes of brilliance in a regular season that ended with one victory and six of its seven losses by 25 points or more.
But in the four-team Class AA division of Section 4 football, everybody gets a shot at playoff glory, and first-year coach Bill Bryant’s Little Red has that opportunity tonight against Binghamton (6-2) in the sectional semifinals at Binghamton’s Alumni Stadium.
The winner will take on either Elmira (4-4), winner of three straight, or Corning (6-2) in next week’s Class AA title game. The final is scheduled for 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 3, at Union-Endicott’s Ty Cobb Stadium.
Binghamton is vying for its second consecutive Class AA title. The Patriots defeated Corning last year, 34-14, en route to a berth in the state regional final, where they lost, 35-6, to Orchard Park. Included in their playoff run was a 56-22 sectional semifinal win over Ithaca.
The Patriots beat up on the Little Red a month ago in Binghamton, scoring a 34-6 victory as Andre Yevchinez and Brian Alexander teamed for 268 rushing yards and four touchdowns. Alexander also picked off two Julian Tino passes, returning one 95 yards for a score.
Ithaca got its only score on a DeVondre LaFave 3-yard run, set up by Grant Osadchey’s interception of a Yevchinecz pass in the first quarter. That pulled Ithaca to within 7-6 but Binghamton responded with two second-quarter TDs in less than two minutes to regain control.
Binghamton’s only two losses this season have come on the road to state-ranked teams — a 38-26 season-opening loss to Monroe-Woodbury (then-No. 16) and a 43-21 loss to Union-Endicott (No. 10 in Class A) three weeks ago. Ithaca’s lone victory was a 48-35 home win over Johnson City in Week 3.
Other playoff games this weekend:
* Class C: Lansing (6-2) takes on fourth-ranked Chenango Forks (8-0) in the semifinals at 2 p.m. Saturday at Alumni Stadium. Coach John Winslow’s Bobcats are on their second three-game win streak of the season, and are coming off a 20-13 home victory over Watkins Glen in the regular-season finale.
Lansing and Forks have two common opponents: Both teams defeated Whitney Point (Lansing 21-2, Forks 33-0) while Newark Valley blanked Lansing, 38-0, in Week 1 but lost to Forks, 45-3, two weeks ago. Saturday’s winner will meet either No. 15 Sidney (6-2) or third-ranked Waverly (8-0), the defending class champ, in the final at 5 p.m. next Saturday at U-E.
* Class D: Harpursville (7-1) meets Groton (7-1) in the semifinals at 4 p.m. Saturday at U-E. The Hornets rolled past host Union Springs a week ago in the Class D quarterfinals, 61-28, on the strength of Mason Dean’s 112 rushing yards and five touchdowns on nine carries.
Coach Jeff Lewis’ Indians — shaking the effects of a 67-7 exhibition loss a week earlier at Section 2 power Schuylerville — eliminated Bainbridge-Guilford, 30-23, as junior Zeke Wright rushed 29 times for 229 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The Class D final is scheduled for 7 p.m. next Friday at U-E; this weekend’s other semi pits defending champion Tioga (7-1) against Unatego (6-2).