Far from whole but plenty good enough, the Spartans of Maine-Endwell snatched Section 4 Class B football supremacy from two-time defending champion Chenango Valley with a 55-19 win in Saturday’s title game at Ty Cobb Stadium.
Most Valuable Player Nick Sorrenti rushed for 141 yards and four touchdowns before halftime, and tacked on one of M-E’s four pass interceptions on a day the Spartans actually found themselves locked up in a tie ballgame for a spell.
OK, a short spell, as in 1:55 before they put points on the board, and then another 18 seconds — the time it took to respond to a striking 13-play CV scoring drive that made for a 7-7 deadlock.
Upon conclusion, M-E had made it comfortably to 10-0 for a second consecutive season on the strength of the latest in a mounting pile of 50-plus scoring outputs.
Ahead will be a state quarterfinal against Section 3 champion Cazenovia, 11 a.m. Saturday at East Syracuse-Minoa High School. And hopes in M-E quarters are that the lineup will reflect something other than Saturday’s hodgepodge with eight or so positions being manned by reserves.
“The guys who stepped up, I mean, we’re a good team no matter what,” said Sorrenti, whose four-TD outing marked a personal best. “Whoever is in front of us, with whomever we have that day, we’re going to bring it. And when we get the original guys back, that’s even more momentum for us.”
It began as just another garden-variety M-E blowout, with Sorrenti rushing 37 yards for a score on the fourth play from scrimmage, and then teammate David Zielewicz covering a ground-hugging kickoff at CV’s 24-yard line.
But the Warriors gained possession at their 23-yard line after Nick Simons sacked Kyle Gallagher for a 7-yard, fourth-down loss, and CV’s offense began to purr.
A 15-yard, third-and-11 pass from Trevor Henige to Zach Collins brought CV to M-E’s 40, and a 5-yard, third-down rush by Dominik Forbidussi made it first-and-10 at the 28.
From there, five rushes and an offside penalty against M-E did the trick. Fullback Forbidussi rushed in from the 2 and Eric Silvanic’s PAT made it all-square against New York’s top-ranked Class B squad.
“We were a little disappointed. But I think that what sets us aside from everyone else is that we’re good at facing adversity,” said M-E senior T.J. Davis. “We knew that we could still shut them down, we just had to keep playing how we play and everything would be alright.”
“We talked about it all week: If something doesn’t go our way then we just have to rally,” M-E coach Matt Gallagher said. “They knew what they had to do. I told them, that’s why they’re state champs, because they can battle back from adversity.
“When games get close I think that’s when they play their best. It showed. They came out and scored three touchdowns in a row.”
Forty-six seconds worth of game clock after CV’s score, M-E led by 21-7.
Trevor Garbleman returned CV’s kickoff 39 yards to the Warriors’ 42, and on first down started a rush on an inside path only to bounce out left and continue across the goal line.
Alec Wisniewski intercepted a pass on CV’s next offensive play near the 50 and returned to CV’s 10. Darnell Woolfolk took a second-down toss play 4 yards for a score and Stephen Pham’s PAT made it 21-7.
CV (6-4) lost a fumble on the first second-quarter play, and Sorrenti finished a seven-play, 51-yard drive by powering through a couple of attempted foot tackles to complete a 27-yard TD run 3:04 into the quarter.
CV’s second TD was thanks to 6-foot-3 Zach Collins winning a jump ball against two defenders in the end zone to make it 28-13 with 3:58 to play in the half, but M-E got that one back when Sorrenti carried in from 3 yards in the closing minute to stretch it to 34-13.
“It tells us that we have good character, that we’re able to take whatever comes at us and know that we can bounce back,” Davis said. “We don’t have to worry about it, we’ve got one another’s backs.”
Two of M-E’s remaining scores came on pass interceptions and subsequent returns. The first was by Woolfolk, who went 80 yards the other way early in the fourth quarter, and the second by Adam Gallagher who dashed 57 yards for his score.
Sorrenti closed with 151 rushing yards on 15 carries, and Woolfolk took his seven rushes for another 50. Forbidussi carried 22 times for 78 yards, and Trebilcock passed for 92 yards.