A large, unbeaten and, through much of the season, dominant squad will oppose Chenango Forks in Saturday’s Class C state football semifinal at Cicero-North Syracuse High School. Kickoff is scheduled for noon.
Bath’s Haverling High has been tested in two games this season, 10- and eight-point victories the last two weekends.
In nine games preceding those, the aggregate score was Rams 414, Others 32.
At stake Saturday will be a berth in the title game, 6 p.m. Nov. 27 in the Carrier Dome against Greenwich or Liberty.
“They are enormous. Very, very big and strong up front,” Blue Devils coach David Hogan said of Bath. “They run that double-wing offense, which we haven’t played against all year. Obviously that’s a concern, but something we hope we’ll be ready for by Saturday.”
Bath won those first nine games by 26 or more points, in the process scoring 44 or more in seven.
But last weekend’s quarterfinal against Maple Grove/Chautauqua Lake brought the greatest challenge of the season— as the season-low point total in a 16-8 win would suggest. However, the Rams played that one without their top offensive producer.
Running back Patrick Brewer, a four-digit rusher with 23 touchdowns, missed the game with a knee ailment. That opened opportunity for several sophomores, who combined for 180 yards from scrimmage and two TDs. Leading that group was Tyler Finch (5-8, 165), who went for 102 rushing yards.
Brewer (5-11, 190) scored twice from beyond 80 yards in Bath’s 40-30 win over East Rochester-Gananda for the Section 5 championship.
“You look at the previous game and you could tell that he was all over the place, offensively and defensively,” Hogan said. “So that’s concerning that they were able to win against a very good team without him.”
The Rams’ 5-2 defense, however, had better be at its best against a Forks squad that has averaged 42 points in three playoff games.
Playoff experience will side with the Blue Devils, two-time defending state champions who’ve reached the final four for a fourth consecutive year. Bath will participate in the program’s first semifinal since 2008.
Forks has played some of its finest football in recent weeks. Combined halftime scores the last three weekends have favored the Devils, 84-0, and six touchdowns have come from 28 or more yards — three from 64 or better.
“I think we can definitely get better every single week, and we have been,” said two-way backfield starter L.J. Watson. “(The Section 4 final) was our best game but we came out (against Utica Notre Dame) and had to think that this was going to be our best game of the season. That’s the way we’ll look at it every game we go into.”