Maine-Endwell’s historic football win streak is a thing of the past.
The Spartans from Endicott, N.Y., turned over the football seven times in a 43-26 loss to Buffalo South Park in a Class A state semifinal at Cicero-North Syracuse High School.
It was the program’s first loss since a 2010 state-quarterfinal setback at the hands of Whitesboro, and the streak ends at a state-record 62 games. The streak was the second-longest active streak for 11-man football in the nation behind Edgewood Academy (Ala.), with 71. Allen (Texas), with 55 consecutive wins, now has the second-longest active streak.
South Park quarterback and offensive MVP Tyree Brown rushed for three touchdowns and passed for another as the Sparks advanced to the championship game Nov. 27 in the Carrier Dome in Syracuse. South Park becomes the first Buffalo city school to make the state final.
The lead was South Park’s for keeps once Brown rushed 9 yards for a TD 5:11 into the third quarter. That score made it 22-14 and came two plays after an 8-yard Spartans punt.
M-E (11-1) drew within 22-20 on a 65-yard rush by quarterback Kyle Balmer with 2:40 to play in the third quarter, but South Park responded with scoring plays of 70 and 43 yards in a span of under three minutes bridging the third and fourth quarters— the second one on a fumble return after an errant pitch by Balmer.
“Turnovers. That’s really it,” said Balmer. “Can’t win a game with, I don’t even know_ five? Six? And that’s on me. Can’t win a game like that.”
Maine-Endwell, playing in the semifinal round for a fifth consecutive season, lost four fumbles and Balmer was intercepted three times— a startling turnabout from what is ordinarily a model of offensive efficiency.
Part of the reason was South Park, a first-time Section 6 champion that moves on to face Poughkeepsie’s Our Lady of Lourdes in the title game. Lourdes was a 47-27 winner over Amsterdam in Friday’s other semifinal.
“Just like we thought, they’re super-athletic and they ran to the ball,” Spartans coach Matt Gallagher said of South Park. “They caused some of those turnovers, some of those turnovers were ours but .. I’m still super proud of our guys.”
“They gave us some trouble and they caused us to turn the ball over. Today just wasn’t our day.”
The Spartans entered the contest as the top-ranked team in Class A, South Park as the No. 3 squad.