SYRACUSE — It was dressed in white from top to bottom, it was huge, relentless and powerful, and it caused all kinds of trouble in New York state on Sunday.
In other news, there was a big snowstorm outside the Carrier Dome.
Inside it, fullback Lucas Scott and his all-white uniform ran over Schuylerville for 288 yards and three touchdowns as Chenango Forks of Section IV defeated the Black Horses 38-14 for the New York State Class B football championship.
The backbreaker was a 54-yarder by Scott through the left side of the line with 24 seconds left in the third quarter for a 32-6 lead. A junior whose program listing of 6-foot, 180 pounds was laughably outdated (he’s 6-4, 250), Scott was the centerpiece of an offense that outgained Schuylerville 441-133 on the ground and 481-249 overall.
“It’s a tough simulation, when you feel like you’re doing some good things during the week of practice and when one guy is getting to your guy that’s supposed to be simulating him and he’s making the play … well, that’s not realistic here,” Schuylerville head coach John Bowen said. “That’s the false sense of security you get when you’re having to deal with a kid like that.”
“He’s such a horse,” Chenango Forks head coach David Hogan said. “He runs hard, he goes north and south, and plus, he’s got some really good blocking. That helps.
“But, boy, he is a load to bring down.”
Schuylerville finished its season at 11-2 while reaching the state championship game despite not even having won its Section II league division during the regular season.
Then, the Black Horses made a terrific postseason run despite some key injuries along the way.
But they ran into a team — and a player — that was too big a handful to overcome. The Blue Devils (13-0), from just north of Binghamton, won their sixth state title, the most recent of which came in 2015 in Class C.
Still, Schuylerville was 55 seconds away from being in pretty good shape in the first half, down 12-6, before a quick late drive put Chenango Forks ahead 18-6 at halftime and set to get the ball first in the second half.
A tough tackle by Conner Bilinski while being blocked prevented a long punt return by the Blue Devils, who set up at their own 28.
With 55 seconds left in the first half, Scott ran for 18 yards, followed by three of the four total passes quarterback Ryan Austin threw in the entire game, the third of which arced into the hands of Ethan Brown for a 33-yard score and an 18-6 lead with nine seconds left.
“That was absolutely huge,” Hogan said. “We work on our two-minute ‘O’ quite a lot, and even though you don’t see it a lot, it certainly paid off. Going in up two scores instead of one was huge, especially since we were getting the ball back.”
“The last four or five games, we’ve been scoring right before the half, and it really kills teams,” Scott said. “We practice the two-minute drill all week, and it pays off and takes something out of a team.”
“That killed us,” Schuylerville’s Kyle Burnham said.
Chenango Forks started the second half with a more typical drive.
The Blue Devils marched 66 yards on 12 running plays to go up 25-6 with 6:12 left in the third quarter.
Scott finished it off with a 4-yard run, as he accounted for 61 of the 66 yards on 10 carries.
If you throw out Scott’s 54-yarder and a 48-yard TD by Dubbs Haqq to make it 32-6 in the fourth quarter, Chenango Forks averaged just under 5.5 yards for the other 62 times it ran the ball. Haqq finished with 123 yards on 15 carries.
“That poor kid [Scott] would’ve been a lineman for me,” Bowen said with a laugh. “I wouldn’t have been smart enough to put him at fullback.
“We knew that if they were able to do it, it was going to be that death-by-a-thousand-papercuts type of offense. They were able to grind out the two- or three-chunk yards and continue to move the sticks. A team’s that as big and physical as they are, they play to their strengths.”
“Watching him on film, he’s a tough runner, really big,” Schuylerville senior linebacker Tyler Bowen. “You can’t tackle him up high, otherwise he’s just going to stiff-arm you to the ground or truck you. You just have to wrap up a kid like that at the knees and ankles.”
The Black Horses’ touchdowns came on a 44-yard pass from Owen Sherman to Jack Dwyer to tie it at 6-6 with 9:37 left in the second quarter and on an 18-yard run by Jacob Vanderhoof to produce the final score with 3:18 left in the game.
The loss ended a 10-game winning streak for Schuylerville that included a Section II playoff victory over Holy Trinity on Burnham’s touchdown as time expired and an 8-7 state tournament win over Port Jervis.
“We’ve had an inherent belief with this group all the way through, and they haven’t wavered from that,” John Bowen said. “Coming out of Section II didn’t necessarily catch us by surprise, but I think the surprises came as the injuries came, which has been well documented over the last couple of weeks. The area that gives me the greatest sense of pride is these guys overcoming that.”
“We felt doubted all season and kind of had an underdog status the whole time,” Tyler Bowen said. “Everyone was kind of picking Holy Trinity to beat us in that sectional final, and we said, ‘Hey, let’s go shock everyone. Let’s go show everyone we’re legitimate, we’re here to play.’ And that’s exactly what we did.”
“I think we played the best we could every week and really gave it our heart every game,” Burnham said.
Chenango Forks 0 18 14 6 — 38
Schuylerville 0 6 0 6 — 14
CF — Haqq 12 run (kick failed)
S — Dwyer 44 pass from O. Sherman (run failed)
CF — Scott 5 run (kick failed)
CF — Brown 33 pass from Austin (kick failed)
CF — Scott 4 run (Joseph kick)
CF — Scott 54 run (Joseph kick)
CF — Haqq 48 run (kick blocked)
S — Vanderhoof 18 run (McGarrahan run)