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Explosive rushing attack leads Cicero-North Syracuse to Section III Class AA repeat

Explosive rushing attack leads Cicero-North Syracuse to Section III Class AA repeat

first_imgWith eight minutes left in warmups, as Cicero-North Syracuse marched in a straight, two-by-two line toward the locker room, parents and fans cheered and raised signs. One read, “They Can’t Stop What They Can’t Catch: #2.”West Genesee couldn’t catch Jeremiah Willis with 3:29 left in the first half. As he turned the corner and raced up the left sideline, he too knew that he couldn’t be stopped. He had a chance. A chance for not only a 77-yard touchdown run, but also a chance to provide a spark for the Cicero-North Syracuse offense that had been lacking early in the game.As he passed cameras around the 15-yard line, he stuck out his left hand and pointed. He wouldn’t be stopped. And for the rest of the game, neither would the Northstars.“Don’t stop. Don’t stop at all. That’s why I was thinking, don’t stop,” Willis said, “because if I stop, the team stops.”His touchdown run extended the C-NS lead to 20-0, and the Northstars used three additional rushing touchdowns in the second half, cruising in dominating fashion and defeating West Genesee 40-0 in the Carrier Dome on Saturday night. The win gave C-NS the Section III Class AA championship for the second-straight season.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“Words can’t describe it,” quarterback Conner Hayes said. “You would think doing it a second time, it would feel the same, but it doesn’t. It feels better every time.”The drive after Willis’ touchdown, linebacker Josh Lawrence sacked West Genesee quarterback Tyler Cook twice. Combined with a delay of game penalty, the Wildcats found themselves with a third-and-38. They punted, and as the ball soared down the field, any hopes of a comeback traveled with it. The Wildcats had held their own for the first 22 minutes, but the “athletes on the field,” as Hayes said, began to take over.C-NS opened the scoring on a fourth-and-seven midway through the first quarter. Hayes took the snap and rolled to his right. As two West Genesee defenders rushed towards him, looking for the sack, fingers on the C-NS sideline began pointing down the field.A streaking Shy’rel Broadwater emerged behind two West Genesee defenders who bit on the scramble, and Hayes hit him in stride. The senior ran untouched into the end zone for a 44-yard score.With 9:49 left in the second quarter, Hayes faked a handoff to Jaiquawn McGriff, rolled to his left, and found a slanting Geloff for a 10-yard touchdown.These two touchdown passes helped overshadow a half where Hayes was intercepted twice by Christian Rossi, including his first pass of the game.“We started out a little slow,” Hayes said. “I threw that interception, but we came right back and just kept playing C-NS ball.”Hayes finished with 144 yards on 12-of-17 passing with two interceptions. But on Saturday, the Northstars’ offense didn’t need him to do anything extraordinary. The running backs had him covered.Early in the third quarter, McGriff took a handoff and sprinted toward the C-NS sideline. At the 20-yard line, when a Wildcats defender closed in, he swung his right arm over and juked to his right, and continued into the end zone for a 43-yard touchdown run that increased the Northstars’ lead to 27-0. Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on November 3, 2018 at 10:41 pm Contact Andrew: arcrane@syr.edu | @CraneAndrew Comments As the game’s MVP ran back toward the C-NS sideline, one of his coaches met him halfway, yelling “Hey, Hey, Hey, What? What? What? What?” in shock at the running back’s move.Minutes later he did it again, although this time without the Madden-esque juke. He took a handoff and ran up the gut into the end zone, causing “It’s All Over” chants to ring from the stands.“These kids are dialed in,” head coach Dave Kline said. “They have fun playing the game. You watch them? They have fun.”As the clock ticked down during the last plays of the game, with C-NS’s lead now 40-0 after a 43-yard run by Da-Ron Brown, Willis began to jump. He took off his helmet and began to run around the C-NS sideline pumping up himself, his teammates and the crowd.But as he lined up with the rest of the Northstars at midfield to shake hands with the Wildcats after the game, Kline, at the front of the line, motioned toward Willis.The senior needed to put his helmet back on. He had to stick to the C-NS way. The same way that led them into the state semifinals last season. The same way that allowed them to finish 9-0 in regular season play. And the same way they used Saturday night to advance and play Elmira.“One of our goals was the section championship,” Hayes said after the game. “But that’s not our final goal, I’ll tell you that.”last_img read more