on November 30, 2013 - 12:04 AM
SYRACUSE — The magical postseason run of Williamsville North was never really about magic. It was about playing outstanding football.
That’s what enabled it to go on a five-game postseason win streak that brought it to the most unlikeliest of destinations for a team seeded seventh entering the Section VI playoffs: the Carrier Dome for the Class A state championship game.
On Friday afternoon, Williamsville North’s feel-good postseason had the opposite kind of ending as it fell to Queensbury, 36-7, in front of an estimated 3,000 which included sizable contingents from each school nicknamed the Spartans.
North committed too many mistakes, the kind which were almost absent from its memorable, history-making run, to give it a real chance against an excellent team that backed up its three-week tenure as the top-ranked Class A team in the state.
Queensbury (13-0) pounded North (9-4) with its double-wing offense, rushing for 243 yards on 51 carries as it won the program’s first state championship. It also hit North hard on defense, limiting its running game to 61 yards on 25 carries. North had a degree of success through the air, but when the offense had a window to get back in the game, it wasn’t able to do it on an afternoon in which North had a punt blocked and was plagued by drops and turnovers.
“We left too many chances out there,” said North coach Mike Mammoliti. “We had two chances inside the 10, we left that out there; we had a punt block and we haven’t had anything like that all year; and we didn’t do a great job of being consistent at all. Credit to them: They do what they do very well.”
In a matchup of teams with nearly identical Spartan logos on their helmets – North in green and Queensbury in blue – the Section II (Albany area) champs earned much better of the play in the first half.
Queensbury used its deceptive, hard-hitting, double-wing attack to score on its opening drive, a 56-yard possession that lasted 11 plays and ended with a 1-yard score by Tim Voorhis with 6:27 left in the first quarter. North’s first possession was a three-and-out, and it got worse when the snap to junior punter Chad Steinwachs was low, helping allow time for senior Kody Bruno to block it and for sophomore Erik Wettersten to return it 10 yards for a touchdown and a 14-0 lead.
North answered back before the first quarter was over as Ryan Majewski hit fellow senior Kolbe Hughes with an 8-yard touchdown pass with 2:35 left in the first. North had success in the passing game, but it was inconsistent. Majewski was 14 of 39 for 233 yards and two interceptions.
On North’s next drive, Majewski hit Zac Kelly over the middle on third-and-long for what would have been a first down in Queensbury territory, but he was hit and the fumble was covered by Queensbury, which used the possession to add a 9-yard Bruno touchdown run with 6:46 left in the first half for a 21-7 lead.
North failed to score twice in the closing minutes, reaching the 16 before turning it over on downs, and then failing on a first-and-goal after recovering a Queensbury fumble.
In the third quarter, the North defense did well to keep Queensbury from adding to the lead, rallying to earn the ball back after Queensbury recovered a surprise onsides kick to start the half.
The defense would hold two more times. But the offense failed on three straight drives, the first which included a drop that would have went for a first down, and the next two ended in interceptions.
In the fourth, Queensbury – a team that had attempted just 36 passes coming into the game – hit a big one as senior Aidan Switzer withstood a big hit from junior Duke Hwang to get a pass off over the middle which was neatly caught by Bruno for a 40-yard score and a 29-7 lead with 9:14 left to play. Queensbury added another score with 5:20 left.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better team to be here with,” said Majewski. “It’s a great group of guys to be around.”
Of the 48 players on the North roster, 32 are underclassmen.
“You’re proudest of those guys who are seniors who have been with us since they were in seventh grade and the work and time they put in,” said Mammoliti.
“We’re still a pretty young team. Now we have something to build off of for next year. You can’t be any prouder for these guys because it’s never, ever been a lack of effort.”