ROCHESTER — The you-can’t-make-this-up story for Williamsville North has another chapter.
Its next one – to the surprise of probably everyone that doesn’t wear a Spartan football uniform – will be written at the Carrier Dome.
Williamsville North two-way senior standout Derick Isler was limited by injury during Friday night’s Class A state semifinal, but the Spartans just kept their remarkable postseason run going.
Senior quarterback Ryan Majewski threw three touchdowns as Williamsville North, a seventh seed to start the Section VI playoffs, beat Union-Endicott, 27-14, Friday night before an estimated 1,500 at Sahlen’s Stadium.
Williamsville North (9-3), which had never won a Section VI title before this year, heads to Syracuse’s Carrier Dome for the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class A championship at 3 p.m. next Friday.
“Who would have thought that? Williamsville North going to the Dome,” said Majewski. “I don’t know, but I couldn’t ask for a greater group of guys to go there with. It’s a dream come true for us.”
The Spartans, ranked seventh in Class A by the New York State Sportswriters Association, will take on top-ranked Queensbury (12-0) of Section II (Albany area) in the final.
In the East semifinal Friday night, Queensbury beat Section IX (Dutchess, Orange, Sullivan, Ulster counties) winner Cornwall, 36-27, at Kingston’s Dietz Stadium.
“It’s a surprise, but it’s not a surprise – because they’ve been playing that well,” said Williamsville North coach Mike Mammoliti. “I don’t know if it’s a Cinderella anymore.”
On a windy, blustery night braved by several hundred Williamsville North fans, including its “Green Squall” student section, Majewski completed 9-of-15 passes for 204 yards, including a 9-yard score to Isler in the first quarter, a 36-yarder to Zac Kelly in the second and a 52-yarder to Kolbe Hughes early in the third that put North up, 27-0.
“He came up big-time,” said Mammoliti. “He’s a senior quarterback, a three-year starter and he played just like that. That’s what you expect out of your senior. I couldn’t be more proud of him.”
Union-Endicott (8-4), champion of Section IV (Binghamton area) did not score until it posted two touchdowns in the game’s final 7:20.
Isler, who has been terrific at running back and defensive back this postseason, recording two interceptions in the Section VI championship stunner over six-time defending champion Sweet Home and 231 yards last week in the Far West Regional win over Eastridge, did not run the ball after the second quarter and sat out the final minutes of the first half due to a stomach ailment.
The 5-10, 175-pound senior got back into the game on defense and was able to record a team-high six tackles along with a sack.
“As a team we work so hard, and week-by-week I’m saying the same thing, but it’s true: This team fights together and fights hard,” said Isler. “It’s amazing.”
North’s first score was set up when, on Union-Endicott’s fourth-and-15 play at the Spartans’ 19, junior linebackers John Becht and Jacob Ames sacked Union-Endicott senior quarterback Joey Orlando, who threw for five touchdowns last week. On North’s ensuing possession, it took a 7-0 lead with 2:39 left in the first quarter when Majewski hit Isler.
Dean Thompson (11 carries, 41 yards), a sophomore who ran in place of Isler (9-37), went in for a 4-yard score with 5:51 left in the second quarter for a 14-0 lead.
“They’re prepared. They come to practice. Dean steps in, different type of runner, and we didn’t miss a beat,” said Mammoliti.
“It’s a credit to those kids, because they want to be good and they’re working for it. And it’s a credit to coaches Ron Luders and Derek Swader.”
In a pivotal series late in the first half, Majewski was able to get Union-Endicott to jump offsides on what was a fourth-and-2.
That gave North a first down at the Union-Endicott 36, and on the next play Majewski hit Kelly for a 20-0 lead with 1:47 left in the half.
The lead became 27-0 just 2:57 into the second half when Majewski lofted a pass put up perfectly for the 6-3 Hughes to go get.
“The line gave me time with the play fake and I guess they bit a little,” Majewski said of the throw to Hughes, before adding with a smile: “I think the wind might have helped me out a little – I think I under threw him and it carried a little bit.”
“I’ve got no words again,” Majewski said of the win. “I don’t know how to feel. We win, we go on to the next game. It’s the last game, so we might as well win it.”