Entering the weekend, Section 9 football was seeking redemption in the state football playoff quarterfinals.
Consider it done, thanks to Cornwall and Chester.Cornwall leveled previously undefeated Poughkeepsie44-19 in Class A and Chester overwhelmed Haldane 54-8 in the Class D quarterfinals.
Last fall, Section 9 went 0-5 in the state quarters, getting outscored 179-49, including two shutouts. It was the first time since 2003 that Section 9 teams were swept in the quarterfinals.
Now, Section 9 has made history. For the first time ever, Section 9 has three teams in the state semifinals, Cornwall,Chester and Newburgh. The Goldbacks earned a bye in the quarters and will play North Rockland or Shenendehowa in the semifinals next Saturday at Dietz Stadium in Kingston.
“It will be interesting to see how good (North Rockland and Shenendehowa) are,” star NFA two-way lineman Mikal Myers said. “To see who their best players are. I know they are like us, power teams. We know if we stick to our game plan, we can play with anybody.”
James I. O’Neill can make it four Section 9 teams in the state semifinals over heavily favored Dobbs Ferry at 3 p.m. today at Dietz. It’s a longshot, but don’t expect O’Neill to back down.
Chester opponent set, Cornwall waits
Chester will play Cambridge (11-0) in the Class D state semis at 4 p.m. Friday at Dietz Stadium. Cambridge defeated Ticonderoga 44-25 in the quarterfinals on Friday night.
Chester, previously 0-5 in the state playoffs until Haldane, smoked Ticonderoga 36-7 on Oct. 22. Skyler Saunders rushed for 202 yards and four touchdowns for Cambridge in the Ticonderoga win. Aaron Mulready added 111 yards and a touchdown and freshman quarterback Ethan English completed 12-of-15 passes for 167 yards.
Cornwall will play Burnt Hills or Franklin Academy in the Class A state semifinals at 8 p.m. Friday at Dietz. Burnt Hills, a perennial Albany-area super power, is expected to advance.