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Elmira Upends No. 2 Team in NY, Heads to Semifinals..The Leader

Posted Monday, November 18, 2013 by Mike Johnston

Elmira upends No. 2 team in NY, heads to semifinals

    Posted Nov. 16, 2013 @ 9:06 pm  

    ENDICOTT — The Express took the best shots the No. 2 Class AA team in New York State had in its arsenal, but nothing was going to deny Elmira’s football team a spot in the state semifinals.
    Elmira, ranked 18th in New York, scored a go-ahead touchdown with 2:28 remaining in the game and thwarted Christian Brothers Academy’s two comeback attempts to win 24-18 in Saturday’s New York State Public High School Athletic Association quarterfinal game at Union-Endicott’s Ty Cobb Stadium. It’s not overstating that Saturday’s game was one of the most significant in Elmira’s very proud football history.
    “I can’t tell you how proud we are of the kids, they answered the bell and did a real nice job of responding,” said second-year Express coach Jim McCauley. “We had some turnovers in the game that you never want to have, but not once did the kids give up – they played hard, 110 percent. We’re so proud of the program and the community.”
    November 23, Elmira will take on either Aquinas or Jamestown in the NYSPHSAA Class AA semifinals at Sahlen’s Field in Rochester at 6 p.m.
    A perennial state contender, Christian Brothers Academy from Syracuse suburb DeWitt presented the Express with an NCAA Division I-bound quarterback, a 1,300-yard rusher and a roster loaded with athletic talent. What the Brothers (10-1) couldn’t account for with Elmira – only in its third season as a combined team – was a baffling misdirection offense and a tenacious defense that punished the CBA backfield.
    With two-and-a-half minutes left in the first quarter, CBA was able to complete an eight-play, 60-yard drive when J.R. Zazzara hit an outstretched Jonathan Stackhouse for a four-yard touchdown pass on 4th and goal from the 4-yard line. The ball came out of Stackhouse’s hands as he hit the turf, but he had already broken the end zone plane and was awarded the score.
    It took Elmira two possessions and seven minutes to come up with an answer, thanks to Eli Thomas’ spinning power run into the end zone with 7:24 minutes left in the half. That score set up a wild sequence to finish the first half.

    With 1:25 left in the second quarter, Elmira quarterback Rasean Brooks took a first down snap from the 47-yard line, rolled out to his left and hit Thomas, who caught the pass on the 10-yard by leaping over two defenders, twisting 180 degrees and stumbling into the end zone to give Elmira its first lead of the game, 12-7 following two failed two-point conversions. That left CBA with 1:18 minutes to come up with an answer before halftime.

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