Elmira Notre Dame reaches state football semifinal; Aquinas falls - Catholic Courier

Elmira Notre Dame reaches state football semifinal; Aquinas falls

Elmira Notre Dame has roared into the state Class C football Final Four, while Aquinas Institute’s season was ended in the Class A quarterfinal round.
 
Notre Dame, behind a potent offense that amassed more than 400 rushing yards, won 48-21 over Section 3’s Westmoreland in quarterfinal action on Nov. 15 at Cicero-North Syracuse High School. The Crusaders improved their season record to 9-2 and advanced to a semifinal encounter against Jamestown Southwestern of Section 6. That game is set for Saturday, Nov. 22, at Rochester’s PAETEC Park beginning at noon.
 
Aquinas, meanwhile, was unable to hold an early lead and fell 23-6 to Buffalo Sweet Home of Section 6 on Nov. 14 at the University of Buffalo. The defeat ended AQ’s bid for a second straight perfect season and state championship. The Little Irish finished with a record of 10-1.
 
ND 48, Westmoreland 21
 
Sam Karam started the Crusaders in the right direction by taking the opening kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown and 6-0 advantage. ND briefly fell behind 7-6 to the Bulldogs, but scored touchdowns on each of its first five possessions for a 34-15 halftime edge.
 
ND’s Matt Buice netted game Most Valuable Player honors by scoring on touchdown runs of 3, 1 and 1 yards. Mike Huffner added two TDs during a 14-carry, 170-yard effort, and Dave Norton got the other Crusader touchdown along with 159 yards on 14 rushes.
 
Westmoreland had entered the game with a 10-0 record and No. 7 state Class C ranking, whereas Notre Dame was ranked 13th. This marked the second straight week ND has vanquished a team with a perfect record. On Nov. 8, the Crusaders knocked off Greene by a 14-6 score in the Section 4 Class C championship game.
 
Now, only two rungs remain in Notre Dame’s climb to a state title. Next up is yet another unbeaten team, Jamestown Southwestern (11-0). The Trojans, ranked second in the state, won 38-35 over top-ranked Le Roy of Section 5 in their quarterfinal contest on Nov. 15. The winner this Saturday will advance to the state title game, set for Nov. 29 at 2 p.m. at the Syracuse Carrier Dome, against either 12th-ranked Saranac Lake of Section 7 or sixth-ranked Croton-Hamel of Section 1.
 
Sweet Home 23, Aquinas 6
 
The Little Irish drew first blood in their state quarterfinal, scoring on their opening drive as Casey Vogl (20 carries, 90 yards) made a 1-yard touchdown for a 6-0 lead. But that was it for AQ’s scoring as the Panthers surged to a 16-6 edge by halftime and added an insurance touchdown in the third quarter.
 
Sweet Home (11-0), ranked fourth in the state, stopped a 23-game winning streak for the top-ranked Little Irish (10-1). The Panthers also exacted revenge for a state-quarterfinal loss to the Irish last year, when AQ went on to earn the Class A crown with a perfect 13-0 record.

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