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NEW YORK STATE FOOTBALL: SVEC ROLLS TO REGIONAL TITLE (2021-11-19)

By TIM TAYLOR
Tioga County Sports Report
BINGHAMTON — SVEC rolled up more than 500 yards offense and the defense came away with five interceptions to crush Spackenkill, 68-20, in an 8-man regional championship at Binghamton Alumni Stadium here Friday.

"This was everything we we'd hoped for," SVEC coach Mike Chaffee said. "Couldn't ask for a better turnout, couldn't ask for a better way our kids approached it. They were focused. They came out here and they got it done."

The Eagles' high-powered offense put three touchdowns on the scoreboard in the first quarter and never looked back.

Chaffee didn't expect the fast start, but was not surprised either.

"I honestly did not expect it, against this team, a team of this caliber," he said. "It wasn't surprising because of the way these kids are. It helps when we can come out and do that. It takes the nerves away and we can settle in and play ball."

Nick Thomas capped a 5-play, 64-yard drive with an 11-yard run and added the PAT run as SVEC went ahead, 8-0, in the game's first two minutes. The senior quarterback highlighted the march with a 32-yard keeper on the first offensive play of the night.

The Spartans responded with a 27-yard kick return and drove the ball down to the SVEC 12 before stumbling. Thomas, John Hammond an Elliot Walter stuffed Antonio Lopez for a 3-yard loss, Anthony Hoyt threw two incompletions and Tyler Stahl sacked Hoyt for a 9-yard loss back to the 24.

The Eagle's next possession took just two plays — a 61-yard run by Thomas followed by a 15-yard TD run from Devin Beach. Hunter Haynes' PAT run made it a 16-0 contest with 5:47 remaining in the first period.

Once again, Spackenkill moved the ball into the red zone, but this time Seth McBride would step in front of a Hoyt pass at the four to end the threat. It would be the first of five interceptions by the SVEC defense.

Starting at their own 8, the Eagles would take just four plays to score. The brief possession included 17-yard by Haynes, a 25-yard jaunt by Beach and, finally, a pitch from Thomas to Jacek Teribury which took the sophomore 49 yards down the sideline. Thomas would toss the pigskin to Logan Jewell to make it 24-0 with 2:57 left in the quarter.

Hoyt and Kevin Mullins hooked up four times on the Spartans' next possession, and Hoyt's 18-yard TD strike to Lopez and the duo's successful connection on the PAT pass cut the lead to 24-8 just four seconds into the second quarter.

Behind a key block from Beach, Haynes scored his second TD of the night on a 16-yard run at 9:56 of the period. The PAT attempt failed, but SVEC was sitting solidly on a 30-8 cushion.

Walter tipped away a fourth-down pass on Spackenkill's next possession, then the two teams struggled to move the ball before the Eagles would put together a 5-play, 60-yard drive to make it 36-8. Haynes tallied his second TD of the evening on a 21-yard run and the PAT pass was incomplete.

It appeared SVEC would carry a comfortable 28-point margin into intermission, but Hoyt was able to get a 27-yard pass to Steven Ciancio in the end zone at the buzzer to cut the lead to 36-14 at the break.

The Spackenkill aerial attack would be a concern coming into the game.

"We knew that was something that we were going to have to stop," Chaffee said. "We gave the kid too much time. They got a couple on us, but the message was don't get down on yourselves, don't get frustrated. Keep doing what we're doing. We're going to keep scoring and they're not going to keep getting those cheap touchdowns. That's what we did in the second half. We just kept playing our game and kept doing what we do."

Spackenkill moved the ball into SVEC territory on the first possession of the second half, but Thomas came up with a 59-yard "pick six" to make it 42-14 at 9:21 of the third quarter.

Three plays later, McBride snagged his second pick of the night at his own 36. The Eagles turned it into a 6-play, 58-yard drive. Aided by a key block from Haynes, Beach tallied on a 30-yard run, making it 48-14 with 5:21 to go in the quarter.

One play after the Spartans stumbled through a three-and-out, SVEC's Logan Jewell cut back across the field to turn a short pass from Thomas into a 53-yard TD reception to make it 54-14 with 3:01 on the third-quarter clock.

Jewell followed that gem up with a tip and interception two plays later and returned it 32 yards to to the Spackenkill 41.

The Eagles were unable to capitalize on the turnover and Spartan back-up QB Daniel Collins Jr. guided his team to a 6-play, 52-yard scoring drive that saw him go 5-for-5 through the air for 48 yards, capping the drive with a 19-yard TD toss to Mullins at 9:37 of the fourth quarter, making it a 54-20 contest.

Spackenkill recovered the onside kick, but a penalty gave the ball to the Eagles. Six plays later, Thomas scored on a 16-yard keeper and Beach added the PAT run to make it 62-20 with 7:16 to play.

Jacek Stahl would snag SVEC's fifth theft of the night on the ensuing possession. The Eagles would cough the ball up, but the Spartans would turn the pigskin over on downs.

"That was huge, especially with the amount that they were throwing and we knew that they were going to come out and try and do that on us," Chaffee said of the multiple picks. "We were so close on a couple of them. We could have had a couple more, but getting those (five), that was huge for us. Getting those stops on fourth downs, that really was the difference."

With the ball at the Spackenkill 39, SVEC took just three plays to reach paydirt with Haynes scoring his third TD of the game on a 15-yard run, giving the Eagles a 68-20 advantage with 69 seconds left on the clock.

Despite a 7-minute disadvantage in time of possession and running 212 fewer plays, SVEC outgained Spackenkill, 547-269.

The offense which came in producing 56 points per game did not disappoint.

"Explosive," said Chaffee. "Keep chipping away, chipping away, chipping away and they're going to break one. Our kids, they look for that home run and they block for each other downfield, so they block two or three guys. I saw Hunter out there. He'd chip and go to the next one, chip and go to the next one, same with Devin. They rest, they work for that."

The Eagles (9-0) rushed for 493 yards on 43 carries with Thomas picking up 164 yards on 11 rushes and Beach contributing 151 more on 10 runs. Haynes added 97 yards on 14 carries and Teribury had 48 yards on two runs.

Beach paced the defensive effort with 10 1/2 tackles. Tyler Stahl had 9 1/2 ( 3 1/2 for losses), McBride added 6 1/2 and Haynes tacked on 5 1/2.

Hoyt went 15-for-31 for 146 yards passing and led the 7-2 Spartans on the ground with 20 yards on 11 carries. Mullins caught nine passes for 85 yards.

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IN PHOTO 1: SVEC's Logan Jewell. ... PHOTOS BY TIM TAYLOR.

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