SECTION IV FOOTBALL: BIG PLAYS HIGHLIGHT SVEC'S 8-MAN CHAMPIONSHIP ROMP (2021-11-13)

By TIM TAYLOR
Tioga County Sports Report
BINGHAMTON — It was a game of big plays as third-seeded SVEC defeated top-seeded Groton, 50-12, in the 2021 Section IV 8-man championship game at Alumni Stadium here Saturday afternoon.

The Eagles scored seven touchdowns, including five from outside the red zone.

"It was definitely a game of big plays," SVEC coach Mike Chaffee said. "We kept chipping away and then would break away with one. They had a stingy defense but when they would load the box we would go up top on them.

"Our coaches put a great game plan together and the kids executed."

It didn't take long to assert that big play ability as the Indians fumbled the opening kickoff, SVEC's Seth McBride recovered it in Groton territory and seven plays later Nick Thomas found Devin Beach wide open for a 15-yard TD pass. Thomas tossed the pigskin to Hunter Haynes for the PAT and an 8-0 lead just 3:03 into the first quarter. The drive included a 38-yard run by Beach.

That would be it until 8:43 of the second quarter when Thomas again found a wide open Beach for an easy 69-yard TD strike. Thomas ran it in for the PAT and a 16-0 advantage.

Undaunted, the Indians responded with a 21-yard TD strike from Austin Hunt to Omari Riley-Israel with 3:51 remaining in the first half. Hunt's PAT run was unsuccessful, making it a 16-6 contest.

The Eagles would then score twice in the final 3 1/2 minute of the first half to build a 30-6 cushion at intermission.

Thomas broke through the line on a 72-yard scamper to make it 22-6 with 3:29 on the clock, then he hit Beach with a 35-yard scoring pass with 62 ticks remaining on the clock. Beach hauled in the pass at the three despite a Groton defender draped over his back. Haynes' PAT run made it a 30-6 ball game at the break.

In the third quarter, Thomas bolted 57 yards for a TD at 9:58 of the third period and threw to Jacek Teribury for the PAT and a 38-6 lead.

With a comfortable cushion already in hand, Thomas completed his fourth TD pass of the rainy day, this one for 20 yards to Beach 69 seconds into the final frame.

Haynes would break loose and dash 68 yards for SVEC's final TD, making it 50-6 with 8:43 left to play.

The Indians would get on the scoreboard with 3:11 to go as Aiden Harriott punched it in from a yard out with 3:11 left.

Thomas accounted for 275 of SVEC's yards, completing all five of his pass attempts for 141 yards and four TDs. He also rushed for 134 yards and two TDs on 11 carries.

Beach snagged four passes for 139 yards and had six rushes for another 75. Haynes added 94 yards, including 10 runs for 92 yards.

Defensively, Beach was at the top of the chart as well, making 8 1/2 tackles. Thomas and Tyler Stahl added seven apiece and JohnHammond tacked on five more.

As has been the case all season long, due to their quick-strike ability, the Eagles trailed in time of possession and offensive plays. SVEC logged 444 offensive yards while Groton managed just 238.

Hunt led Groton on the ground with 88 yards on 13 carries and went 6-for-12 through the air for 75 yards. Riley-Israel caught four passes for 64 yards.

"Happy for our kids and communities," Chaffee said.

The Eagles, who are riding a 14-game win streak, face Spackenkill (7-1) in the regional final Friday at 7 p.m. at Binghamton. The Spartans have won seven straight. There is no state championship game in New York state.

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IN PHOTO 1: SVEC's Elliot Walter (78). ... PHOTOS 1-22 BY TIM TAYLOR. ... PHOTO 23 SUBMITTED.