Randolph powers into state football final - The Buffalo News
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Randolph powers into state football final

ROCHESTER — It took less than a quarter of play Friday for Randolph to reaffirm its standing as the team to beat in Class D.

Four more quarters like that, and the Cardinals will cash in another state championship.

Randolph, the reigning Class D champions and No. 1-ranked team in the state, dominated No. 2 Tioga, 35-6, in a New York State Public High School Athletic Association semifinal in front of an estimated crowd of 750 at Sahlen’s Stadium.

The News’ No. 1 small school will now play in the state title game at Syracuse’s Carrier Dome for the fourth time in nine years Friday against Chester of Section IX (Dutchess, Orange, Sullivan, Ulster counties).

Chris Doubek rushed for 203 yards and two touchdowns and Lucas Brown ran for 110 yards and a touchdown when he wasn’t leading blocking for Doubek as Randolph (12-0) asserted its dominance over the same team it beat in the state semifinals last year.

Doubek, the fullback on last year’s team, now has 2,263 rushing yards this season, 184 shy of the Western New York single-season record set by Dustin Bowser of Southwestern in 2003.

“Those big guys up front blast people backwards and make the holes,” Doubek said. “I just run behind those guys.”

“Our line has been great giving him holes,” quarterback Mitch Maycock said, “but Chris is a phenomenal runner. The best back I’ve ever played with.”

After grinding out a 7-6 win in last year’s semifinal, the Cardinals scored two touchdowns in the first five minutes Friday and built a 21-0 lead by the first play of the second quarter.

“We thought we matched up well with them again, but big games like this can be funny,” Tioga coach Nick Aiello said. “Once they got the momentum in the first half, it was hard to come back. For them to go up, 21-0, took the wind right out of our sails.”

Tioga (11-1), representing Section IV (Binghamton area), came in to its third straight semifinal averaging 43 points per game, but did not gain a first down until the second half against Randolph.

Coming off a record-setting 49-0 rout of Section V (Rochester area) champion Red Jacket, Randolph was ready for another defensive struggle with Tioga, but good field position and even better run blocking allowed the Cardinals to break the game open early.

After Tioga’s opening three-and-out, Randolph took over at its own 40, and a 33-yard Lucas Brown run set up Doubek’s first touchdown from 17 yards.

A 40-yard end-around pass from Bryce Morrison to Nick Hettenbaugh set up a 16-yard touchdown run by Doubek that made it 14-0 with 7:11 left in the first quarter.

Maycock connected with Morrison on a 20-yard play-action pass to give Randolph a three-touchdown lead eight seconds into the second quarter.

Brown capped a 13-play drive that spanned 6:47 with a 9-yard touchdown run in the final minute of the third quarter, and Maycock’s 1-yard sneak put Randolph up, 35-0, with 7:31 left in the fourth.

Tioga crossed midfield just once while Randolph’s defensive starters were in the game. On Randolph’s opening possession of the second half, Jesse Manuel (115 yards) recovered a Brown fumble at the Tigers’ 35 then ripped off a 24-yard run. Three more runs gave Tioga a fourth and 1 at the Randolph 32, but Doubek made the fourth down stop with a big hit on Tioga’s Brad Jump.

A 49-yard run by Manuel put Randolph’s shutout in jeopardy, and Jump scored on a 15-yard run to put Tioga on the board with 1:45 left in the game.

Randolph, which has not allowed more than 14 points in a game all season, now faces the challenge of a Chester team that beat Section VII (Plattsburgh area) champion Moriah, 55-14, on Friday. Chester quarterback Vinny Aloi tied a state record with seven touchdown passes.

“We just got to keep doing what we’ve been doing all year,” Maycock said. “Get behind our line up front and give the ball to Chris. He’s going to take us to a state championship.”

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