Class A preview: Williamsville North vs. II-Queensbury - The Buffalo News

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Class A preview: Williamsville North vs. II-Queensbury

Who: Williamsville North Spartans (9-3) vs. Section II (Albany area) champion Queensbury Spartans (12-0).

What: New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class A championship.

When: Today, 3 p.m.

Where: Carrier Dome, Syracuse.

Tickets: $10 for two-game session (Class A game is at 3 p.m.).

Television: Time Warner Cable SportsChannel (live).

Buffalo News large school poll (last poll Nov. 12): Williamsville North co-No. 3 (with St. Joe’s).

New York State Sportswriters Association Class A poll: Queensbury No. 1 (third straight week); Williamsville North No. 4 (up from No. 7).

Where’s Queensbury? About 40 miles north of Albany, located between Glens Falls to the south and Lake George to the north.

Williamsville North at the Dome: First appearance; the Spartans are first-time Section VI champions.

Queensbury at the Dome: 0-2. Lost in back-to-back trips in 1997 (14-11 to Vestal of Section IV) and 1998 (33-16 to Aquinas of Section V). Those were the program’s only other state tournament appearances.

Coaches: Williamsville North, Mike Mammoliti, 13th season (50-65); Queensbury, John Irion, 17th season (won 100th game at Queensbury in Week Three; his first two seasons were Queensbury’s last trips to the Dome).

How they got here: Williamsville North, which dropped its first two games of the season to McKinley and Williamsville South before losing its regular season finale to Grand Island, qualified as the seventh seed for the Section VI playoffs, then reeled off upset wins over South Park (No. 2 seed), Grand Island (No. 6 in overtime) and then dethroned six-time defending champion and the state’s No. 1 team in Sweet Home in the Section VI final, 21-12. It beat two-time Section V (Rochester) champion Eastridge, 20-16, in the Far West Regional thanks to a game-winning, 81-yard drive in the final minutes that culminated with an 18-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Majewski to Zac Kelly with 43 seconds to play. In last week’s state semifinals, Majewski threw three touchdowns in a 27-14 victory over Section IV (Binghamton area) winner Union-Endicott. Queensbury held off a challenge from Cornwall of Section IX (Dutchess, Orange, Sullivan, Ulster counties) in a 36-27 victory.

Williamsville North key players (and statistics): Sr. QB/DB Ryan Majewski, 6-0, 195 (105-236, 1,471 yards, 17 TDs, 6 INTs; 62-169 rushing, 5 TDs); Sr. RB/LB Derick Isler, 5-10, 165 (200-1,174, 9 TDs; 12-147 receiving, 3 TDs); Sr. WR/DB Kolbe Hughes, 6-4, 190 (41-725, 5 TDs); Jr. WR/DB Dean Thompson, 5-10, 160 (12-211, 3 TDs; 20-73, 3 TDs rushing); Jr. LB/WR Nick Ames, 6-0, 190 (81 tackles, 3 sacks); Jr. RB/LB Duke Hwang, 6-2, 255 (27-135, 2 TDs; 49 tackles, 8.5 sacks), Jr. OL/LB John Becht, 6-0, 185 (65 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 INTs); Jr. OL/DL George Attea, 6-3.5, 251 (66 tackles, 3.5 sacks); Jr. WR/DB Zac Kelly, 5-10, 145 (21-264, 3 TDs; 46 tackles, 4 INTs); Soph. TE/LB Nick Pilon, 6-0, 185 (52 tackles, 3 forced fumbles).

Williamsville North pre-snap read: After shocking the Western New York football world by beating Sweet Home, the Spartans have beaten the same teams the Panthers did last year to reach their third Class A state championship game in five years. Sweet Home beat Eastridge and then Union-Endicott before falling to Section II power Burnt Hills. North has beaten those same two teams and now faces a Queensbury team which knocked Burnt Hills out of the No. 1 state ranking when it won their game this season. Isler has been a two-way terror through the postseason, and when he was taken out of the offensive side for much of last week’s game, Thompson stepped up to make some good runs (11 rushes, 41 yards, TD). Majewski has come up with sensational throws at clutch times in the postseason, including last week’s three-TD performance. The Spartans’ size up front has been a force – including in the singular form of short-yardage pounding, lead-blocking, pass-rushing Hwang. Hwang is joined by Attea and Jake Ames on a front line which will be tested today.

Queensbury pre-snap read: These Spartans (both teams have the same nickname, North is primarily green while Queensbury is blue and gold) have driven to their undefeated record with physical play on both side of the ball, including a double-wing offense that incorporates a ton of ball carriers. Queensbury uses a rotation of about eight or nine backs per game, and 17 players have run the ball this season, adding up to about 4,000 yards and 58 TDs. Sophomore Brett Rodriguez has been the most dangerous player (104-1,095, 13 TDs rushing, 16 TDs overall), while other producers have been seniors Tim Voorhis (87-626, 8 TDs), Kalen Minott (62-549, 10 TDs) and Kody Bruno (64-517, 7 TDs) and junior Chris Goudy (39-322, 5 TDs). Queensbury rushed for 419 yards with nine different backs in the win over Cornwall. Queensbury’s passing numbers for the entire season (senior Aidan Switzer is 12 for 36 passing for 221 yards and two TDs) are somewhat comparable to what Majewski did in one game last week (9 for 15 for 204 yards and three TDs). Cornwall was able to throw on Queensbury (nearly 300 yards), but was limited to 32 yards on the ground.

— Keith McShea

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