Olean had one of the fastest teams in Western New York this football season, but Bath was just as fast Saturday. And they were bigger. Much bigger.
A mammoth offensive line led the way as Mark Robinson carried 28 times for 142 yards and two touchdowns and also threw a touchdown pass in Bath's 28-6 win over Olean in the Class B Far West Regionals.
About 2,000 in Ralph Wilson Stadium saw Bath's second straight regional win over Olean. The Rams dominated the previously undefeated Huskies (10-1), who were ranked first in The Buffalo News small school poll all season. With snow flurries floating over a frigid field, Olean had its standout speed neutralized as it rushed for just 14 yards. When the Huskies tried to pass, Bath grabbed four interceptions.
"They're a good power team, and that's what they did: they took it to us," said Olean coach Mike Kane. "We rely on speed, and in this kind of weather we couldn't get it done. We need to score a lot of points, and we couldn't get it in the end zone."
Bath (10-0) advances to the state semifinals at 11 a.m. Saturday at Syracuse University's Carrier Dome. The Rams will play Section IV (Binghamton area) champion Chenango Forks, which beat Section III (Syracuse area) winner Solvay, 35-21, Friday.
Olean lineman Tommy Kallenbach was named the defensive MVP after an outstanding day (six solo tackles, 13 assists). But the 5-foot-11, 190-pound Kallenbach and the Huskies were up against some much bigger boys.
The Rams' defensive line is anchored by 6-foot-2, 300-pound Cory Dungan, while the offensive line had 230- and 260-pounders as well as a 6-2, 280-pound tight end in Garrett Lang. The big bodies cleared the way for Robinson, stuffed the Olean rushing attack led by 5-2, 136-pound sophomore Julio Fuentes (21 yards on seven carries) and kept Huskies quarterback Brandon Kiffer (5 for 21, four interceptions, five sacks) on the run all day.
"We saw what they had, we saw the line and the great running back that was back from last year," said Kane, "and we knew it was going to be a war."
Robinson ran 41 times for 191 yards in last year's 24-22 win by Bath, and Saturday he picked up where he left off. He scored on a 12-yard run on Bath's opening drive for a 7-0 lead. One possession later, Robinson scored on a 33-yard run up the right sideline.
Olean appeared to make a game of it when the Huskies put great pressure on a Bath punt and gained possession at the Rams' 21. After a run lost a yard, Kiffer zinged a pass across the middle to 6-6, 220-pound senior Greg Spears for a touchdown. But Bath regained its two-touchdown cushion on a 28-yard touchdown pass from Keith Cagle to Andrew Fuerst for a 21-6 halftime lead.
Early in the second half, Putnam picked off a Kiffer pass to set Bath up at the Olean 34. Robinson carried to the left on a halfback option, and just before he was about to be hit, he flung a pass downfield to Billy Bridges for the final score.