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NYSPHSAA Class D football semifinal preview: CSP vs. Tioga

Who: Clymer/Sherman/Panama Wolfpack (11-0) vs. IV-Tioga Tigers (9-2)

When: 4 p.m. Friday

Where: Ty Cobb Stadium at Union-Endicott High School

Tickets: $10

Rankings: CSP is ranked No. 7 in the News' small schools poll and No. 1 in the New York State Sportswriters Poll. Tioga is ranked second in the state.

NYSPHSAA semifinal records: This is Clymer/Sherman/Panama’s first appearance as a merged program. Clymer went 1-3 (1999-2002) as an unmerged program. Neither Sherman nor Panama has reached this stage of the postseason. Tioga is 1-5 in the semifinals, winning in 2015 en route to the state title. The Tigers lost to Maple Grove last year, 32-27.

Coaches: CSP, Ty Harper, fourth season (24-20); Tioga, Nick Aiello, ninth season (80-19)

CSP key players and statistics: Jr. QB Gerrit Hinsdale (96-153-1,428-17 TDs passing), Sr. RB Derek Ecklund (170-1,169-16 TDs rushing; 14-153-3 receiving), Sr. RB Michael Beatman (92-799-10 rushing; 9-143-1 receiving), Jr. WR Cam Barmore (35-681-9; 62 tackles), Sr. LB Robert Overton (60 tackles), Sr. DE/TE Chance Meeder (53 tackles, 7 TFL, 2.0 sacks)

Tioga key players and statistics: Jr. QB Brady Worthing (26-49-440-3 TDs passing; 81-587-6 TDs rushing), Fr. RB Emmett Wood (150-1,276-15 TDs rushing), Sr. RB John Worthing (135-899-11; 17-232-3 receiving), Sr. TE/SS Austin Lamb, Sr. OT/DT Stephen Taylor

How they got here: CSP advanced by defeating then-state No. 2 Alexander, 29-6, in the Far West Regional last week at Clarence High School. Ecklund rushed 26 times for a game-high 186 yards and scored CSP’s opening touchdown on a 4-yard run. Barmore, Beatman and John Swabik also scored for the winners, which amassed 338 yards in total offense on 58 plays. CSP limited the Trojans to 189 yards

Tioga advanced by crushing Section III champion Onondaga, 56-6, to reach the state final four for the seventh time in eight years. Owen Wanck scored twice in the first quarter to highlight a four-touchdown first half by the Tigers, who outgained Onondaga 512 yards to 146.

Pre-snap read: Tioga doesn’t throw much. That said, the Tigers have size and play physical, which creates an intriguing matchup. They also have depth at running back, a key reason they’ve attempted less than 50 passes in the season.

CSP asserted its will last week in win against Alexander and could’ve won by more had it done a better job finishing drives during the first half.

That brings us to perhaps the biggest key for the Wolfpack. They must avoid potential drive-killing mistakes in the red zone – whether it results from a bad snap, fumble or penalties. They also must block and tackle well. CSP also must take advantage of big-play chances in the passing game.

What’s next: The winner advances to the New York State Public High Schools Athletic Association championship game to face I-Haldane or VII-Moriah at noon Nov. 23 at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse. The East semifinal has been moved to noon Sunday at Middletown High.

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