SYRACUSE – Amid all the familiar faces and programs that were playing Section III football championship games at the JMA Wireless Dome last weekend, East Syracuse Minoa was a new and refreshing presence.
And while the experience of a big stage was unforgettable, the opposition proved unstoppable.
Whitesboro, echoing what it had done two months earlier, played strong in all phases of the game and, by defeating the Spartans 55-6, added another sectional title to its winning legacy.
Having won back-to-back road games at Auburn and West Genesee, the Spartans now were in the Class A final, not expected to keep up with a Whitesboro side which was 8-1, in the state top 10 and had beaten them 48-17 back in September.
For all the optimism and momentum ESM carried into the Dome, it took just a single play to snuff it out.
On Whitesboro’s first offensive play from scrimmage, quarterback Kyle Meier followed some crushing blocks and, from his own 38-yard line, dashed 62 yards to the other end zone, immediately putting his side in front 7-0.
Settling down, the Spartans were able to keep Whitesboro quiet for the rest of the first quarter, but the respite proved short as a longer Whitesboro drive led to another Meier touchdown early in the second period on a 10-yard scramble.
Even when a Whitesboro drive stalled, it managed to pin ESM at its own one-yard line and, when Kaleb Johnson made a tackle in the end zone for a safety, the Spartans’ deficit grew to 16-0.
The ensuing free kick led to yet another Whitesboro scoring drive. With the Spartans crowding the line of scrimmage, Meier threw over them, 43 yards to Anthony Dorozynski with 2:19 left in the half.
Staring at a 23-0 margin at the break, ESM could only hope that its offense could generate something to match the ruthless efficiency Whitesboro had displayed so far.
Something finally clicked early in the third quarter, the Spartans moving to the Whitesboro six before Micah Combs found the end zone, but all that seemed to do was rile up the opposition.
Two big plays put the game further out of reach, Meier again finding Dorozinski on a 47-yard TD strike and, minutes later, Meier continuing his dominant night with a 56-yard scoring dash that put him past the 200-yard rushing mark.
But Meier still wasn’t done. He scored from 12 yards out before the third period was done, capping a night where he put up 263 yards on just 15 carries and completed four of seven passes for 110 yards. Overall, Whitesboro gained 430 yards on the ground.
Whitesboro breezed to a sectional title, while ESM could still celebrate a season that may have defied the expectations of others – but not its own.