Maine-Endwell settles in, puts 53-8 hurting on Homer

Once Maine-Endwell got past largely self-inflicted damage that was the root of a second-quarter tie, the Spartans stormed past Homer into the semifinal round of Class B state football playoffs.

The lead wasn’t M-E’s for good until past the midway point of the second quarter, but then came a stream of large-yardage scores that made for a 53-8 victory Saturday at Cicero-North Syracuse High School.

The tidied-up Spartans produced 20 points in a span of under six minutes of that second quarter to assume 28-8 command and proved unstoppable from there in the chill of northern Onondaga County.

Quarterback Anthony Policare came up with the most meaningful touchdowns of the afternoon as the Spartans secured continued defense of their state championship.

What it means

  • Maine-Endwell improves its record in state-playoff competition to 21 wins, three losses.
  • The Spartans remain in line for the program’s first unbeaten season since 2014.
  • The New York State Sports Writers Association’s No. 1 Class B ranking has been secured for at least another week.

What’s next

Maine-Endwell (11-0) moves on to a semifinal, 3 p.m. Nov. 26 at Union-Endicott, against 5-Batavia or 6-Iroquois. The 5-6 game is to be played 6 p.m. Monday at Batavia.

Key sequences

  • The score was 8-8 when M-E took possession at its 35-yard line and set off on a seven-play drive finished when Ty Woolfolk rushed inside for a 24-yard touchdown to make it 14-8 with 5:41 remaining in the first half.
  • Following Austin Nyschot’s punt return of 38 yards to Homer’s 35, Policare took the next snap and zipped through room aplenty outside/right for a score three minutes before halftime.
  • Following a Homer punt, the Spartans began one final possession of the half with 25.9 seconds left. Policare rushed for 7 yards, spiked the ball on second down, then started a rush left, detected space toward the middle and completed a 73-yard TD carry to make it 28-8 on the final play of the half.
  • M-E started the third quarter’s opening possession at its 37, converted on fourth-and-4 when Policare’s hard count induced a penalty, and finished with Ethan Sadler rushing 36 yards on a well-blocked inside rush. Aidan McHugh’s two-pointer made it 36-8 with 6:49 to play in the third.

Early miscues overcome

The Spartans lost a fumble three minutes into play, muffed a wind-blown punted ball late in the first quarter, and had another fumble turn into an 11-yard return for points by the Trojans’ Tyler Riehlman_ same guy who recovered the first fumble.

Those miscues may be lost on many after a 45-point win, but they just may be addressed come film room and practice field, with the greatest stakes upcoming.

By the numbers

  • Maine-Endwell’s seven touchdowns ranged in length from 24 yards to 73 yards, two from 60 or more.
  • The Spartans defeated Homer by 48-22 in a 2021 quarterfinal.
  • Homer dropped to an 0-5 record in state playoffs.
  • The Class B outcome made it three Section 4 quarterfinal winners exceeding 40-point totals against Section 3 opponents.

Game balls to …

  • Woolfolk, who was saluted as M-E’s Most Valuable Player based on his two-way contributions.
  • The Spartans’ offensive front, which took care of business against a once-beaten squad that had shut out three of its most recent four opponents.
  • Policare, whose back-to-back second-quarter touchdowns changed the complexion of the game.

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