CICERO, NY (WKTV) - For the first time this season, Oneida's football team gave up more than 14 points in a game. Thankfully for the Indians, Section IV's Waverly gave up more than 20 for the first time this season, and Oneida made it count with a 27-21 win in the state Class B regional finals Saturday night at Cicero-North Syracuse.
Making its first-ever state playoff appearance after winning its first-ever sectional championship, Oneida let a 21-15 halftime lead slip away on its first possession of the second half when a low punt snap led to a blocked punt and a 15-yard touchdown return by Waverly's Tyler Bowman. But the Indians blocked the extra point attempt to keep the score tied at 21-21.
Late in the third quarter, Oneida re-took the lead when quarterback Ryan Kramer escaped a collapsing pocket and hit a wide-open Brandon Miles for a 13-yard touchdown, putting the Indians ahead 27-21.
The game would come down to a huge defensive stand by Oneida, as a Waverly run on 4th and goal and the 5-yard line with 4:52 remaining in the fourth quarter was stopped short. The Indians then ran out the clock to seal the victory.
Oneida, now 10-1 and ranked No. 7 in the state in Class B, will face No. 6-ranked Bath Haverling (10-1) from Section V in the state semifinals Saturday at PAETEC Park in Rochester at 3:00. Waverly, ranked No. 15 this week, ends the season 7-4.
Despite being in uncharted territory, Oneida jumped right on top of Waverly with a 79-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Joe McCormick. Kramer then ran for a 22-yard touchdown, and the Indians led 14-0. A short touchdown run by Waverly's Kevin Gorman cut it to 14-6 after one, but Kramer hit Miles for a touchdown in the second to push the lead to 21-6. Waverly got within six at the half on a 53-yard touchdown run by Greg Kipling and a field goal.