SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WKTV) - The Herkimer Magicians are the Class C Champions after defeating the Notre Dame/Rome Catholic Jugglers 28-14 Saturday at the Carrier Dome and following a week of controversy deciding on whom they would play against in the game. It's the Magicians' first section title since 1984.
While the controversy that stemmed from allegations against the number one seed in the league, the Skaneateles Lakers, will likely never fade, the win for Herkimer was impressive, beating a Class C East rival, whom they also beat in Week 2, 48-33.
The Skaneateles coaching staff was accused of recruiting players from others schools, in volition of Section 3 policy. The Lakers were originally scheduled to play in this championship until a state court judge in Syracuse upheld Section 3's ruling to disqualify Skanateles' season. With Skaneateles out of the picture, the team that they most recently had beaten was invited back to play in their place, that being ND/RCH.
The Jugglers got on the board first in Saturday's section final, with Colin Hulser, the school's all-time TD leader, scoring from 25 yards out. Herkimer responded with a score of their own, a 57 yard strike from Sean Crandall to Bryan McGuire.
With the score tied 7-7 in the second quarter, ND scored again, on a short TD by Hulser. The Magicians then got on the board on a seven yard TD run by Austin Mills, though their extra point missed, so the Jugglers held a 28-14 lead at halftime.
Herkimer never let up any more points, and got their offense in gear in the third quarter as McGuire exploded with a 72 yard touchdown run that turned the tide of the game. A Crandall two point conversion put the Generals up 21-14, then a fouth quarter TD pass from Crandall to Gio Aceto iced the win for Herkimer.
Crandall finished with 110 rushing yards and 150 passing yards, with his two TD strikes, though he also threw a pair of interceptions. On the season, Crandall now has 2,457 total yards and 33 touchdowns. "It was great," Crandall said after the win. "We were looking forward to it since the beginning of the season, this was our motivation all year and now we're going to try and bring the momentum from this to the state tournament."
The Magicians (10-0) advance to the regionals, where they will face Waverly (9-1), who beat previously undefeated Greene in the Section IV final. That game will be next Saturday at Noon from Binghamton's Alumni Stadium.