NEWPORT, N.Y. — Things were going West Canada Valley’s way Saturday before Sandy Creek Comet Cameron Hall intercepted a pass and ran it back for a touchdown.
Hall’s touchdown gave the Comets their first points and swung the momentum Sandy Creek’s way in the Section III Class D quarterfinal. Trailing 14-0 at the time, Sandy Creek rallied and won 34-14 on the road to extend its season.
West Canada Valley had just stopped the Comets (7-1) on fourth down at the Indians’ 11-yard line and had scored on two of their first three possessions. A personal foul call for a facemask infraction gave the Indians a first down at the 28. Two short runs left the Indians with a third-and-eight and quarterback Ryan Moody went to the air. Hall jumped the route of Moody’s intended receiver, caught the ball and dashed 42 yards down the home sideline for a touchdown.
The Sandy Creek offense finished off its next drive and pulled event at 14 when Kyle Fayette threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Zach Halsey and Tyler Swarthout added the point-after.
The touchdown left West Canada Valley with the ball and one nightmarish minute remaining in the first half. The Indians fumbled on the second play after the change of possession and Comet Bobby Cornell recovered it for the the third Sandy Creek takeaway of the game. Working with 11.7 seconds on the clock, Fayette and Hall each threw a pass that fell incomplete with the clock expiring on Hall’s halfback option pass. A pass interference call gave the Comets one more untimed down and advanced the ball to the West Canada Valley 15 where the Indians promptly jumped offsides and moved the ball five yards closer to the goal line. Seeing its chance to grab the lead before halftime, Sandy Creek ran a screen to the left side but Indian Ryan Grogan wrapped Hall up for a loss of one yard to preserve the tie.
An 11-yard punt set the stage for Sandy Creek’s go-ahead drive. Swarthout’s 36-yard run ended short of the goal line when he was forced out of bounds by Moody and Brandon Roberts but Swarthout took the ball again on the next play and bulled his way into the end zone from four yards out.
The score remained 21-14 into the middle of the fourth quarter when another short put set the Comets up at the West Canada valley 40. A 15-yard by Hall and a 16-yarder by Swarthout — on which the defense was penalized for blocking below the waist — set up another short run by Swarthout. The Comets got the ball back on Hall’s second interception and added a touchdown run by Cornell with 1:55 left to play.
After the teams traded turnovers on back-to-back plays in the first quarter — an interception by Moody followed by a fumble recovery by John Shirley — West Canada Valley scored on its next two drives. Grogan capped an 86-yard drive with a 15-yard touchdown run on a toss to the left then scored again on the opening play of the second quarter, a 26-yard sweep to the left with a dive to the pylon.
Page 2 of 2 - Grogan ran for 77 yards on 18 carries while Treyten Borden had 61 on nine. Riley Synenki had 10 tackles and Jordan Yaworski nine to lead the Indians’ defense.
Sandy Creek, the defending champion, meets Dolgeville, an upset winner over top seed Weedsport Friday, in a semifinal Friday at Rome’s RFA Stadium. The other Class D semifinal between Herkimer and Westmoreland will be played at the same time at Utica’s D’Alessandro Stadium.
SANDY CREEK 24, WEST CANADA VALLEY 14
Sandy Creek 0 14 7 13 — 34
West Canada Valley 7 7 0 0 — 14
WCV — Ryan Grogan 15 run (Zach Woods kick), 5:11.
WCV — Grogan 26 run (Woods kick), 11:51.
SC — Cameron Hall 42 interception return (Tyler Swarthout kick), 4:54.
SC — Zach Halsey 29 pass from Kyle Fayette (Swarthout kick), 1:06.
SC — Swarthout 4 run (Swarthout kick), 4:39.
SC — John Shirley 4 run (Swarthout kick), 3:52.
SC — Bobby Cornell 2 run (kick blocked), 1:55.
Records — Sandy Creek 7-1; West Canada Valley 5-3.