1:48 p.m.: I’m here at a very empty Carrier Dome for the second annual Upstate-Downstate Football Classic. In a change from the state championships, the bleachers in front of the press box are closed. All the fans (maybe a few hundred) are seated on the opposite side of the field.
The Downstate team, which is wearing yellow, was just introduced. The Upstate team, in blue, is being introduced now. They should start the game in about 16 minutes, according to the Dome’s clock. I’ll be with you all afternoon posting live updates. Stick with me.
1:52 p.m.: It looks like the entire New Ro coaching staff made the trip. The big positive about having no fans in front of me? I can actually hear Lou DiRienzo from here.
1:54 p.m.: Looks like Lincoln DB DuJuan Heath and Holy Trinity RB Louis Cotrone are the captains for the Downstate team. Upstate captains are: Aquinas RB Mike Messina, Gates Chili OL Bruce Johnson, East High DB Calvin Bain and Geneva LB Colin Cooper.
1:59 p.m.: I’m picking the Downstate team to win, 34-27. The only major-college scholarship players on the Upstate team are Ashton Broyld (Syracuse) and Jon Fisher (Syracuse), and Fisher is a kicker. Downstate has: Tyree Smallwood (Syracuse), Brandon Reddish (Syracuse), Kevin Loh (West Virginia), Ryan Sloan (Syracuse), Andrew Oberg (UNLV), Ivan Foy (Syracuse) and Tyrell Goodman (Akron).
2:02 p.m.: The Upstate team deferred, so it will be the Downstate team returning the kickoff. They just announced the game will feature high school rules, except kickoffs can be returned from the end zone.
2:04 p.m.: Expect lots of delays today because of TV. Everyone is standing around and waiting at the moment. Bubby Manns looks like he wants to tackle someone.
2:06 p.m.: DL Wayne Williams of Lincoln and DB Tynell Brown of Curtis leading the Downstate team before kickoff. Now, it’s A.J. Pritchett of Roosevelt and Matt Tralli of Croton back to return the opening kickoff.
2:07 p.m.: John Jay coach Jimmy Clark running the offense today. Defenses are restricted to running a 4-3.
Smallwood receives the opening kickoff — a pooch.
2:09 p.m.: Tyler Heuer of Oceanside starting at Qb. Sidney Weston at TB.
Weston had four yards on the opening play, but he and Heuer had a miscommunication on an option run. That short circuited the drive and Downstate punts.
Mike Messina of Aquinas stuffed on return by Poughkeepsie’s Tyre Coleman. Ashton Broyld starting at QB for Upstate and he gets four yards on the game’s first carry. Then two on second down.
Jordan Lucas of New Ro is playing safety today. Teammate Mike Kozlakowski of Lynbrook and Coleman sack Broyld on third down. Upstate will punt.
2:13 p.m.: Tralli returns the punt about nine yards. Downstate will have it first and 10 at the 48. Terrel Hunt of Christ the King in at QB. Hunt is tackled after a 1-yard gain and then he is sacked trying to scramble. Third down. Somers OL Victor Prato is playing left tackle at the moment. Hunt is sacked on third down, but Downstate will go for it on fourth and 11. And Hunt is sacked for the third straight play. Not a good job by the Downstate offensive line or the scramble-happy Hunt there.
2:17 p.m.: Joe Licata of Williamsville South in at QB for the Upstate team. Upstate runs on first down and Sachem North LB Jesse Scanna makes a great tackle for a loss. On second down, Licata missed a streaking Messina. It could’ve been a TD.
On third, Syracuse-bound DB Kedar Hunter of Holy Cross picks off Licata and returns it into Upstate territory. Tyrell Goodman on and he immediately throws a pass 45 yards on the run into the end zone that is broken up.
After a 1-yard run, Goodman hits A.J. Pritchett on a 6-yard hitch, setting up fourth and 3. Goodman then draws Upstate offside and picks up the game’s first first down.
2:22 p.m.: Goodman takes it on the keeper and picks up a first down on a 10-yard run. Matt Tralli, Edgemont WR Brendan Connolly and Pritchett all on the field. It’s LoHud-only at the skill positions except for Roosevelt (LI) RB Donte Colter.
Colter had nine yards on first down, and a Goodman keeper picks up another first down to the 7. Goodman then keeps it to the 1. Second and goal. Goodman is then stopped on a keeper, but he hands it to Tyree Smallwood of Cornwall on third and 1 and he scores. Downstate leads 6-0. Pat Toole of Wallkill makes it 7-0 with the extra point with 3:07 to play in the half.
2:27 p.m.: Messina returns it and he’s gang tackled by the Downstate team. First and 10 Upstate at the 21. Ryan Smith of Guilderland in at QB for Upstate.
Here are the local guys on the field on D: Bubby Manns and Jordan Lucas of New Ro, Coleman of Poughkeepsie, Lusas Myer of John Jay and Jeff Clack of Stepinac. Clack just tackled Messina for a loss of two. But… on third and 5, Smith hits Kevin Amparo of Fowler on a 74-yard touchdown pass. Amparo beat Lincoln’s Selwyn Nichols on the play.
Extra point ties it at 7-7 with 1:29 left in the first. That’s the first negative play really all game for the Downstate team.
2:32 p.m.: Jordan Lucas and Matt Tralli were back to return the kickoff. Tralli takes it to the 24, where it will be first and 10. Heuer back in at QB. On first down, Heuer hits Poughkeepsie’s Dane Myers for a 20-yard gain. First down.
Heuer just scrambled for 9 yards but he was hit very, very hard in the helmet on the sideline. He’s down, but just got to his feet.
Sidney Weston just ran for a first down, picking up 3 yards on second and 1. Now, it’s a downstate player who is down. Somers’ Victor Prato, now at RT, had a nice block on the play.
We’re back underway here. First and 10 Downstate at the 42. Hunt just bounced a pass for Weston, but it was waived off because of a holding penalty. Myers had a nice 12-yard sweep on the next play, showing good speed. But on second and 8, Hunt and Weston botched an exchange, and the fumble was recovered by Rush-Henrietta’s Chris Swanson. Upstate ball.
2:41 p.m.: The first quarter ends on a 4-yard keeper from Ashton Broyld, who is back in at QB. It’s 7-7 at the end of the first quarter.
OK, we’re back. First-down pass by Broyld that went for about 10 yards. On the defense now for the Downstate team: Lucas at S, and Bronxville DT Stephen Shoemaker.
Upstate ran for 2, then Broyld is stopped for no gain by impressive Lynbrook LB Brandon Cheney. On third and 9, Broyld scrambled and picked up 6, but it looks like the Upstate team will attempt a field goal here on fourth and 2. The staff just called timeout with 9:45 to play. This would be a long attempt — 50 yards — so I’d be kind of surprised.
Sure enough, Broyld and the offense return to the field. Broyld keeps it right and had some great blocking. Jordan Lucas brings him out of bounds after a 9-yard gain. No one touched him.
A devastating block spring Broyld for a 14-yard gain. That got the crowd oohing and aahing. First and goal at the 5. Downstate holding firm on D though, setting up a third and goal from the 1 for Upstate. Broyld is then stuffed by the Downstate D. Now it’s fourth and goal from the 1.
Big play. Tyre Coleman and Jordan Lucas among those who stuff Broyld on fourth and goal at the 1. Downstate ball at the 1. Goodman back under center — 99 yards to go.
2:54 p.m.: Goodman keeps for 1 yard out of the end zone, then goes for 8 on a scramble. On third and 1, Louis Cortone gains 6 yards for the first down.
Goodman has been the best offensive player in this game. On second and 1, he picks up 18 yards, which is good for a first down at the Downstate 43.
Goodman now: 8-yard pass, 16-yard run. Smallwood follows with a 27-yard scamper up the Upstate sideline to carry the ball down to the 16.
On second and 9 from the 15, Goodman makes his first mistake. He lobbed what he thought was an open pass. It should’ve been an interception, but the ball was dropped. It will set up a third and 9 at the Upstate 15. Timeout Lou DiRienzo with 1:59 left in the half.
Goodman sacked on third down. It was a coverage sack. The defense had Goodman pinned on on a designed rollout right and dragged him down. Looks like Downstate will attempt a field goal.
The 47-yard field goal attempt by Pat Toole of Wallkill is good. It’s now 10-7 Downstate with 1:35 to go in the half after starting the drive at its own half-yard line.
3:06 p.m.: First and 10 from the 18 for Upstate with 1:28 to go in the half. Jordan Lucas helped on the tackle on the kickoff. He has been very active.
On second down, 350-pound DT Will Williams of Lincoln will be credited with a sack, but Joe Licata, the Upstate QB, simply dropped the ball as he pulled back to throw. Licata then throws incomplete on third down, and the Downstate team will get one more chance after a punt here.
Tralli and Pritchett are back to return.
3:09 p.m.: Short punt. No return. Terrel Hunt in at QB. First and 10 at the 44, but only 16 seconds remain in the half. Looks like we’ll probably get one or two hail marys.
Nope. Hunt scrambles and is tackled after a 2-yard gain. Timeout. There are just seven seconds remaining in the first half. Hunt scrambles again. He picks up about 15 yards, but it’s all for naught. Downstate needed to throw there.
HALFTIME: Downstate 10, Upstate 7.
Downstate has outgained Upstate 170-130, and has eight first downs to just three for Upstate. But the 74-yard touchdown pass was huge.
3:32 p.m.: The second half is underway. It begins with Bubby Manns making his first play, tossing down Messina on the opening kickoff of the third quarter. Upstate ball, first and 10 at its 26.
On second down, big Wayne Williams of Lincoln stuffs the ball carrier at the line. Third and 3 now.
The third-down pass was incomplete. Jordan Lucas returned the ensuing punt 13 yards to give Downstate the ball, first and 10, at the Upstate 49. Goodman back at QB.
3:36 p.m.: Sidney Weston picks up 13 yards on a first-down run. Goodman then throws a screen to Brendan Connolly for a yard, and hits Weston for 23 yards and a first down.
On first and 10 from the 12, Goodman keeps for 3 yards. Matt Tralli then runs a sweep to the right and is dragged down from behind after picking up 6. It’s now 3 and 1 from the 3.
Downstate self-destructs again when its offense was in good position. The shotgun snap on 3 and 1 sailed over Goodman’s head. He tracked it down, but it was a 23-yard loss. Now the Downstate will attempt a field goal from 43 yards. Toole was $$$ earlier from 47.
3:42 p.m.: Downstate takes a 13-7 lead on a 43-yard field goal from Wallkill’s Pat Toole. So far, he’s been the MVP. His two 40-plus yarders are the difference.
Broyld should be on the field on this drive. Let’s see if he can answer. So far Goodman has been 3 for 3 in scoring drives. All of his series have produced points.
3:45 p.m.: After two runs by the running backs, Broyld bounces a short pass on third down. Upstate will punt.
Wow. Another short punt. Lucas and Pritchett were back to return, but the ball comes 20 yards short of them. Downstate ball, first and 10, at the Upstate 34. Hunt under center.
3:49 p.m.: Three runs by Weston give the Downstate team a first down at the 21. Hunt then runs a bootleg and runs it for 19 yards down to the 2. First down at the 2 for the Downstate team.
After a 1-yard gain by Weston, Hunt keeps it for a 1-yard TD run. Toole nails the extra point to make it 20-7 Downstate team.
The Downstate team has been better every step of the way today. This is a very dominant performance. A couple fumbles have kept it from being a four-TD game.
3:53 p.m.: Upstate team getting very frustrated and the last few possessions have gotten a little chippy. Some definite trash talk going on in this one.
Upstate just threw incomplete on fourth and 14, giving the ball to the Downstate team on the Upstate 20. Goodman back in on offense with Tyree Smallwood and Pritchett.
4:00 p.m.: This guy Goodman is good. He was just stuck three yards behind the line of scrimmage but juked two defenders and then snuck between. He scampered 13 yards for the score, making it 27-7 Downstate with 16 seconds left in the third quarter.
4:03 p.m.: There was a gang tackle on the kickoff return, led by New Ro’s Bubby Manns. Upstate then ran for four yards on first down, which brought an end to the third quarter. Downstate leads 27-7 heading into the fourth.
After a first down by the Upstate team, QB Ryan Smith is leveled on first and 15 by Tyre Coleman, who has been outstanding today. He and Lucas have been on the field the majority of the game.
Two incomplete passes set up a fourth and 23 and the Upstate team will punt. Lucas and Tralli back to return. It was a good kick, Tralli let it land. Downstate ball at its 48 with 9:53 to play.
4:13 p.m.: Great, GREAT, throw by Terrel Hunt of CTK for a 52-yard TD. He hit Brandon Reddish on the bomb, which traveled over 50 yards in the air. Downstate now leads 34-7 in the fourth quarter.
4:15 p.m.: Broyld completes a pass for 7 yards on first down. The receiver was brought down by Manns. Broyld then keeps it for 28 yards and a first down, getting the ball inside Downstate territory.
Broyld then completes a 5-yard pass. He runs for 3, he runs for 1, setting up a fourth and 1. You know the Downstate D would love a stop here.
4:20 p.m.: Dale Stewart of Niagara loses 5 yards. The ball is knocked out by Manns and recovered by John Jay’s Lucas Myer. Downstate ball.
On third and 3 on the ensuing possession, Goodman keeps it for 18 yards and a first down.
4:30 p.m.: The Downstate team stuck to the ground, and that was plenty. Andrew Vital of Lincoln just finished off a nine-play, 62-yard drive with a 5-yard TD run.
Terrible news, however, on the extra point. Toole’s kick was good, but he was hit in the kicking leg by an Upstate defender. Toole was screaming on the field so loudly that I could hear him in the press box over 100 yards away. They’re now bringing out the stretcher.
4:37 p.m.: Nice moment: Crowd chants MVP for Toole, who made FGs of 43 and 47 and went 5 for 5 on PAT. Entire Downstate team crowds around stretcher to wish Toole luck before he’s taken off the field.
4:40 p.m.: I have Tyrell Goodman for 91 yards rushing and 38 yards passing. The Downstate team scored on all five drives when Goodman was on the field.
4:42 p.m.: After a punt, Downstate has the ball back. It will just take a few knees to seal the game.
FINAL: Downstate 41, Upstate 7.