The Section III Class AA champion CBA football team heads into States with a 10-0 record. (photo Sharon Zazzara)
The No. 2 state ranked football team captured the Section III Class AA title on Saturday as they defeated Henninger 19-14 at the Carrier Dome.
The Brothers, now 10-0, face Elmira (9-0), the Section IV champions in the regional finals at Union Endicott High School on Saturday at 3:00 p.m. The winner will advance to the Nov. 23 state semifinals at Sahlen’s Stadium in Rochester against Aquinas or Jamestown.
For CBA, it was the 10th Section III championship, the fourth since being moved up to Class AA.
Trailing 14-13 with 8:28 remaining in the game, senior quarterback J.R. Zazzara, who played most of the game with an injured ankle, found pay dirt on a 59-yard run.
“We knew if was going to be a physical dogfight,” said Zazzara who rushed 24 times for 115 yards and was named the game’s Most Valuable Player. “It’s heart and intensity. This team. Coach Cas. It’s the love of this family and I will do anything for them.”
CBA took a 7-0 lead in the first quarter after junior Kane Alletzhauser forced a fumble, which was recovered by senior Tim Pierret on Henninger’s 29 yardline. Six plays later on a fourth and goal, senior Deshawn Salter rushed two yards for a Brothers touchdown.
Henninger scored with 33 seconds left in the second quarter, but missed the extra point and CBA went into the lockerroom with a 7-6 lead.
Salter, who finished with 158 yards on the afternoon, sprinted for a 38-yard run in the third quarter to set up the Brother’s next score. Senior Jonathan Stackhouse put the exclamation point on the drive with a 14-yard run. The Brothers missed the extra point.
Senior Sidney Vallery recovered a fumble near midfield at the beginning of the fourth quarter. The CBA offense stalled and was forced to punt. With 9:00 minutes left in the game, sophomore Nolan Brower’s punt was blocked by Henninger’s K.J. White who returned it 40 yards for the Black Knights score. Henninger successfully converted the 2-point conversion to take a 14-13 lead. But CBA trailed for only 32 seconds before Zazzara’s winning run.
“This was a great high school football game,” head coach Joe Casamento said. “The teams are so evenly matched. It was going to come down to who had the more stamina. Despite the injuries, our guys kept fighting.
“I love this team. I love these seniors,” he continued. “It will be hard to see them leave. But fortunately we still have at least another week together.”
Senior quarterback J. R. Zazzara was named the game's Most Valuable Player. (photo syracuse.com)