Notre Dame falls to Unatego
BINGHAMTON, N.Y. - The Spartans of Unatego escaped a defensive battle with the Crusaders of Notre Dame High School of Elmira. The Spartans used a potent passing attack to pick apart the Crusaders' defense. Unatego advances to the Section 4 finals as the loss ends the season for Notre Dame.
The Spartans were led by sophomore quarterback Josh Feyerabend who led a powerful passing attack that picked apart the Crusaders defense. Feyerabend passed for 216 yards and a score through the air on 15 for 30 passing. Hunter Thomas, senior quarterback for the Crusaders, went 14 for 22 passing for 111 yards.
Chris Whiston, freshman running back for Notre Dame, ran the ball 11 times for 123 yards to lead all rushers on the evening. Tom Agan - senior and Derrick Stark - freshman each had rushing touchdowns for Notre Dame.
Corbin Henry pounded the ball into the endzone twice for Unatego as junior Tanner Winchester scored the other touchdown for the Spartans.
Spartans used four turnovers to take the game as they had three interceptions and a fumble recovery.
In what would eventually be a defensive battle, things didn't start out that way. Unatego opened up the game with the football. They marched right down the field as Feyerabend connected with Kellen Komenda in the back of the endzone to take a 7-0 lead following Feyerabend's point after attempt.
On the very next drive, Notre Dame would respond instantly. On their very first play from scrimmage, Tom Agan, took the hand-off, hit the corner and was off to the races. He crossed the goal-line following a 58-yard run. The Crusaders would attempt the two-point conversion and would fail to convert.
Following a turnover on downs by Unatego, the Crusaders went to work again. They made their way to the 20-yard line before Thomas's pass was intercepted for the first time on the game by Riley Hanrahan. Following the first quarter, the Spartans led 7-6.
The Crusaders would force another turnover on downs by the Spartans but turned the ball over again as Agan put the ball on the ground as Corbin Henry scooped the ball up to give possession to the Spartans.
The teams traded turnovers on down before Notre Dame got the ball with less than two minutes left before halftime. They started from their own 27, made their way to their own 31 right before Thomas threw another interception to end the half by Henry. The score remained 7-6 at halftime.
The Crusaders began the second half with the football. They again drove the length of the field before Thomas threw his third interceptions of the game as Joel VanAlstine picked him off, broke a few tackles before finally being taken down following an 80-yard return.
Two plays later Marszal pounded the ball into the endzone following a 6-yard run. The Spartans took a 14-6 lead.
A few drives later, Winchester took the ball around the corner and headed towards the endzone. As he approaches the goal line, he attempted to stretch the ball over the goal line before Whitson applied a massive hit that dislodged the ball and Tyler Jones fell on it in the endzone.
Notre Dame would capitalize on the mistake as they capped off a 80-yard drive with an 11-yard Derrick Stark touchdown run. They attempted a two-point conversion to tie the game but failed to convert.
The Spartans responded however on the very next drive as Winchester would pound in his second touchdown on the game. The PAT would be blocked and the Spartans led 20-12.
Notre Dame, without any time outs, went to work with 2:26 left on the clock. They made their way all the way to their own 6-yard line. With one last effort, Thomas looked to connect with his receiver in the back of the endzone but Henry picked the ball off for his third takeaway on the game.
Feyerabend and the Spartans would enter the victory formation on the next play and began to celebrate as time expired.