Neither team expected the outcome they got Saturday in the sectional title game for Class D in Brockport, a lopsided win for Oakfield-Alabama/Elba over Alexander 35-7.
"I don't think we were (expecting a lopsided win) either," said OAE Head Coach Tyler Winter. "You know, both teams being undefeated, both teams dominating each game that they've played up to this point. We weren't sure what to expect. The only thing that we knew going into (the game) is that one of us was going to get punched in the mouth early, and both teams were going to be uncomfortable."
The Aggies scored first and that seemed to set the tone of the game.
Trojans' Head Coach gave a frank assessment of his team's performance.
"We just kind of got behind early and never could dig out from it," Sawyer said. "Too many mistakes. We had a couple of bad snaps, and Oakfield-Alabama/Elba was opportunistic on penalties. We just couldn't keep our offense on the field. Defensively we need to tackle better if you're gonna tackle these Oakfield Alabama/Elba boys. So, just not a good day for us today."
Senior running back Noah Currier was the game's MVP. He rushed 22 times for 156 yards and three touchdowns.
Bodie Hyde also made all-team. He had 23 carries for 104 yards and a touchdown.
Adding to the scoring was Connor Scott, who dashed into the endzone to close out OAEs scoring in the fourth quarter on an 11-yard run.
On defense, Hyde had eight tackles, a sack, and a forced fumble. Brayden Smith had nine tackles and a sack. T.J. Andrews had nine tackles. Kyle Porter had four tackles, a fumble recovery, and an interception. Aiden Warner had eight tackles.
The Aggies held Alexander to 105 yards rushing and 14 yards passing.
For the Trojans, Tyler Marino led the team in rushing with 15 carries for 67 yards and a TD.
OAE Held Alexander to 105 yards rushing and only 14 yards passing.
Tyler Marino led the Trojans in rushing with 15 carries - 67 yards and 1 TD. Woods was 2-7 passing for 14 yards and 1 int.
Defensively Kaden Lyons and Mason Bump led the Trojans with eight tackles each.
Coming out of half-time, Winter said he and his coaches felt they had set the pace in the first half and, with some adjustments, take over the game over the final two quarters.
"We thought in the second half, we could play with tempo a little bit, that we could just really put the exclamation point on this game and run away with it,"
The Aggies were up 14-0 at the half and scored three more touchdowns in the third and fourth quarters.
Currier wasn't surprised by the win.
"We knew coming into this game against Alexander, they're a tough team," Currier said. "They're physical. They're fast. But we knew we were better. We just had to come out and execute, do everything perfect. And we did. I think we did."
He thinks his team has something special that helped it deliver a big blow to the Trojans.
"We're bringing the heat every day in practice, every time we're in the game," Currier said. "I'll tell you why. We just have the energy. I mean everyone, not only me, but all 11 on each side of the ball, bring the energy. I think that's what makes us who we are."
Hyde said he was also confident coming into the game, especially coming off of last year's title win.
"You go back to back to the amount of success we had last year, we know what it takes to get back here and have success," Hyde said. "We put in a ton of work over the offseason with whether that's in the weight room, whether that's seven on sevens or 11 on 11 scrimmages in the middle of June at Batavia. We were working all offseason and we knew the work we put in would make us able to get back to this spot and become successful again."
Smith also pointed to weight room work as a key to the team's success.
"We were lifting all summer," Smith said. "My D line, they're strong, they're big, they're fast. They make a new line of scrimmage for us. We can free flow to the ball and we can meet them in the hall and we can take them back and get some TFLs (tackles for losses)."
Winter said all that off-season preparation pays off in the postseason.
"Once November rolls around, we know that that we're going to play our style and our type of game and finish the opponent," Winter said.
Next up for OAE is last year's far-west opponent, Randolf. Hyde, for one, thinks his team is ready.
"I think we can go a long way. I know, obviously, this is really good right now," Hyde said. "We're gonna celebrate this for the next few days, but Monday, it's back to work. We play a really good Randolph team that we know pretty well. We played them last year. They know us, so it's gonna be huge to get back to work and stay locked in to see how far we really can go with this team."
As odd as it might sound, Alexander's season is not over. There are eleven sections in New York High School Athletics, so to ensure there are 12 teams available for the final brackets, the second-place teams from one section get to play a state tournament quarter-final. This year, it is Section V's turn to send second-place teams to the quarter-finals. Alexander will represent Section V Class D in Albany next week.
That puts Coach Sawyer in a challenging position -- getting his team ready for another big game after a big defeat in a sectional title game.
"I hope this bothers our kids, it should you know, but on Monday, Monday is the start of a new week and we need to come back and fix a few things and move forward," Sawyer said. "We could sit here and be upset about this loss and waste the next opportunity, which is right here in front of us. I mean, we've got a game in six days and, yes, it's our first loss of the season so these guys haven't had this taste, you know what I mean? And but we'll come back strong and put a game plan together and go try to win out east."
Winter said going into the game, he knew could be in Sawyer's position so he has some advice for the Alexander squad.
"It's funny you say that because that's a perspective that we had to take a look at -- how does a coach pick their team up off the ground after a loss in the sectional files and say, 'Hey, we got to play,'" Winters said. "If their teams is built anything similar to our team, we love each other. We have a lot of fun. So although today might be really tough, and probably tomorrow as well, by the time Monday rolls around, let's say we're at least fortunate that we get to play another game. And if so, maybe they can even use us in the future as a potential motivator. I mean, they might see us again, and I'm sure that they want a different storyline to go with that."
Top four photos by Kristin Smith. Top photo, game MVP Noah Currier.
Photos below by Philip Casper.
Tyler Marino scores Alexander's lone touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Alexander's all-team winner, Connor Thompson.