SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The Herkimer Magicians outscored defending champion Sandy Creek 22-0 in the second half Saturday and claimed Section III’s Class D championship with a 43-14 win in the Carrier Dome.
The Magicians (9-1), champions the two previous years in classes C and C-2, scored on the game’s first play from scrimmage and led 14-0 in the first quarter. Sandy Creek (8-2) rallied to tie the game but Herkimer took the lead back on Brennen Thompson’s 16-yard touchdown run 77 second later then ran away from the Comets.
Herkimer recovered Sandy Creek’s onsides kick to start the game then scored on a 63-yard Austin Mills-to-Thompson pass play. Mills would later pass for another touchdown and run for three scores.
Mills’ six-yard touchdown run put Herkimer up 14-0 following Ryan Fahy’s recovery of a Sandy Creek fumble at the Comets’ 33-yard line. Fahy’s recovery would be the first of five takeaways for the Herkimer defense.
Cameron Hall ran 17 yards for a Sandy Creek touchdown in the first quarter and quarterback Kyle Fayette ran 14 yards for the tying score in the second.
The game would remain tied for exactly three offensive plays. A short run started the next Herkimer drive and was followed by a 10-yard gain by Zach Steele on a screen pass from Mills. Thompson broke loose on a 33-yard run on the next play then raced 16 yards to the left pylon for the go-ahead touchdown.
The Magicians missed a chance to extend their lead when Fayette intercepted a pass from Mills in the end zone with 1:16 left in the half. Herkimer’s Eric Johnston picked off a Fayette pass at the Magicians’ 4 on the final play before halftime.
Sandy Creek had the ball to start the second half but fumbled it away again with Adam Kirkpatrick pouncing on the ball for Herkimer. Starting at midfield and overcoming two penalties, the Magicians drove for another score on Mills’ 28-yard touchdown pass to Johnston.
Mills ran nine yards for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter and did so again early in the fourth. The Magicians added a 34-yard Matt Borek field goal following an interception by Mills.
Herkimer will play a regional playoff Friday at 5 p.m. at Union-Endicott High School against Tioga, the Section IV champion. Tioga scored 43 points in the second quarter Saturday and defeated Unatego 80-53 for its third consecutive sectional title; the Tigers led 59-12 at halftime.
More to come.
HERKIMER 43, SANDY CREEK 14
Sandy Creek 7 7 0 0 — 14
Herkimer 14 7 12 10 — 43
HERK — Brennen Thompson 63 pass from Austin Mills (Matt Borek kick), 11:44.
HERK — Mills 6 run (Borek kick), 3:47.
SC — Cameron Hall 17 run (Tyler Swarthout kick), :31.
Page 2 of 2 - SC — Kyle Fayette 14 run (Swarthout kick), 4:52.
HERK — Thompson 16 run (Borek kick), 3:35.
HERK — Eric Johnston 28 pass from Mills (pass failed), 8:40.
HERK — Mills 9 run (pass failed), 1:06.
HERK — Mills 9 run (Borek kick), 10:38.
HERK — Borek 34 field goal, 6:55.
Records — Sandy Creek 8-2; Herkimer 9-1.