CBA Takes Lead With 1:01 Remaining, Eliminates Red Raiders In State Semifinal
CICERO — When Christian Brothers Academy quarterback Jordan Rae’s fourth-down pass fell incomplete with 80 seconds remaining Friday night, Jamestown’s bench erupted in delight.
The Red Raiders’ defense — bend but don’t break for four quarters — had stepped up for what appeared to be one final time in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class A semifinal at Cicero-North Syracuse High School.
Most importantly, a date next week in the state championship game at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse — for the sixth time in program history — seemed all but secure.
But there was one problem for Coach Tom Langworthy’s team. There was a yellow flag lying on the snow-covered turf across the field and away from the play.
Armed with new life, a fresh set of downs and the ball at Jamestown’s 21, Rae connected with Jason Brunson on a 19-yard touchdown pass with 1:01 left to send Christian Brothers Academy to a 20-18 victory over the Red Raiders.
The win advances the Brothers (8-3) into the championship game next Friday against Somers, a 14-7 winner over Rye in the other semifinal. Jamestown, the second-ranked team in the state, finishes its season 12-1.
“I didn’t agree with that,” a composed Langworthy said after the game. “I didn’t think it was consistent with the way the game was played. I didn’t think it was a great call, but you have to understand it’s part of the game. You’re going to get those calls for and against you. It was just disappointing that a call can be such an influence on a game like that.”
Rae, who missed most of the first half after suffering an injury in the first quarter, finished 12 of 29 for 184 yards and the game-winning touchdown pass to Brunson; and Dan Anderson rushed for 75 yards on 10 carries and a pair of TDs as CBA claimed its fifth straight win in what has been quite a turnaround for the Syracuse school.
The Red Raiders, meanwhile, were led by Jaylen Butera, who rushed for 199 yards on 27 carries, including a 65-yard TD burst immediately after CBA’s first score, and caught a 15-yard strike from quarterback Trey Drake that gave Jamestown a 12-8 lead at halftime. Although he was limited to 49 yards on the ground after the break, Butera became the school’s all-time single-season and career rushing record holder with 2,337 and 4,270 yards, respectively, surpassing the marks previously held by Aaron Leeper (Class of 2001). Butera’s 45 touchdowns this season are second to Leeper’s Western New York-record 47.
“Jaylen is one of the best we’ve ever had,” Langworthy said. “He’s had an awesome career. He’s been fantastic in so many different ways. We appreciate him. He’s also been an inspiration to our football program and our community because of his character. People are going to remember that, I think, just as much as his on-the-field play, and I think that’s really important.”
Senior Ben Anderson accounted for the Red Raiders’ final touchdown when he returned an interception 34 yards to the house to improve their lead to 18-8 with 1:16 remaining in the third quarter.
But that was the last time Jamestown, which failed on two 2-point conversions and an extra-point kick after its three scores, would find the end zone as its offense struggled and didn’t reach CBA’s territory in the final two quarters.
Meanwhile, the Brothers cut into the deficit when Dan Anderson capped a six-play, 78-yard drive — there was one personal-foul penalty on Jamestown — with a 9-yard TD run with 8:03 remaining. While the 2-point try failed, the Red Raiders lead had been cut to 18-14.
After Jamestown’s offense stalled again on its ensuing possession, the defense rose to the occasion once more when defensive back Sean Paige picked off a deflected pass to thwart another CBA drive into Red Raiders’ territory.
The game remained 18-14 until the Brothers took over from their own 36 with 2:16 remaining. The Section III school reached Jamestown’s 38, courtesy of Rae completions of 11 yards to Amarri Pitts and 15 yards to Syair Torrence. After a pair of incompletions and Rae’s 7-yard run, CBA was faced with a fourth-and-3 at its 31.
One more stop was all the Red Raiders needed, and when Rae’s pass to the left flat was incomplete, they seemed to have accomplished that mission. But Jamestown was flagged for holding on the other side of the field, giving the Brothers a first down at the 21.
“It was a catch-and-throw,” Langworthy said. “I don’t really know how that hold would have influenced anything. It’s tough.”
Three plays later, Rae connected with Brunson in the back-right corner of the end zone on a beautifully thrown ball.
Jamestown took over at its 20 and recorded two first downs, but it only got as far as its own 44 before turning the ball over on downs with a second left on the clock.
“I’m proud of our kids,” Langworthy said. “We played really tough, we played hard, we battled the whole game and we never backed down. We have nothing to be ashamed of and, in fact, when the disappointment of this subsides, we have a lot to be proud of.”
Added Butera: “That’s the way the game goes sometimes. If you leave it all out on the field, it’s going to hurt, but there’s always tomorrow.”
NOTES: Ben Anderson (18 tackles), Caleb Bane (12 tackles), Sincere Green (10 tackles, one interception), Joey Delgado (nine tackles), Jarel Farmer (eight tackles) and Butera (eight tackles) led the defensive effort for Jamestown. … Drake completed 7 of 15 passes for 82 yards and the TD to Butera. … Darius Freeney had three receptions for 61 yards. … CBA’s Dan Anderson and Jamestown’s Julian McGaughy were the recipients of the sportsmanship awards.
Jamestown 0 12 6 0 — 18
CBA 0 8 0 12 — 20
CBA — Anderson 4 run (Anderson run)
JHS — Butera 65 run (run failed)
JHS — Butera 15 pass from Drake (pass failed)
JHS — Anderson 34 interception return (kick failed)
CBA — Anderson 9 run (pass failed)
CBA — Brunson 19 pass from Rae (pass failed)