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South Park’s Run Ends With Loss To Canandaigua

A few weeks ago, South Park coach Tim Delaney did some scouting in Section V and decided Canandaigua Academy was the team he’d least like to see in a possible Far West Regional.

Now we know why.

The Braves used a size-advantage and some big plays and posted a 24-6 win over the Sparks in the Class A regionals on Friday at SUNY Brockport.

“It’s tough to end our year on a loss,” Delaney said after his team’s season ended at 10-1. “It’s just tough … especially when we had a team we felt like was good enough to maybe, possibly advance. But kudos to Canandaigua, they’re a really good team and they did a good job.”

South Park entered the games averaging eight points against in 10 games. The Braves (11-1) had that in less than eight minutes on Friday. Meanwhile, the Sparks talented skill players were somewhat slowed by cold and wet conditions against a big and tough Canandaigua defense. South Park reached the red zone once in the first three quarters.

“They were good up front,” Delaney said. “They won some battles, they two-gapped on us really well. They did a great job of splitting up their two really good kids, 36 (defensive tackle JC Clifford) and 8 (defensive end Ryan Welch), they played opposite and they did a lot of good iso on us. They’re a really good football team.”

Canandaigua opened the scoring with a 32-yard touchdown pass from Bryan Boldring to Joey Urlacher and extended on a 58-yard TD run by Matt Verhile. The Braves nearly scored again in the first quarter but Brendan Brown came up with a much-needed end zone interception.

Zachary Wantuck extended the lead to 21-0 with a five-yard run on the first drive of the third quarter and Verhile nailed a 30-yard field goal to start the fourth.

The Sparks weren’t done fighting and Mykell Hepburn fired a 25-yard TD pass to Brown to get his team on the board. South Park had another promising drive stall with a lost fumble at the 9.

South Park was 10-0 against Western New York competition for the first time since 1993 and claimed the Section VI championship with a dominating win over McKinley.

So as the Sparks ate some postgame pizza and collected their thoughts in an old gym at Brockport, Delaney made sure to remember the overall picture.

“It was a great year,” the coach said. “I tried to drive that message home but it’ll take a little while for the sting to wear off. It was still a really good year. We fought right until the end but unfortunately, it wasn’t our night.”

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