Though it was far from smooth, Christian Brothers Academy and Fayetteville-Manlius both saw their respective football teams finish the regular season on top of their respective Class AA divisions.
The Brothers fended off Corcoran, 37-20, on Friday night, just as the Hornets were at Auburn scraping together an 11-0 victory over the Maroons at Holland Stadium.
In beating the Cougars, CBA, who has risen to no. 8 in the latest state Class AA rankings, finished off a perfect (7-0) regular season and claimed the outright Class AA-2 division title.
F-M, who improved to 6-1, claimed a share of the Class AA-1 division regular-season crown, sharing it with Baldwinsville, who beat Utica Proctor 40-32, and Liverpool, who topped Rome Free Academy 42-20.
The Hornets, Bees and Warriors each had a 4-1 league mark. However, tie-breakers left F-M as the third-place side, so it will have to visit Henninger, the second-place team in AA-1, in the opening round of the playoffs as CBA hosts Utica Proctor. The other quarterfinals pit Liverpool against defending champion West Genesee and B’ville against Central Square.
Regardless of the tie-breakers, the Hornets showed it could make a quick turnaround, for it had to face Auburn just six days after beating Utica Proctor 43-7 on Oct. 6.
Auburn's defense, led by Dustin Culver and Jack Burgmaster (14 tackles each),made the Hornets work for everything, keeping the game scoreless in the first quarter.
Finally, the Hornets got on the board in the second quarter, pushing it to the Maroons' two-yard line before Sean Bright found the end zone. Jake Norton ran in for two points, and F-M had an 8-0 edge, where it remained at halftime.
Again, the defenses took over in the third quarter. Auburn was strong, but so was the Hornets, the likes of T.J. Wheatley, Nate Kadah, Jake Pulver and Josh Pulver shutting down the Maroons on every possession.