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Friday, June 21, 2024

Carmel takes down CBA in tight AA state semifinal football match


MIDDLETOWN ​ The dream of winning the state championship ‌game in Syracuse was once again out of reach for Christian Brothers Academy of Albany.

On Saturday evening,⁢ CBA’s comeback attempt fell just short ​against Carmel, the Section ​1 champions, ‍who defeated them 35-27 in the NYSPHSAA Class AA East semifinals.

“We knew it would be a tough and long game, but we were ready to play for four quarters,” said CBA‌ player Donald Jones.⁤ “Unfortunately, we made some mistakes early on that may have cost​ us the game, but we fought hard until the end.”

The game started off with an interception by Carmel’s Liam Forster, who returned the ball 42 yards for a touchdown. However, CBA responded quickly with a 38-yard pass from quarterback Jake Iacobaccio to Jones, followed⁤ by an 8-yard touchdown pass to⁢ Aiden Guzi, tying the ⁢game 7-7.

But that tie didn’t last long as Carmel’s Tristan ​Werlau returned ​the ensuing kickoff for an 85-yard ​touchdown.‍ In the second quarter, Werlau added a 13-yard rushing ⁤touchdown, giving Carmel a 21-7 lead.

CBA fought back with a 63-yard⁤ touchdown pass from backup quarterback Archie Jones to Aidan Good, ⁢bringing‍ the score to 21-13. Jones, a sophomore,⁢ took over for⁢ Iacobaccio, who was dealing with a wrist injury.

“Our starting quarterback has been battling injuries for the past few ‍weeks,” said CBA coach Bob Burns. ​”He’s ⁤a warrior and we’re proud of him for⁢ pushing through. We ‌limit his practice time and just⁢ hope he’s fully healthy for game nights. But he hasn’t been ​at 100% since our playoff game against Shaker.”

Although Jones made an⁤ impressive debut, leading the team to a⁤ touchdown,‍ CBA was unable to score for the rest‌ of the first half.

In the ⁢third​ quarter, Carmel’s Christian Nunez scored on a 1-yard run, but CBA stayed in the game with a 24-yard touchdown pass from Jones to Lorenzo⁢ Lanni.

In the final⁤ quarter, Carmel⁤ extended their lead with a 6-yard touchdown run from‌ Leo Venables, but CBA continued to fight back. With only 3:33 left on the clock, Jones scored ⁣another ‌touchdown on a 10-yard run, making it a one-possession game‍ at 35-27.

Instead of attempting⁤ an onside kick, CBA pinned Carmel at their ⁤own 15-yard line with two timeouts remaining. But Carmel⁢ was able‍ to secure the first ⁢downs they needed to hold onto their lead and‍ secure the win.

“It’s a huge accomplishment to ‍make it this far in the season ‌and be⁤ one of the top four teams,” said Jones. “Just ⁣playing in this atmosphere shows ​how difficult it ​is to reach this ⁢level.”

“I’m incredibly proud ⁤of my team and the way ‍they​ fought through adversity,” he added.

Despite the loss,‌ CBA’s coach Burns praised the team for ‍their resilience and mentioned the injuries they were dealing with, including Iacobaccio’s wrist injury and Jake Marra’s broken wrist.

“Jake Marra⁢ will need surgery for his wrist, and‌ I believe Jake Iacobaccio may have a ⁤broken⁤ bone⁤ in his throwing hand,” said Burns. “But at this point in the season, injuries are expected and ​we ‌have to push through.”

The loss also marked the end of Donald⁤ Jones’ high school football career.⁣ Jones, a senior, has been⁣ a ‍key player for‍ CBA for the⁢ past few years​ and⁤ was a vital part of the team’s success.

“Donald is more than just ⁢a⁤ football player for CBA, he lives and ‌breathes the sport,” said Burns. “Since I’ve been here, he’s ‌made a huge impact on our program and set a great example for ‌his teammates. He’s ​truly ⁢a special player.”

Reflecting on his time with CBA football, Jones expressed his gratitude to his coach and the⁢ team.

“Coach Burns ‌and his leadership have transformed the CBA football program. It’s ‍not just something⁤ we do, it’s a way of life,” said Jones. “I’m thankful I got to play with this team and score touchdowns⁣ with my brother by ‌my side.”

Carmel 14 7 ​7⁣ 7 35

CBA 7 6 ⁣7 7 27

Carmel Forster 42 interception return (Navidad kick)

CBA Guzi ⁣8 from Iacobaccio (Gialanella kick)

Carmel Werlau 85 kickoff return (Navidad kick)

Carmel ‌Werlau 13 run (Navidad‍ kick)

CBA Good 63 from ‍A. Jones (kick failed)

Carmel ‌Nunez 1 run (Navidad ⁢kick)

CBA ⁣Lanni 24 from A. Jones (Gialanella kick)

Carmel Venables 6 run (Navidad kick)

CBA ​ A. ⁣Jones 10 run (Gialanella kick)

Beckett Nielson
Beckett Nielson
Transitioning from a collegiate athlete to a sports journalist, Beckett O’Neal channels his passion for sports into engaging stories. A Boston College graduate, Beckett specializes in local sports coverage, from high school heroes to regional professional teams, providing in-depth analysis and an athlete's insight.
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