Starpoint was down but not out – certainly not with Aaron Chase still in town.
The Spartans spotted South Park a two-touchdown lead in the first half but as he always does, the program’s all-time greatest passer came through when it mattered the most.
Chase threw three touchdown passes and Starpoint secured second place in Class A2 with an exciting 21-20 win over the Sparks at Tudor Stadium on Friday night.
“He’s a four-year starter, he’s a 99 student, he understands the game,” Starpoint coach Al Cavagnaro said. “South Park did a great job of disguising and confusing him in the first half. Second half, look at the difference between the two halves, how much better he was in the second half.”
Chase was 24-of-40 passes for 344 yards, the most significant a 57-yard touchdown throw to Matt Spina with 11 minutes left in the game. That came just one play and 17 seconds after South Park had briefly regained the lead.
“We were thinking, ‘We have to take a shot here, we have to go for the quick score,'” said Chase, who followed that with the extra-point, which in the end proved to be the difference. “Spina made a great play, he made a great move on the defender and we got it in the end zone.”
The win secured second-place in A2 for the Spartans (5-1). Since the game was within a touchdown, the Sparks will also make the playoffs. For the Spartans, the win means a first-round home game which may prove to be a big deal.
“This win gets our momentum going for Homecoming,” Chase said, referring to Starpoint’s Week 7 non-leaguer against rival Lockport. “This win shows the home field advantage we have. When that crowd gets into it, we can’t be stopped.”
Starpoint drove inside the South Park 10 on its first two drives but stalled each time. Meanwhile, South Park capitalized on its chances and bounced out to a 14-0 lead, thanks to a 68-yard TD connection from Dabeyon Humphrey to Brandon Brown and then a two-yard TD run by Clarence Thomas.
Chase got Starpoint on the board with 35 seconds left in the first half with a 6-yard touchdown pass to Joe Carlson and then the pair hooked up again from 4-yards away to tie the score.
The second score was set up by a 51-yard pass-play from Chase to an uncovered Jake Dean inside the South Park 20 on fourth-and-10 on an improvised fake punt.
“If they’re going to give us the look, we’re going to take it,” Chase said. “They had no one out there on Dean, he made great catch and we got some yards.”
South Park regained the lead early on the fourth quarter early in the fourth quarter as Dabeyon Humphrey found Latrell London for a 22-yard score. But with their kicker suspended, the Sparks went for two and Starpoint’s defend came up tall.
“That’s been our last season and half, we don’t make conversions,” South Park coach Tim Delaney said. “They made a couple more plays than we did and that’s the difference in varsity football games.”
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