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Ticonderoga falls in state title contest

SYRACUSE Walton was dominating and relentless from their opening drive. And for Ticonderoga, facing the Warriors must have felt like they were playing the Syracuse Orange at the Carrier Dome in the 2007 New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class D football championship. The orange-clad Walton Warriors, the Section IV Class D champion and top-ranked Class D team in the state, dominated the line on both sides of the football, racked up three touchdowns in the first 7:06 of the game and scored a record nine touchdowns in delivering a solid 64-6 victory over the Ticonderoga in the state title game. The Sentinels (9-3) were under siege from Warriors first drive. Walton entered the contest unbeaten at 12-0, sporting nine shutouts including eight straight, and had racked up a convincing 38 points or more in every game this season. Against Ticonderoga, Walton eclipsed the previous record of 55 points scored by one team in the 15-year history of the state championship. And the execution of the Warrior game plan on Friday was equally as impressive. A powerful Warrior front line controlled the line of scrimmage while a trio of stealthy running backs broke loose for 370 yards on 52 carries. On the second play from scrimmage, Casey Killian fired through a gap on the right side of the Ticonderoga defense and jetted 74 yards to pay dirt. Richard Fletcher tacked on a pair of quick-strike touchdowns, one from the three-yard line and the other from the nine. In what seemed like the blink of an eye, the Warriors had pounded out a 22-0 lead in just over 7 minutes of play and it was all downhill for the Sentinels from there. The second quarter proved almost as frustrating when Fletcher, Logan Wood and Anthony Mead all capped impressive scoring drives with touchdown rushes inside the five-yard line, powering the Warriors to a virtually insurmountable 42-0 halftime lead. Walton used the first possession of the second half to dash any hopes that Ticonderoga might try to make it a game. Fletcher, who was named the games Most valuable Player, muscled up the middle into the end zone from the one-yard line. Cody Reeds seven-yard score in the third quarter and Phil Hanleys nine-yard sprint to pay dirt established the new state championship scoring marks for Walton. The Sentinels took away a few ounces of satisfaction and respect on Krys Ross kickoff returns (four returns for 72 yards). Early in the fourth quarter, Ross 18-yard comebacker to the Ticonderoga 38-yard line help set the table for the Sentinels lone scoring drive. Ticonderoga fashioned a solid seven-play, 62-yard drive over a 3:41 span, culminated by Steve Lenharts one-yard plunge. The score allowed Ti to become one of just four teams not shutout by Walton this season. In addition to Fletcher, Killian rushed eight times for 94 yards and a touchdown, while Wood ran seven times for 51 yards. Ross led Ticonderoga with eight carries for 46 yards. While the state final did not go as the Sentinels had hoped, the 2007 campaign was still highly successful. Perhaps the most remarkable performance of the season came from Matt Streeter, who inherited the quarterback job from Anthony Barnao who was injured just before the playoffs and unavailable to play in the post season. The gridiron squad won nine of 12 games, the Northern Football Conference Class D title, the Region II and East Region titles. And for the first time, a Ticonderoga team had advanced to a state championship game a level they missed last year after mounting a 19-0 lead by halftime, before bowing in the closing minutes against eventual 2006 state champion Tuckahoe.

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