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Ticonderoga to play for state championship

KINGSTON Ticonderoga High School fans celebrated Thanksgiving with a road trip. The Sentinels played Walton for the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class D championship yesterday at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse. Its the first time a Ti football team has reached the state championship game. The Sentinel baseball team reached the state title game in 2005. Ticonderoga has never had a team win a state championship. The Sentinels have produced three individual state champs Lee Berube this fall in cross country, Andrea Staepel in the 800-meter run in track in 1998 and Jeremy Hall in the discus about 15 years ago. Ticonderoga, 10-2 on the season, reached the title contest with a dominating performance against Section I champion Haldane. Ti rolled to a 35-8 win at Dietz Stadium in Kingston Nov. 16. Matt Streeter, playing in place of injured starting quarterback Anthony Barnao, passed for two touchdowns and ran for another to lead Ticonderoga. He was named the Offensive Player of the Game. He was supported by a strong running game and a stout defense that pitched a shutout until the games final minute. Ticonderoga rolled up 296 total yards as the Sentinels scored on five of their six possessions in the game. Krys Ross rushed for 61 yards and a touchdown. Josh Huestis added another 33 yards on the ground with a score. Steve Lenhart added 90 yards rushing. Tis Jesse Clark earned anchored Tis defensive line and was named the Defensive Player of the Game. Ticonderoga grabbed a 7-0 lead in the second quarter following a failed fake punt by Haldane that gave the Sentinels the ball at the Haldane 30 yard line. From there Ti used eight plays to set up Streeters TD on a quarterback sneak. Streeter then booted the extra point. Tis defense forced a three-and-out setting up the offense at its own 34. The Sentinels then drove 66 yards in nine plays, capped by Ross 4-yard touchdown run. Streeter again added the PAT and Ti was up 14-0 at the intermission. A year ago Ticonderoga led Tuckahoe 19-0 at the the half of the state semifinal game, only to lose in the final minute. There would be no collapse this season. The Sentinels opened up the second half by driving 61 yards in nine plays for another touchdown. The TD came as Streeter passed to Bryant Austin on a fourth-and-goal from a yard away. Streeter again kicked the extra point for a 21-0 advantage. On the Sentinels next possession, early in the final quarter, Streeter connected with Jake Taylor on a 43-yard bomb for another TD. This time Ross ran for the two-point conversion and Ti was on top, 29-0. Two plays later, Taylor intercepted a pass at midfield and returned it to the Haldane 32. Six plays later, Huestis crashed into the end zone from a yard out for a 35-0 lead Haldane avoided the shutout with just under a minute remaining on a Derek ODell 1-yard dive before adding a two-point conversion. Walton of Section IV, 12-0 and ranked number one in the state, reached the state championship game with a 42-0 win against Bolivar-Richburg of Section V. To many observers, the de facto Class D championship game was played Nov. 10 when top-ranked Onondaga lost to second-ranked Walton, 52-14, in quarterfinal action. Both teams were 10-0 entering the game. Walton features three running backs with more than 700 yards rushing this year, including 225-pound senior Rich Fletcher, a Division I prospect. On defense Walton posted 11 shutouts this fall and is led by a front line that includes 6-foot-4, 275-pound Brad Hodges, 6-3, 280 Wade Hammond and 6-5, 250 Drew Hammond. Walton has out-scored opponents, 643-42, on the season.

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