SYRACUSE, NY (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) — Follow along with Eyewitness News at the Section III Finals this weekend! Check this story early and often and follow along as the New Hartford Spartans take on the Indian River Warriors from the JMA Wireless Dome on Sunday, November 12! The winner will face the Section IV champion in the regional final next weekend at Vestal High School.
5:16 PM — That does it for us from Syracuse this weekend — Congratulations to Frankfort-Schuyler, Dolgeville, Adirondack and Whitesboro on Section III banners! Brennan Miller will have all the highlights from an exciting weekend at the JMA Wireless Dome Monday on Eyewitness News at 6, 10 and 11! Have a good night, everyone!
5:15 PM — A great 10-1 season falls just short for the Spartans. MVPs are Derek Jones for Indian River and Cole Raux for New Hartford.
5:13 PM — RAUX IS STUFFED! That is the game… Indian River takes the B banner in a heartbreaker, 28-27. Just one day after narrowly losing the girls’ state soccer championship, the Spartans can’t get the football banner either. Don’t hang your heads, though, New Hartford… It was still a great season.
5:11 PM — Spartans clock it with 12 seconds left, 25 yards from a banner.
5:09 PM — With 31 seconds left, NH will start at the 45, 55 yards from glory.
5:07 PM — CONVERSION IS GOOD! Riley Alexander punches it in, and the entire village of New Hartford is stunned. Indian River 28, New Hartford 27 with 32 seconds left. Still time for a miracle here if you are the Spartans.
5:06 PM — TOUCHDOWN WARRIORS! Frederick Haynes rumbles in from five yards out, and the conversion huge now. Warriors take their final timeout to think about whether they want overtime or the win.
5:06 PM — Warriors get down to the 5, but time is ticking — under a minute now.
5:05 PM — Warriors get a big gain from Colton White on a reception, and they are down to the 9!
5:03 PM — New Hartford uses their last timeout with 1:23 left.
5:03 PM — The pass is good for a first down, but time is not on IR’s side. Passes of 25 yards help, as the clock ticks under two minutes.
5:01 PM — The Spartan defense holds once more while forcing a huge sack, and the Warriors take their second time out, facing a fourth and seven that could decide the game.
4:56 PM — TOUCHDOWN SPARTANS, and that could be the dagger! Vitullo finds Way again for a 57-yard score! Jake Rockford’s kick is BLOCKED, so the lead remains a touchdown. New Hartford 27, Indian River 20 with 3:04 remaining. Can the defense hold one more time, or do the Warriors have one last trick to pull out of the bag?
4:55 PM — New Hartford content to just milk the clock with three minutes to go. A flag for holding complicates things, though, as the Spartans are pushed back across midfield.
4:52 PM — The defense has held, though, forcing a fourth down deep in IR territory. Big decisions need to be made here, and the Warriors have decided to punt. The ball is taken to the IR 47, where the Spartans will take over.
4:50 PM — The fourth-down try for the Spartans goes for naught. Ball was well-defended by the Indian River secondary and fell incomplete. They’ll take over on downs at the 11 with five minutes to go.
4:48 PM — Unfortunately, the New Hartford drive bogs down, and on fourth and five from the 11, the Spartans need a timeout.
4:47 PM — Three plays later, the Spartans find themselves in the red zone again. A score here could mean game over… the defense and offense are clicking now.
4:44 PM — On the first play after the kick, Vitullo launches it to a wide-open receiver for a 34-yard gain, and the Spartans have answered the call once again!
4:43 PM — Kickoff is fallen on at the NH 39. That’s where the Spartans will take over. Can the offense battle back?
4:41 PM — TOUCHDOWN WARRIORS! After a bit of discussion by the officials on the spot, Derek Jones takes the pitch 26 yards for the tying score! The conversion pass is batted away, so New Hartford maintains the lead! New Hartford 21, Indian River 20 with 8:58 to go in the game.
4:39 PM — Yes it is! Derek Jones gets another big carry to take IR to the 28 and the Warriors are looking to tie once again.
4:37 PM — INTERCEPTION! Kane Lynch dives for and catches the line-drive ball, and the Warriors have the ball at midfield. Could this be another momentum swing?
4:35 PM — Three quarters are gone, and the Spartans look to be 12 minutes away from a long-awaited sectional championship! New Hartford leads Indian River, 21-14 with one quarter to go.
4:34 PM — A holding penalty drives both sides bonkers (for very different reasons), and once again, the Spartans could take advantage, but it will have to wait until we switch sides.
4:30 PM — The drive bogs down, and a fourth and six is stuffed! Spartans will take over on downs at their own 24. The figurative snowball is gaining speed rather quickly for NH.
4:28 PM — Riley Alexander has the Warriors knocking at the door again, as his big gain takes IR to the NH 28. Can they wrestle back some form of control? Looks difficult, especially against New Hartford, but they’ve hung around for a good long while.
4:25 PM — The ensuing kickoff goes out of bounds. Indian River will take over at their own 35.
4:24 PM — TOUCHDOWN SPARTANS! A fourth-down play at the one by Raux gives NH the lead. Jake Halpin’s kick is true… New Hartford 21, Indian River 14 with 3:53 left in the third quarter. This has “snowball-rolling-downhill” vibes for the Spartans.
4:21 PM — Big pass to Rowan Gall gets NH to the four-yard line! If they score here, it could be disastrous for IR. Once NH gets rolling, they’re hard to stop.
4:20 PM — New Hartford may have just found their groove, as a good mix of screen passes and Raux running has racked up some pretty good yardage so far. Spartans looking good so far, but they face a third-and-four at the 40.
4:15 PM — The defense does their job, as they hold IR to just one yard on the drive. The punt sails to the NH 29. That’s where the Spartan offense will take over. What does Jim Kramer have in the bag of tricks?
4:13 PM — Indian River takes the second half kickoff to their own 33, and the defense will be called upon again to hold the Warriors at bay.
4:07 PM — The big question for New Hartford in the second half is: can Cole Raux finally wear down the Indian River defense? He had a couple of good chances but was kept under wraps for most of the first half. Everything else seemed to click, though. Hopefully the coaches have figured things out as both teams come out for the third quarter. This is looking like a fifteen-round fight. Who will blink first?
3:55 PM — Indian River will receive the second half kickoff, so the NH defense will take the field first.
3:53 PM — We’ve reached halftime, and this was not the game anyone was expecting to be this close. We are all tied up at 14 as the teams head to the locker room. That big run by Raux looms large for both teams too. Will New Hartford be able to take advantage in the third quarter, or will Indian River find its feet once again? This heavyweight fight will culminate in the second half… stay tuned!
3:50 PM — Kickoff is fumbled, but still makes it to the IR 27. Have the Spartans taken back the momentum? Hattori says no, as he rips off a big gain on the first play from scrimmage.
3:48 PM — TOUCHDOWN SPARTANS! Raux rumbles to the end zone on his first big run of the game! Kick is good too.. We are tied at 14 with 2:08 left in the first half. Could that be the spark the Spartans are looking for?
3:47 PM — The Spartans have resorted to screen passes now, to some effectiveness. An Indian River facemask puts NH on the edge of the red zone again.
3:43 PM — Spartans need some kind of spark, as the Warriors have figuratively hit New Hartford in the mouth. Kickoff is returned to the 35, where the Spartans will take over.
3:41 PM — TOUCHDOWN WARRIORS! …Or is it, as IR is called for a personal foul? Ethan Hattori’s sweep around the left side for a ten yard TD counts. The two-point try from the 17, then the 22 (false start) is stuffed… Indian River 14, New Hartford 7 with 3:57 left in the second quarter.
3:40 PM — Another big run by Lynch has the Warriors inside the ten… can they punch it in and gain all the momentum?
3:37 PM — New Hartford has not allowed more than 14 points in any game all season. They’re in danger of losing that streak, as the Warriors are on the verge of the red zone again. For reference, the Spartans’ lowest point total this season… 34 on October 13.
3:33 PM — Spartans can’t take advantage. The punt rolls to the IR 49, where the Warriors will take over. Defense needs to find a way to stop Hattori and Lynch, and quickly.
3:31 PM — INTERCEPTION SPARTANS! Logan Banek gets the tip-drill pick on fourth down and puts the Spartans at their own 30.
3:29 PM — We are two minutes into the second quarter, and Indian River has already used all three of their timeouts. Not sure what the plan is, but giving the Spartan D a rest certainly does not bode well.
3:25 PM — Kane Lynch and Ethan Hattori have been running rampant for the Warriors so far, picking up substantial yardage on almost every carry. Spartans will have to figure something out quickly as they trail 8-7 after one quarter of play. Three quarters to go, and Raux has been sufficiently bottled up. Can the Warriors keep it up?
3:22 PM — Only three yards for the Spartans on that drive and it’s a three-and-out. Punt goes to the 17 yard line where the Warriors will take over. Surprising start to the B final for NH… is there an upset in the making?
3:18 PM — Raux takes the kickoff to the NH 42, where the Spartans will take over. What is the response from the New Hartford offense?
3:14 PM — The IR offense bogs down, and they’re faced with a fourth and six from the ten-yard line… and they are able to convert! TOUCHDOWN WARRIORS! Riley Alexander finds Colton White in the corner of the end zone. Kane Lynch runs in the conversion… Indian River 8, New Hartford 7 with 3:33 left in the first quarter.
3:12 PM — Derek Jones with a 23-yard run, and Indian River is poised to even up the score. They are on the 15 yard line of New Hartford… make that the 10, as another encroachment penalty puts the defense up against it early.
3:09 PM — Already, three big rushes by the Warriors, and they’re already on NH’s side of the 50. The pain is exacerbated on an encroachment penalty. Defense needs to clamp down for the Spartans.
3:08 PM — Kickoff is taken to the IR 30, where the Warriors will take over. Can IR bounce back from the score?
3:05 PM — TOUCHDOWN SPARTANS! Payton Way catches the pass from Vitullo from 21 yards out! Kick is straight and true… New Hartford 7, Indian River 0 with 7:15 left in the opening quarter.
3:03 PM — Raux is wide open down the sidelines! He catches the ball from John Vitullo and scoots to the IR 31, and the Spartans are now poised to score!
3:01 PM — FUMBLE on the very next play, and New Hartford makes up for the pass by recovering it. They’ll start at their 45.
3:00 PM — Colton White is left wide open, and after only one pass, the Warriors are already in Spartan Territory.
2:58 PM — Not a good start for NH, as the Warriors surprisingly bottle up Cole Raux for the first drive, only netting minus-four yards. Spartans punt, and Indian River will start their offensive day at their own 33.
2:56 PM — New Hartford just falls on the kickoff and will start the game from their own 30. However, a mixup with footballs requires a new one, so a bit of a delay for the Spartans.
2:53 PM — Indian River has won the toss and will defer to the second half. The Spartans will get the ball to start the B Final.
2:50 PM — New Hartford is all business today — they just came out (with about a minute left of warm-up time) after a longer-than-usual stay in the locker room and an abbreviated warm-up.
2:47 PM — We are about ten minutes from game time! If New Hartford wins, they will face Section IV’s Maine-Endwell at Vestal High School next weekend. For those of you that don’t remember, Maine-Endwell demolished Whitesboro (when both were members of Class A) en route to a state record 62-game unbeaten streak in 2015.
2:24 PM — The last time these two teams met was in 2017, with Indian River winning 56-36 at Don Edick Field. Five years later and at a neutral site, can New Hartford take the next step and the sectional banner with it?
2:21 PM — Welcome to Game Five of Five for the local teams here at the JMA Wireless Dome! This one is for the Class B championship, as buzzsaw meets buzzsaw — New Hartford against Indian River. New Hartford had scored 36 and 37 in routs of Carthage and Westhill. Meanwhile, Indian River has destroyed Camden, but barely squeaked by CVA in their semifinal game.