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Warriors Sports

Walton Defeats Dolgeville In Quarters

Posted Saturday, November 15, 2008 by tt

Blue Devils to be tested

Dolgeville prepares to take on top-ranked Walton





DOLGEVILLE — It’s not often Dolgeville’s Blue Devils meet their match. Not on the football field.


They will Friday night.


One week after adding a 15th title to their Section III record total in most dramatic fashion, the Blue Devils play state-ranked No. 1 Walton – the Dolgeville of Section IV, if you will – at 5 p.m. Friday in Class D state quarterfinal game at Cicero-North Syracuse High School.


Third-ranked Dolgeville is 10-0 and coming off an emotionally-charged, 21-14 come-from-behind victory over previously unbeaten Immaculate Heart Central in last week’s Section III final at the Carrier Dome.


Defending state champion Walton (10-0) cruised to a record 13th Section IV title, and the Warriors are riding a 23-game winning streak.


And just so the Blue Devils know exactly who and what they’re up against, head coach Chris Connolly said assistant Brian Wilcox probably said it best.


“Oh yeah, they know,” said Connolly. “Wilcox just tells them, ‘You’re them and they’re you.’”


Yes, by all accounts, Walton is as football-crazed as Dolgeville – has been for decades – and the Warriors, like the Blue Devils, have a rich and storied tradition.


They also have a legendary head coach in 63-year-old Jim Hoover, now in his 33rd season and Section IV’s all-time wins leader with a 265-61-1 record.


“When fall comes around down here, it’s football – it’s been that way year after year,” said Hoover. “That can be good and bad, because if you lose more than one game a year, you hear about it.”


Connolly, of course, knows the feeling. He replaced the winningest coach in Section III football history, Jerry Walczak, and has a 45-11 record since taking over at Dolgeville.


This year’s Section III title was the Blue Devils’ first under Connolly, and their first since 2002, and they needed two touchdowns and a successful onsides kick in the final 2:01 to pull it off.


Now, there are many who consider them decided underdogs against a seemingly invincible Walton team that has outscored opponents 464-34.


“They know that, but I don’t think they care,” Connolly said of the “underdog” tag. “If they’re scared, I don’t see it. We’ve had some great practices. The mood is excellent.”


Dolgeville tailback Clay Ardoin has rushed for 1,193 yards and 20 touchdowns, quarterback Zach Goyette has passed for 721 yards and eight touchdowns, and the Blue Devils’ defense and special teams have scored nine touchdowns.


It’s that defense, led by middle linebackers Andy Johnston and Kyle Harlow and end Doug Gray, that will be seriously tested Friday by Walton’s variation of the old Delaware Wing-T.


“They hide the football very well, their faking is real good, and they’re bigger than anybody we’ve seen,” Connolly said. “You can’t look in the backfield because they fake so well. You’ve just got to own that piece of real estate in front of you.”


Running the football, and stopping the run, always has been Walton’s forte under Hoover. It was when the Warriors outslugged Dolgeville 16-12 in a Class C quarterfinal in 1994, on the way to their first state title, and it is today.


“That’s been our game plan every game, every year, for as long as I’ve been here, and we’ve probably thrown the ball less this year than we ever have before,” said Hoover.


Walton’s running game features 170-pound junior Phil Hanley (98 carries-1,142 yards-20 TDs), 179-pound junior Bryant Mead (66-722-12) and 245-pound senior Robbie Rigas (68-364-5). Senior quarterback Chad Gardepe has attempted only 23 passes in 10 games; he is 8-for-23 for 225 yards and two touchdowns.


Up front, 6-foot-2, 223-pound senior Chris Mead is a two-way standout for the Warriors, who have scored at least 60 points four times this season despite graduating all but two offensive starters from last year’s state championship team.


Walton played Class C football until four years ago, and the Warriors will be “C” again next season.


“Dolgeville’s very solid defensively,” Hoover said. “They’re very disciplined. I don’t think you’re going to fool them. They pursue well and they’re certainly hard hitters. They play their responsibilities. They find the ball and they go to it. That’s how we do it at Walton.”


Walton looks to trip power

By P.J. Harmer
Staff Writer

There will be no David at 5 p.m. today.

That's because two football Goliaths will meet at Cicero-North High, where defending Class D state champion Walton will play Section Three power Dolgeville in a state quarterfinal.

The Warriors will put a 23-game winning streak on the line against Dolgeville, which seems to mirror Walton in just about every way possible.

Both teams improved to 10-0 this season by extending their records for most sectional titles. Walton, which has outscored its opponents, 464-34, won its 13th Section Four crown with a 32-7 victory over Groton last Saturday at Union-Endicott's Ty Cobb Field. A day earlier, Dolgville won its 15th Section Three championship with a 21-14 defeat of Watertown IHC at Syracuse's Carrier Dome.

The Blue Devils, who have a 361-66 edge in scoring this fall, are ranked third in the state _ two spots behind Walton.

"They are very big and very strong," sixth-year Dolgeville coach Chris Connolly said of Walton, which won the 2007 Class D state title with a 64-6 thumping of Ticonderoga. "They have tradition with coach (Jim) Hoover. They are a good football program."

The similarities continue on and off the field as each program relies on run-first offenses, solid defenses and strong community support. Despite their successes, however, the two teams have met once before in the 16-year history of the state tournament.

Walton won that game _ a 1994 Class C state quarterfinal _ when Kevin Radeker hit Walt Jones for a 24-yard touchdown pass with 1 minute, 4 seconds left for a 16-12 victory at the Carrier Dome. The Warriors went on to win their first state championship that season.

"They were on a 41-game winning streak and we broke it in the first round of the playoffs in the Dome," said Hoover, whose team won their second state title last fall. "We have some people in our community who are from that area and they say it's the same as far as the community goes and they support their football big time. When it's fall, that's what they live for. The communities sound alike."

The Blue Devils have thrown a bit more than Walton this season, but both like to run a lot.

"I think we both want to run the ball and we both have a real tough, hard-nosed defenses," Hoover said. "They definitely throw the ball more than we do. When the run isn't going, they'll go to the pass faster than we do. They have some good runners and they'll come at you. But if we can't stop their run, I don't think we're going to see a pass."

Said Connolly: "We threw for more than 700 yards this year, which is big for us. That's a trick play here _ the forward pass."

Dolgeville can't hide its go-to player, though, as senior tailback Clay Ardoin has 1,193 yards and 20 touchdowns on 134 carries this fall. At 6-foot-2 and 198 pounds, Ardoin is a powerful back with breakaway speed.

"He's pretty good. We have them on tape four times and he's broken a long one just about every game," Hoover said. "He's a good inside runner, ... but you don't want him to get outside. He has the speed that can hurt you."

Senior fullback Andy Johnston (5-9, 193) is second in Dolgeville rushing with 249 yards and four TDs on 58 carries. The Blue Devils can also attack with junior quarterback Zach Goyette (5-10, 154), who is 39-for-63 for 721 yards and eight passing touchdowns. Sophomore Michael Barnes (5-10, 147) is Dolgeville's top receiver, with 12 catches for 207 yards.

"We can't make one mistake," said Connolly, whose team lost 22 seniors from last year's sectional finalist. "I don't think we can afford to do it. We have to play real error-free ball.

"I'm going to try everything," he continued. "The Statue of Liberty came out last week (against IHC). ... If you see it once, you'll see it two or three times, and maybe a fourth."

It might take some trickery to figure out Walton's defense, which has six shutouts this season and 15 over the last two.

"There's nothing but respect and it will be quite the challenge," Connolly said. "We're very small. I'm just hoping we'll stay with them."

Junior running back Phil Hanley (5-9, 170) leads Walton with 1,142 rushing yards and 20 TDs on 98 carries. He had 231 yards and three scores the sectional final against Groton. Junior Bryant Mead (6-0, 179) has 722 yards and 12 TDs on 66 carries for the Warriors, who have received more than 200 ground yards apiece from seniors Robbie Rigas (5-11, 245) and Cody Reed (5-11, 198) and juniors Eddie Dickson (6-1, 172) and Evan Boyd (6-1, 197).

Senior quarterback Chad Gardepe hasn't needed to throw much, but he has completed 8 of 23 attempts for 225 yards and two TDs. In three playoff games, he's 2-for-6 for 21 yards and no touchdowns.

"All our backs are a little banged up. They all practiced this week, and they're going to play," Hoover said. "Will they be 100 percent? I don't know. ... They are getting better every day. Not much you can do about it. We just have to go out and play.

"But it's the same as always," he continued. "Play solid defense, stick with our keys and run the ball offensively. That's what we're concentrating on."

NOTE: Fans who can't make it to the game can watch it live online at www.livesportsvideo.com.

2008 Season

Walton (10-0)

Sept. 6: Walton 46, Tri-Valley 0

Sept. 13: Walton 22, Unatego 0

Sept. 20: Walton 30, Seton Catholic 0

Sept 27: Walton 30, Delhi 8

Oct. 3: Walton 66, Sidney 7

Oct 11: Walton 68, Oxford 12

Oct. 18: Walton 72, Harpursville 0

Oct. 25: Walton 38, B-G 0

Oct. 31: Walton 60, Candor 0

Nov. 8: Walton 32, Groton 7

Walton Scoring


Phil Hanley20-6-132

Bryant Mead12-8-88

Eddie Dickson7-6-54

Cody Reed5-6-42

Robbie Rigas5-3-36

Evan Boyd4-4-32

Jim MacDonald4-3-30

Chad Gardepe3-2-22

Aaron Holdosi2-1-14

Chris Mills1---6

Dan Gehl--1-2

Phil Gladstone--1-2

Walton Statistics

Rushing: Phil Hanley 98-1,142, Bryant Mead 66-722, Robbie Rigas 68-364, Eddie Dickson 35-295, Evan Boyd 45-267, Cody Reed 29-241, Jim MacDonald 20-146, Chad Gardepe 22-70, Aaron Holdosi 14-49, Dylan Hornbeck 5-37, Brent Layton 5-17, Dan Gehl 21-3.

Passing: Chad Gardepe 8-for-23, 225 yards, 2 TD, 3 int.

Receiving: Chris Mills 2-116, Cody Endress 3-52, Eddie Dickson 1-36, Phil Hanley 2-21

Walton to face its mirror image

By Kevin Stevens • Staff Writer • November 14, 2008


Just what, Walton coach Jim Hoover was asked, has his team prepared for in the week leading to 5 p.m. kickoff today in the quarterfinal round of Class D state football playoffs?


"Another Walton," he said of perennial Section 3 power Dolgeville. "A school that just loves football, a community that lives and dies for football, and a community that's been used to a winning program."


Dolgeville coach Chris Connolly concurred, having been present for a recent Walton game.


"Their Carhartts might be a different color than ours, but other than that ... " he said.


The teams bring matching 10-0 records into the contest at Cicero-North Syracuse High School, reigning state champion Walton with the No. 1 ranking and Dolgeville two slots back.


The winner will advance to a semifinal against either Dundee or Maple Grove, 5 p.m. a week from today at PAETEC Park in Rochester.


The Blue Devils, who hail from Herkimer County, captured the program's 15th sectional title -- a Section 3 record -- with a 21-14 victory over Watertown I.H.C that required a rally from a 14-0 deficit. That marked Dolgeville's lowest scoring output since opening day.


Walton, six-time Section 4 champions since the inaugural state playoffs in 1993, advanced with a 32-7 win over Groton that followed back-to-back-to-back shutouts.


The Warriors average 46.4 points per game.


"Offensively, Dolgeville's got a real good tailback," Hoover said of Clay Ardoin, who has rushed for 1,193 yards and 20 touchdowns. "He's 6-2 and 198 pounds, one of the biggest players on the team. They've got a lot of 185-, 190-pound kids who are very athletic.


"They want to run the ball first, but they do pass more than we do-- as most every team does."


Dolgeville quarterback Zach Goyette has completed 39 of 63 passes for 721 yards in his first year as a starter, with sophomore Michael Barnes the leading receiver with 12 receptions for 207 yards.


Hoover likened Dolgeville's defense to another pack of Blue Devils, 4-3 alignment not withstanding.


"Very smart, very disciplined, they remind me of a Chenango Forks," he said. "It's a different defense, but you're not going to fool them. They take care of their responsibilities."


That defense will oppose a Walton squad that averages 347 rushing yards per game, headed by Phil Hanley's 1,132-yard total on an 11.8-per-carry norm. Bryant Mead is next-best with 722 yards.


The Warriors' first-unit offensive front is expected to be intact for the first time in recent weeks, with 285-pound tackle Adam Finch cleared after missing several games with a leg ailment, and Austin Boice back at center after missing the start against Groton with an injury.


Connolly, a high-ranking member of the Jim Hoover Admiration Society, noted that he has at his disposal a scouting report from the teams' 1994 Class C quarterfinal game, and that much of the same applies regarding the '08 Warriors.


"You can read the books and slice-and-dice any way you like, but it's their faking," he said. "You can't peak in the backfield. I've told my boys: You have a piece of real estate and you've got to take care of that."


He added, "When we're on offense ... I don't know. Their inside guys pinch, their outside guys come, their secondary guys wait for you to make a mistake.


"(Walton is) a juggernaut, a very strong program, the defending state champion. They're big, we're small. They're big, but they're not fat-kid big."


Walton turns rare football deficit into a quarterfinal romp

By Kevin Stevens • Staff Writer • November 15, 2008


CICERO -- Walton responded with aplomb to its first deficit since the 2006 season finale, turning five consecutive possessions into touchdowns in a 44-21 victory over Dolgeville to advance to the semifinal round of Class D state football playoffs.



 Five players scored a touchdown apiece after the Warriors fell behind by a point 4:06 into the second quarter at Cicero-North Syracuse High, Cody Reed's 41-yard rush to the end zone early in the final quarter making it 44-7.


For the record, that was 38 Walton points in a tad over 22 1/2 minutes after Dolgeville had the audacity to, a) block a punt, and, b) go 28 yards on three plays for Clay Ardoin's 4-yard touchdown rush followed by Chris Robotham's PAT kick.


Upon conclusion, the statistical tale reflected Walton's physical superiority and sound offensive-line play: 59 rushes for the entirety of the team's 414-yard offensive total. Reed led the way, his 18 totes netting 182 yards, with nicked-and-banged Phil Hanley tacking on 107.


Ahead for Walton -- two victories shy of a second consecutive unbeaten, state-championship season -- is a 5 p.m. contest Friday against either Dundee or Maple Grove at PAETEC Park in Rochester.


"I think a key was that second-quarter drive, down 7-6 we drove down and just punched it in," Warriors coach Jim Hoover said of a possession that brought Bryant Mead his second score of the night.


And a necessary score it was, after Paul Barnes batted down Cody Endress' punt on fourth-and-14 from Walton's 39-yard line and the Blue Devils' Gary Farquhar recovered at the 28.


An 18-yard Zach Goyette-to-Robotham pass play was followed by Goyette's 6-yard scramble and Ardoin's 4-yard TD. Initially bottled up inside, Ardoin scooted around right end and crossed the goal line on his feet.


A Warriors timeout was necessitated before the ensuing first-down snap -- the culprit a personnel blunder in need of mopping up, oddly un-Walton but the theme of the night. However, when the ship was righted, it was Go Time for the state's top-ranked team.


Reed broke outside for a 27-yard, third-down gain to Dolgeville's 35. From there, it was power football that led to Mead's 2-yard TD rush which, to go with Hanley's two-pointer had Walton on top by 14-7 2:45 before halftime.


From halftime respite emerged a Walton squad clearly intent on prolonging its postseason.


After forcing a Dolgeville punt, the Warriors took possession at their 29-yard line 2:21 into the third quarter. Seven rushes brought the football to Dolgeville's 32, from which Hanley -- in motion from right end -- took a handoff and raced outside left for a TD and his team's 15th first down of the evening.


"When he broke that touchdown, he limped out, because we had him motion in," Hoover said. "I said to myself, 'How's he going to carry the ball?' But then when he got that ball, you couldn't even tell that he was hurt."


Another Blue Devils punt and another Walton scoring drive followed, this time a 49-yarder capped by Chad Gardepe's 4-yard quarterback sneak in the final minute of the third quarter behind a Warriors' line surge that was what the second half was largely about.


The TD and Mead's two-point run made it 30-7.


"We struck hard," Mead said of the third-quarter dominance. "Offensive line started blocking more, the defense started shutting them down."


"They just pushed and pushed," Dolgeville coach Chris Connolly said. " ... It's just bulldoze, bulldoze, bulldoze, bulldoze.


"Both touchdowns, we had a blitz scheme and we guessed wrong."


Walton's defense took command early in the final quarter.


Three plays in, Mead intercepted a pass and returned 46 yards to set up Robbie Rigas' 5-yard rush for a TD. On Dolgeville's third offensive play after the kickoff, Mead popped the football loose from a Dolgeville ball carrier and Endress recovered to put the Warriors in possession at the Devils' 47.


From there, it was Reed for no gain, Reed for 3 yards and then, Reed following his blockers for 11 yards before breaking clear for the final 30 yards of his 41-yard TD rush to make it 44-7 with 9:16 remaining.


Too troubling for Walton' liking was Michael Barnes' 90-yard return for points on the ensuing kickoff, that miscue only adding to the pile that will absolutely be made known to the student-athletes come film study

"We're doing the little things wrong," Hoover said. "We give up a kickoff return, which we hadn't done all year. They block a punt on us, which is my fault, I didn't work on it enough during practice. We knew they were going to come and we weren't prepared for it."


However, he added with dead-on accuracy, "We gave up two touchdowns, made it easy for them. Otherwise, I think our defense played great football, they really did."


Dolgeville, 15 times a Section 3 champion and a program built on its running game, closed with 27 rushing yards and 133 total. In the first half, Walton ran 35 offensive plays to the Devils' 13.


"You can't stop them," Connolly said. "It's like, 'I'll keep the ball for seven minutes and I'll wait for you to make a mistake.' "


Walton football finishes strong in state quarterfinal triumph


By P.J. Harmer

Staff Writer



CICERO - Apparently, Walton football doesn't like being behind.


The Warriors scored five times in six possessions Friday at Cicero-North Syracuse High to turn a one-point deficit in the second quarter into a 44-21 Class D state quarterfinal victory over Section Three champion Dolgeville.


"There were a lot of people flipping out," Walton lineman Chris Mead said of the Warriors' first deficit in two seasons. Chris Robotham's extra point followed a 4-yard touchdown run by Clay Ardoin with 7 minutes, 54 seconds left in the second quarter to give the Blue Devils a 7-6 lead.


"It was the first time (Walton trailed) in a while," Mead continued. "We calmed down, came together as a team and pulled through."


Bryant Mead gave defending Class D state champion Walton the lead for good with 2:45 left in the opening half, scoring on a 2-yard run before Phil Hanley ran in the ensuing two-point conversion for a 14-7 advantage. Mead's touchdown sparked five in a row for the Warriors (11-0), who earned their 24th straight victory and advanced to a state semifinal against Maple Grove (11-0) at 5 p.m. next Friday at Paetec Park in Rochester. Maple Grove beat Dundee, 54-12, in a state quarterfinal Friday.


Cody Reed paced Walton with a team-high 181 yards on 18 carries. He also capped the Warriors' scoring on a 41-yard TD run with 9:16 to play for a 44-7 lead.


"Our line did great and I just got the chances to get the ball," Reed said. "Anybody could have done it, but it was my turn today."


Hanley carried the ball 14 times for 110 yards, helping Walton finish with 412 rushing yards. The Warriors' defense held Dolgeville to 132 yards _ 104 from quarterback Zach Goyette on 10-for-20 passing and 28 on the ground via on 18 carries.


"They're big," Dolgeville coach Chris Connolly said of the Warriors, who hadn't trailed an opponent since a 34-0 loss to Delhi in the 2006 Section Four Class D championship. "They are just so big. I couldn't get over the size. I saw them last week, but they got bigger. They are just so big."


Ardoin, who entered the game with 1,193 yards, ran for 21 yards on eight carries. After his touchdown run, Walton responded in typical fashion with time-consuming drives marked by a solid running game.


"Everybody was saying the kids need it," Walton coach Jim Hoover said. "They might need it, but I didn't need it. "¦ It was a panic. We, as coaches, have to stay a little calmer."


Bryant Mead's go-ahead TD run capped a 10-play scoring drive that covered 69 yards and took 5:02 off the clock.


"I think the key was that drive," Hoover said. "We just drive down and punched it in."


The Warriors got the ball back one more time before halftime, but a last-second heave from Chad Gardepe to Brent Layton went just long at about the 10-yard line.


Walton didn't miss much in the second half, though.


After forcing Dolgeville (10-1) to punt on its first possession, Walton used a nine-play drive to go up, 20-7. Hanley closed the drive with a 32-yard TD run. He broke left and raced down the sideline, then side-stepped Michael Barnes with about 10 yards to go for the TD. Jim MacDonald followed with a successful two-point conversion to make it 22-7.


Dolgeville (10-1) punted on its next possession and Walton needed seven plays to extend its lead. Gardepe scored on a 4-yard quarterback keeper with 29 seconds to go in the third period, and Bryant Mead ran in the conversion for a 30-7 lead.


Walton quickly regained possession as Bryant Mead, named the most outstanding player of the game, intercepted Goyette and returned the ball 46 yards to the 5. On the next play, Robbie Rigas went in up the middle for a touchdown. Gardepe then hit MacDonald for the conversion and a 38-7 lead with 11:05 to play.


Reed then forced Barnes to fumble away Dolgeville's next possession, popping out the ball from behind before Cody Endress recovered for the Warriors.


"One of the defensive backs yelled out that it was a reverse and I saw it coming," Reed said. "I just got behind the kid and we are taught to tackle and punch at the ball. I just punched up through the ball and it went flying."


Three plays later, Reed bulled through the line _ running over two defenders _ and broke loose for a 41-yard TD run and a 44-7 lead.


"Touchdowns are always nice, but anyone can do it," Reed said. "It's not about who gets the touchdown. As long as we're winning, it doesn't matter."


Dolgeville closed the scoring on a 90-yard kickoff return by Barnes and a 26-yard TD pass from Goyette to Alex Snyder.


"We saw them hang their heads and we couldn't ask for anything more," Connolly said of Dolgeville's early lead, which came after Bryant Mead opened the scoring on a 2-yard TD run with 2:38 left in the first quarter. "We were sprinting off the field; they were walking back. I was where I wanted to be. "¦ They just pushed us. It was just bulldoze, bulldoze, bulldoze."


Walton 44, Dolgeville 21




at Cicero-North Syracuse High


Walton6 8 16 14 _ 44


Dolgeville0 7 0 14 _ 21




W _ Bryant Mead 2 run (run failed) 2:38




D _ Clay Ardoin 4 run (Chris Robotham kick) 7:54


W _ Bryant Mead 2 run (Phil Hanley run) 2:45




W _ Phil Hanley 32 run (Jim MacDonald run) 5:41


W _ Chad Gardepe 4 run (Bryant Mead run) :29




W _ Robbie Rigas 5 run (Jim MacDonald from Chad Gardepe) 11:05


W _ Cody Reed 41 run (run failed) 9:16


D _ Michael Barnes 90 kickoff return (Chris Robotham kick) 9:01


D _ Alex Snyder 26 pass from Zach Goyette (Chris Robotham kick) 1:44


Walton rushing: Cody Reed 18-181, Phil Hanley 14-110, Bryant Mead 9-37, Robbie Rigas 5-30, Evan Boyd 7-24, Jim MacDonald 2-18, Cody Endress 0-8, Chad Gardepe 1-4, Eddie Dickson 1-0.


Dolgeville rushing: Clay Ardoin 8-21, Zach Goyette 6-16, Alex Snyder 3-6, Michael Barnes 1-(-3).


Walton passing: Chad Gardepe 0-for-4.


Dolgeville passing: Zach Goyette 10-for-20, 104 yards, int.


Walton receiving: None.


Dolgeville receiving: Clay Ardoin 4-22, Chris Robotham 1-18, Alex Snyder 2-32, Anthony Dykeman 1-9, TJ Scharpou 1-8, Michael Barnes 1-15.


*                               Photos

DAVE LONDRES / Observer-Dispatch

Dolgeville quarterback Zachary Goyette tries to get the ball away Friday, November 14, 2008, before being sacked by Walton's Cody Reed during the third quarter of his team's loss to Walton in Cicero.


Last update Nov 14, 2008 @ 09:33 PM


Every time Dolgeville's Blue Devils have ended a football season with a loss in the state playoffs, the team that beat them has gone on to win it all.

By the looks, Walton's Warriors are well on their way.

Playing from behind for the first time since the last game of the 2006 season, perennial Section IV powerhouse Walton scored on its next five possessions and steamrolled to a 44-21 victory over Section III champ Dolgeville in a Class D state quarterfinal game at Cicero-North Syracuse High School's Michael J. Bragman Stadium.

"I'm pretty sure they'll be state champs," confirmed Dolgeville junior quarterback Zach Goyette, more than a little impressed with a state-ranked No. 1 Walton team that had very little trouble notching a 24th consecutive win.

Yes, the defending state champions were as good, perhaps better, than advertised.

After fumbling away their first possession, getting a punt blocked, and falling behind 7-6 – the first time that's happened since the Section IV final two years ago – the Warriors responded with a 10-play, 69-yard drive that gave them a 14-7 halftime lead.

Walton (11-0) then scored on its first four second-half series and led 44-7.

"We knew they were going to be that tough," said Dolgeville senior tailback and linebacker Clay Ardoin. "They just got up on us quick and overwhelmed us. When the time came to make a big stop, we just didn't make it."

There was almost no stopping Walton's power running game. The Warriors gained all 395 of their yards on the ground, led by Cody Reed's 179 yards on 19 carries. Phil Hanley ran for 106 yards and a touchdown and Bryant Mead had two short touchdown runs for the Warriors, who last met Dolgeville in a Class C state quarterfinal in 1994. The Warriors ended Dolgeville's 41-game winning streak with a 16-12 victory, then went on to win the first of their two state titles.

"We just couldn't keep up with them," said Dolgeville senior linebacker and fullback Andy Johnston. "We didn't know who had the ball – they shielded it from us – and they just pounded it. They didn't even have to throw the ball."

Dolgeville (10-1) did. The Blue Devils were held to 41 rushing yards and 150 total yards.

Goyette, throwing under pressure most of the night, was 10-of-18 passing for 109 yards, one interception, and a 26-yard touchdown to Alex Snyder with 1:44 left to play.

Ardoin ran for Dolgeville's first touchdown and sophomore Michael Barnes scored the other on a 90-yard kickoff return in the fourth quarter.

"They just didn't stop coming," said Goyette of the Warriors' aggressive defense. "They were big, they were fast, and they hit hard. They're just great football players."

Turnovers gave Dolgeville its chances early.

Walton took the opening kickoff and methodically marched 61 yards, but the Warriors fumbled and Dolgeville's Doug Gray recovered at his own 17. The Blue Devils were forced to punt, though, and Walton needed only six plays to cover 48 yards and take the 6-0 lead on Mead's 2-yard touchdown run.

Walton's next offensive series was stalled by a holding penalty, and the Warriors' punt was blocked by Paul Barnes and recovered by Dolgeville's Gary Farquhar at the Walton 28. Goyette completed an 18-yard pass to Chris Robotham, then scampered to the 4-yard line to set up a tying touchdown run by Ardoin, who veered right behind blocks by Michael Barnes and Kyle Harlow. Robotham's extra-point kick gave Dolgeville a 7-6 lead with 7:54 left in the half.

Walton, however, took the ensuing kickoff and churned out another drive, highlighted by Reed's 27-yard run on 3rd-and-3. Mead's 1-yard plunge and Phil Hanley's two-point conversion run gave the Warriors a 14-6 lead with 2:45 left in the half.

"Dolgeville's a good football team with great tradition," said Walton coach Jim Hoover. "The key was that second-quarter drive. We were down 7-6, and we just drove it down and punched it in."

Walton quickly added to its lead in the third quarter, driving 71 yards in eight plays, the last a 32-yard touchdown run by Hanley. Moments later, Dolgeville's punt was muffed and recovered by the Blue Devils' Michael Barnes at their own 39, but a penalty and a sack sent them backward and after punting it away, Walton scored again on Chad Gardepe's 4-yard run in the final minute of the third quarter.

Trailing 30-7, Dolgeville gained its third first down of the game on a pass to Anthony Dykeman, but on the next play, Mead returned an interception 47 yards and Robbie Rigas scored on a 5-yard run to make it 38-7.

Dolgeville fumbled it right back to the Warriors just three plays later, and Reed scored on a 41-yard burst up the middle. Michael Barnes then returned the kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown, but the Blue Devils were down 44-14 with only 9:01 left.

"They're tough," said Dolgeville coach Chris Connolly. "They come at you with a lead back, they pull a guard. … Their block scheme is fabulous. I've got a scouting report on them from back in '94 and I don't think it's changed. First it's a dive, then a trap, then it's the sweep. They just do it and do it and do it."

Dolgeville had won a 17th league title in 18 years, and a week ago the Blue Devils added to their record total with a 15th Section III championship.

Walton, whose Warriors have won a record 13 Section IV titles, play a state semifinal game in Rochester next weekend.


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