Queensbury's going to the Carrier Dome.
But should they have?
You see, Cornwall was playing even with Queensbury through the 1st and 2nd Quarter. In fact, the two teams scored on the game's first four drives. The Green Dragons were driving, getting into Queensbury territory, when disaster struck.
Mike White, who entered the game with nearly 2,400 passing yards and over 20 touchdowns to his credit during the course of the season, dislocated his elbow and had to leave the game after a scrum with the Queensbury defense.
Jason Bailey, who has logged limited snaps during the course of the season, came in as the Sophomore Quarterback. Two nervous incomplete throws later, the Green Dragons had to punt the ball.
Although the following Queensbury drive came away with no points, you have to think some of the tide had changed once White left the game.
But I wouldn't call that the turning point of the game. It was huge, but there was another play that was bigger than that.
Following the halftime break, Jason Bailey returned to call the signals for the Green Dragons. But like with Mike White, the Queensbury defense was struggling against the 5 receiver set. This, coupled with several on-target screen passes, allowed Jason Bailey to get comfortable in his role, and started rattling off completion after completion.
His work would pay off when Tyler Peddie took the direct snap and ran it in for the touchdown. The two point conversion would give the Green Dragons the 21-20 lead.
He would continue to move the ball well, getting back into the Red Zone following a Queensbury touchdown, and handed the ball to Moiset Santos who ran it in for the touchdown with 3 minutes left, closing the gap to 28-27. However, Coach Marcus Hughes was content in going for the lead. It was a gamble that had a lot of risk, but huge reward if it was successful.
Jason Bailey took the snap, looked to his right, and fired it to Matt Robinson, but he was unable to get the ball as Mitchell Crispins batted it away to preserve the Queensbury lead.
That was the turning point of the game, as with three minutes left, the Spartans could effectively use the run to chew down clock. With only one timeout in their pocket, a three-and-out would give the Green Dragons about 90 seconds max to execute a game-winning drive.
It would never come to that, as Kody Bruno's run through the line found the opening he needed to reach the end zone, and Brett Rodriguez's two point conversion made it a two-possession game.
Cornwall would drive one last time, but fell short of the end zone. And the crowd on the far sideline, who made the trek from one Exit 19 to the other Exit 19, celebrated the 36-27 win.
But going back to the early question... should they have?
While you never know how the game would have played out had Mike White stayed in, you have to figure it would have mostly resembled what we saw from Jason Bailey. The kid was phoenominal in relief, throwing for over 140 yards in a game that would have unrattled most other QB's entering in a pressure situation. The one thing we do know, is that with Jason Bailey in the helm for the next two years, it wouldn't be a surprise to see Cornwall back at Dietz in the years to come.
The one surprise we saw in the game was the underutilization of Chris Bauer, who was the leading reception wide-out for the Cornwall Green Dragons.
Regardless of the events that transpired, it was a great semifinal game, and like the Class A Super Bowl now two weeks ago, there deserved not to be a loser.