ROCHESTER, N.Y.- Sweet Home rallied back in tremendous fashion to beat Union-Endicott 40-22 in the Class A State semifinals at Sahlen's Stadium Friday night, outscoring the Tigers 40-8 in the final three quarters.
The Panthers found themselves trailing 14-0 at the end of the first quarter and also trailing at halftime 22-19. But, on the first offensive play of the second half #2 Mike McCoy took an end-around handoff 65 yards for a touchdown to give Sweet Home a 26-22 lead and the Panthers would never look back.
Brad Zaffram would intercept a pass on the next drive and then pound it in himself near the goal-line to extend the lead to 33-22 in favor of the Panthers. #33 Josh Roe would take the ball out of Union-Endicott's quarterback #7 Joey Orlando's hands and into the end-zone for a touchdown with 9:08 left in the fourth quarter to truly seal the game for the Panthers.
Things started rough for Sweet Home as the Tigers scored early on a deep 47-yard yard touchdown pass from quarterback #7 Joey Orlando to #21 Nick Yesensky to put them up 7-0 with 6:48 to go in the first quarter.
Union-Endicott would score again on a 31-yard touchdown reception by #24 Nahjee Miller to give them a 14-0 lead they would carry into the second quarter. That's when the Panthers offense would wake up.
The Panthers wasted no time getting going in the second quarter as quarterback #10 Mike Torillo found Zaffram on a 29-yard touchdown pass to cut the score to 14-7 with 11:49 to go. Then with 6:27 left in the second quarter #16 Jordan Evert had a four-yard touchdown run and after a missed extra point Sweet Home trailed just one, 14-13.
#13 Kahlil Humphrey split the defenders for a five-yard touchdown run with 2:46 left in the second quarter and after a missed two-point conversion pulled Sweet Home ahead for the first time 19-14.
Union-Endicott would pull ahead one more time with a 33-yard touchdown bomb from Orlando to Yesensky with just nine seconds to go in the first half to take the 22-19 lead. That would be the last points of the game for the Tigers as they would be shutout in the second half.
Sweet Home goes to an impressive 12-0 on the season. They will move on to the Class A championship game against Burnt Hills, a Section II team, next Friday at 3 p.m. at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse. The Panthers look to become state champions for the first time since they went back to back in 2008 and 2009; beating Burnt Hills both times. Union-Endicott finishes its season at 9-2.