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Football: Defense comes up big for CBA in Class AA final

Last-second stand seals Brothers' win over Shaker

Christian Brothers Academy's Jonas Neri flips Shaker's Michael Lewis near the end zone on the final play of Friday's Section II Class AA championship game at the University at Albany.

Christian Brothers Academy's Jonas Neri flips Shaker's Michael Lewis near the end zone on the final play of Friday's Section II Class AA championship game at the University at Albany. Photo by Rob Jonas.

— A combination of timely defense and critical penalties gave Christian Brothers Acadmey its first Section II Class AA football title in seven years.

The Brothers (9-1) fended off a pair of Shaker scoring chances in the fourth quarter to help them beat the Blue Bison 13-8 in Friday's Sectional final at the University at Albany's Bob Ford Field.

"We did a great job defensively all night," said CBA coach Joe Burke. "We had many times where we had our backs against the wall, and the kids kept making plays."

"Unreal. There's no other word to describe it except unreal," said linebacker/tailback Max Anthony.

Shaker (8-2) didn't help its own cause as the Blue Bison had two second-half touchdowns called back due to penalties, either of which would have given them the lead.

"We got bit by penalties a couple of times," said Shaker coach Greg Sheeler. "It was just bad timing."

CBA jumped out quickly on Shaker. On the game's second play from scrimmage, quarterback Joe Kolbe connected with Ryan O'Hagan on a 70-yard touchdown pass to put the Brothers ahead 6-0 55 seconds into the first quarter.

"We thought their safeties were biting down pretty hard, so we took a chance," said Burke. "Joey (Kolbe) made a great throw, and Ryan made a great catch."

Shaker grabbed some momentum a short time later on an unconventional play. A Blue Bison punt was mishandled by a CBA player and rolled through the back of the end zone for a safety, which cut the Brothers' lead to 6-2.

Shaker received good field position off the ensuing free kick, and the Blue Bison took advantage. A key fourth-down pass from quarterback Matt Woods to receiver Michael Lewis set up tailback Jake Quay's 8-yard touchdown run with 4:18 left in the first quarter. A missed extra point gave Shaker an 8-6 lead.

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