PENN YAN — After finishing the regular season with a 6-1 record and a three-way share of the Finger Lakes East title, the Penn Yan Academy football set its sights on a new goal.
A Section Five Class C championship.
The second-seeded Mustangs’ journey began Friday night with a 48-0 whitewash of No. 7 Dansville in the first round.
“I feel good for the kids,” Mustangs coach Tim McBride said. “They worked hard this whole season, and really the last couple of years. A lot of our key players have been on the varsity team for three years now, and it’s great to see them be able to advance, because we haven’t been able to advance in sectionals in a little while. To give them the opportunity to go play in meaningful football games in October is a special feeling.”
It was a big night for seniors Will Rogers and Conner Fingar.
Rogers delivered a career night through the air, going 26-for-29 with 340 yards and 7 touchdowns. He tied Section Five’s single-season record for passing touchdowns in a season with 37, a mark he will attempt to eclipse in Saturday’s semifinal against third-seeded Letchworth/Warsaw.
That game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. kickoff at Honeoye Falls-Lima High School.
“Honestly, this record means something, but it’s not that big,” Rogers humbly stated. “I’d rather finish the season with a sectional title.”
Meanwhile, Fingar caught 12 balls for 177 yards and 5 touchdowns. He also chalked up 6 tackles on the defensive side of the ball.
“Our guys were really blocking good up front,” Fingar said. “I was finding the holes, and I just didn’t want to go down. Every play I thought, ‘I can get a touchdown this play. Every play I can go for a touchdown.’ “
The Mustangs defense caused headaches for Dansville all night. Sophomore linebacker Mekhi Mahan led the charge with 10 tackles.
After Fingar’s fifth touchdown of the night on the opening drive of the third quarter, a running clock sped along the second half and allowed the second-stringers to see the field.
“It’s great because those guys work hard all week long,” McBride added. “They don’t get into every single game. For them to be able to get some playing in front of their parents and our community is something special. And a lot of those guys really stepped up and played very well when they get in there.
“We’re a deeper team than a team of 19 kids, and we probably should be. It just goes to show you how hard they work in practice.”