CICERO — Chad Bach hasn’t had to be a prolific passer this season. When your team can run 400-plus yards a game and average 50 points, there isn’t the urgency to put the ball in the air.
But against a Canastota team that stacked the box, making Lowville’s typical rushing approach more challenging than usual, Lowville coach Josh Coffman let Bach loose and the senior didn’t disappoint. Bach completed 12 of 18 pass attempts for 261 yards and four passing touchdowns in Lowville’s 49-15 rout of Canastota (7-2) in the Section 3 Class C semifinal at Cicero-North Syracuse.
The win puts Lowville (9-0) in the Section 3 Class C championship game against Cato-Meridian next weekend at the Carrier Dome.
Bach didn’t shy away from the deep ball either, five of his completions went for 30-plus yards and two of those were for touchdowns.
“The game plan was just to get on them quick, it didn’t matter how,” Bach said. “Whatever coach saw he was going call.”
Bach has always been a talented runner, it’s his passing game that he’s worked hard to improve over the past two seasons. Even though this was the most Bach had thrown in a single game all season, Coffman wasn’t worried.
“No, I think it’s a little bit easier on a coach when you’re just calling run plays for Chad,” Coffman said. “We went into knowing that there was a good chance we were going to have to air it out a little bit because we were pretty sure they were going to play zero-coverage and try to cover our athletes on the outside.”
Bach mixed up his targets. Four different Lowville receivers saw action in the game: Gavin Macaulay finished with five catches for 92 yards and a touchdown, Aidan Macaulay finished with four catches for 81 yards and two touchdowns, Aiden Zehr finished with one catch for 22 yards and Brett Myers finished with two catches for 68 yards and a touchdown.
The receivers didn’t have trouble beating the defensive backs trying to defend them, something made evident early on.
“Coming into (the game) we knew Canastota liked to play a lot of zero-coverage, just straight man, and we knew that, especially with Chad being a run a threat for everyone inside, it was just straight one-on-one for the rest of us outside,” Aidan Macaulay said. “So, we knew if we can beat the corners we’d be able to throw the ball all day if we wanted to.”
Aidan Macaulay hauled in Bach’s deepest touchdown pass of the day, a 48-yard, over-the-shoulder catch on streak route where Macaualay simply beat his man on the outside.
While not exactly a secret weapon, the passing attack adds an extra dynamic to a Lowville team that is already one of the best offensive teams in the state.
“I don’t want to say it’s a new element because we’ve been able to do it all season, Chad can just run the ball so well plus we’ve usually been out in the second half in most games,” Aidan Macaulay said. “It’s just something that other teams haven’t really seen from us all year and I think it must be scary for other teams, it has to be.”
Much like Lowville, the Canastota offense has dominated teams all season. The Red Raiders entered Saturday’s semifinal game averaging 50.7 points per game.
Yet, through the first half Lowville held them scoreless. Canastota’s only offense flowed through quarterback Drew Marshall, who finished 15-for-31 with 191 passing yards and 109 rushing yards.
“We just knew that him and their running back (Nick Weber) were there key threats, so we really honed in on them, they were our main guys to look for during the week,” Lowville’s Isaac Lyndaker said. “And we just made sure we had an eye on them all times and it worked out for us.”
Marshall threw two interceptions in the game, one caught by Bach and the other caught by Lyndaker. Lyndaker’s interception ended Canastota’s final drive of the game. He ended up returning the ball for 37 yards; It was his first ever interception.
Waiting for Lowville at the Dome next week is Cato-Meridian, the only other undefeated team in Section 3 Class C.
Cato-Meridian defeated Herkimer 16-0 in the game prior to Lowville’s on Saturday. Coffman, who has seen limited film of the Blue Devils, caught some of their third quarter against Herkimer.
“I came out and watched the little bit of the third quarter, I’m impressed,” Coffman said. “They’re a good disciplined team, defense is fantastic so it should be a pretty good test.”