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Semipro football: Shock ends R & B’s season, 16-10

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FULTON — Three forced turnovers and a halftime lead weren’t quite enough to help the Watertown Red and Black advance past the first round of the Empire Football League playoffs.

Justyn Hardwick ran for touchdowns of 20 and 41 yards, and the Syracuse Shock captured a 16-10 victory over the nation’s oldest semipro football team Saturday night at Fulton High School.

“We had a lot of blown opportunities,” Red and Black coach George Ashcraft said. “Should have, could have, would have. But that’s something to worry about for next year now.”

Syracuse (8-2) will play the top-seeded NEPA Miners (8-1) in Saturday’s semifinals in Scranton, Pa.

The Red and Black (4-6 overall, 3-6 league) failed to advance to the semifinals for the first time since 2008.

Red and Black quarterback Tyler Michaelwicz threw a 16-yard touchdown strike to Angel Hickman to cut the Shock’s lead to 16-10 with two minutes, nine seconds to play. But the Red and Black couldn’t produce another scoring drive.

Hardwick’s first score, a 20-yard run, capped off a 95-yard drive and, after a successful 2-point conversion, put the Shock up 8-3 in the third quarter. He busted off a 41-yard touchdown run to increase Syracuse’s lead to 16-3 early in the fourth.

Watertown led 3-0 at halftime and forced three fumbles — one each from Alex Tibbles, Charles Noell and Dalton Boyd.

Filippo Flocco led the Red and Black defense with 14 tackles and Joe Brennan ran for a team-high 74 yards on 15 carries.

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