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Star photo by P.J. HarmerDelhi-s Jack Fletcher attempts to stay on his feet as Groton-s Mike Neville (50) grabs his legs during Saturday-s Section Four Class D semifinal at Union-Endicott-s Ty Cobb Stadium. Delhi-s Jacob Cipperly tries to hold off Groton-s Sam Wright (40) as Isaih Young (18) and Matt Hinman, back, converge on Fletcher.

ENDICOTT _ Groton's Kyle Reed proved to be too much for Delhi to handle.

Reed rushed for 168 yards and three touchdowns on 18 carries Saturday to lead the Indians to a 33-14 victory over the Bulldogs in a Section Four Class D football semifinal at Union-Endicott's Ty Cobb Stadium.

Reed, a 6-foot, 200-pound fullback, constantly made the Bulldogs miss tackles by slipping out of the grasp of defenders and changing directions.

"We haven't tackled that poorly in a long time," said Delhi coach Dave Kelly, whose team finished 5-4. "He didn't let us into his legs and we're a little small. Our situation is that we're small at several positions. We've tried to accommodate as many as our 5-9, 150s as we can, and they had difficulties with him."

Reed's touchdown run in the fourth quarter also helped Groton to its first sectional final since 2004.

With his team trailing, 14-12, Reed broke through a hole on the left side of the line and went 47 yards for a touchdown with 7 minutes, 36 seconds remaining to give the Indians the lead. Pete Jackson's conversion run made it 20-12.

"It was there every time I got the ball," Reed said of the hole. "Our line was blocking and it was there. I just couldn't seem to catch the corner and I finally did. It boosted our team and we took it from there. "¦ As soon as I caught the corner, I knew I was gone."

The Indians (8-1), who dropped a 33-26 decision to Hancock in the 2004 title game, will meet defending Class D state champion Walton (9-0) at 7 p.m. Saturday in the Section Four championship at Ty Cobb Stadium.

"It's unbelievable and a great feeling," Reed said. "Win or lose, we made it this far. It's a great feeling."

Jackson, Groton's quarterback, helped the Indians pull away against Delhi with his defense.

On Delhi's first play after the Indians took the lead, quarterback Luke Burns dropped back to pass and looked for Davionne Price on the right side. His ball went high and Jackson cut in for the interception at the 50, then returned it to Delhi's 27. Six plays later, Logan Randall (109 yards, 23 carries) scored on a 5-yard run. Reed's kick made it 27-14 with 4:30 to play.

"We probably should have stayed conservative a little longer," Kelly said. "That's a possibility when we were one touchdown behind."

Four plays after Groton kicked off, Jackson had his second interception _ this time returning it 78 yards down the sideline for the score. Jackson also got some help from Reed, who had a strong downfield block to create an opening. Jackson's score made it 33-14 with 2:58 to play.

"I kind of made my read on the quarterback and kind of watched him," Jackson said. "As soon as the ball was in the air, I knew it was going to be mine. Then I just picked it, made a couple of good cuts, got some good blocks and after that I knew I was gone."

Groton opened the scoring in the first quarter, when Reed scored on a 1-yard run with 1.9 seconds remaining in the period to make it 6-0.

Delhi tied it with 7:04 to play in the second, capping a 10-play drive with a 9-yard TD run by Jack Fletcher. Anthony Salerno's kick made it 7-6, and the Bulldogs took that lead into halftime. Fletcher finished with 161 yards on 30 carries to lead Delhi.

After forcing Delhi to punt on the first drive after the break, Groton let Reed take over.

The Indians had a 13-play drive that covered 75 yards. Reed ran seven of those plays for 52 yards, including a 16-yard scoring run with 1:36 to go in the third. Reed nearly was brought down behind the line of scrimmage by J.J. Darling, but he shoved Darling to the ground with a strong stiff-arm and went down the left sideline for the score.

"He's a rugged kid," Fletcher said of Reed. "He's tough to bring down. ... It was a really tough game. They hit really hard and their running backs ran really hard. We couldn't tackle them that well. It was an all-out really tough game."

The Bulldogs responded with a 12-play, 73-yard drive that took 5:18 off the clock. Fletcher finished the drive with an 8-yard run up the middle, and Salerno's kick made it 14-12.

"The line helped tremendously at the end," Fletcher said. "I just gave it all I could and ended up scoring."

Fletcher, a sophomore, finished the season with 988 yards and 14 touchdowns on 161 carries for the Bulldogs.

"He's got a lot of heart and he's a great back," Kelly said. "We like what we see there. We're very happy he's as durable as he is. He's a good player."

Groton 33, Delhi 14

SECTION FOUR CLASS D SEMIFINAL

Saturday at U-E's Ty Cobb Stadium

Delhi0 7 0 7 _ 14

Groton6 0 6 21 _ 33

FIRST QUARTER

G _ Kyle Reed 1 run (pass failed) :01

SECOND QUARTER

D _ Jack Fletcher 9 run (Anthony Salerno kick) 7:04

THIRD QUARTER

G _ Kyle Reed 16 run (pass failed) 1:36

FOURTH QUARTER

D _ Jack Fletcher 8 run (Anthony Salerno kick) 8:25

G _ Kyle Reed 47 run (Pete Jackson run) 7:36

G _ Logan Randall 5 run (Kyle Reed kick) 4:30

G _ Pete Jackson 78 interception return (kick failed) 2:58

Delhi rushing: Jack Fletcher 30-161, Davionne Price 8-35, Luke Burns 6-40.

Groton rushing: Kyle Reed 18-168, Logan Randall 23-109, Pete Jackson 2-(-2), Ethan Tilebein 2-8.

Delhi passing: Luke Burns: 6-for-12, 71 yards, 3 int.

Groton passing: Pete Jackson 2-for-6, 18 yards, int.

Delhi receiving: Anthony Salerno 3-35, Davionne Price 2-28, Jacob Cipperly 1-8.

Groton receiving: Isaih Young 1-15, Logan Randall 1-3.

___

P.J. Harmer can be reached at pharmer@thedailystar.com or 607-432-1000, ext. 229.

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