Oct 29, 2006 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
By ridding itself of a year-old headache, the Cazenovia football team gets an opportunity to end a five-year championship drought.
Displaying yet again its ability to dominate on both sides of the ball, the Lakers romped past Homer, 48-0, in last Saturday’s Section III Class B semifinal at Chittenango High School.
By doing so, Cazenovia helped partially atone for a 41-14 loss to those same Trojans in the 2005 sectional Class B final at the Carrier Dome.
More importantly, the Lakers earned a return trip to the Dome Saturday at 5 p.m. for a highly-anticipated Class B final against Westhill — two 9-0 teams meeting for a title.
Through nine games, Cazenovia has flattened opponents by a combined score of 420-29, an astonishing fact that was supposed to change, at least a bit, with the presence of Homer and its record-setting running back, Mark Brenchley.
All it took, though, was one play to set the tone in the Lakers’ favor. On third down at midfield on Homer’s opening drive, Brenchley tried to run outside, but he fumbled — and speedy linebacker Brandon Moyer returned it 58 yards for a touchdown, putting Cazenovia up 7-0 with the game barely three minutes old.
In all, Homer would commit four turnovers in the first half. Even when the Trojans pinned the Lakers on its three-yard line late in the opening period, the Lakers marched 97 yards in six plays, most of it on Coleman Koesterer’s 60-yard pass to Aaron Race. Brian Bartlett ran the final yard for the score.
Cazenovia’s defense made its biggest stop early in the second quarter. A bad punt left Homer on the Lakers’ 30-yard line, but Tom Eschen jumped on a fumbled pitch at the 36-yard line. On the very next play, Moyer broke through the secondary and was gone, a 64-yard run to the end zone to make it 20-0.
On the Lakers’ next offensive play, Moyer again cut through Homer defenders and used his quickness to go 59 yards for his third TD of the afternoon. Perfect blocks by linemen Jason Jones, Paddy Adolfi, Marcus Schokker, Connor Ryan and Drew Jones sprung Moyer on his long runs.
Eschen claimed the first of his two interceptions after that Moyer TD, and Koesterer would get on the board with a 23-yard TD scramble just 23 seconds before halftime, building the Lakers’ lead to 35-0 and putting it out of reach.
Chris Nourse would catch a 40-yard TD pass from Koesterer in the late going, as the junior quarterback went five-for-seven for 129 yards. Moyer got most of his 166 yards on the ground from those long TD runs.
And once again, the Lakers’ defense was sensational, recording its fifth shutout in seven seeks, holding Brenchley in check. Aside from Eschen’s two interceptions and a fumble recovery, Artie Bigsby had 13 tackles, with fellow linebacker James Irwin getting nine tackles.
Cazenovia’s defense will now get a major test from Westhill, which has scored 86 points in playoff wins over V-V-S and Holland Patent.
In the latter game, a 48-28 decision, junior running back Dale Ross was a one-man show, running for 306 yards, scoring four touchdowns, throwing a TD pass, and earning two interceptions.
Ross is effective because the Warriors can throw, too, Dan Fetter finding big and quick receivers in Jim Ross and Jake Burgess. It is exactly the kind of challenge Cazenovia has looked for — and will soon get.