Oct 22, 2006 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Having behaved a certain way in the regular season — arrive on the field, kick an opponent around, bench all the starters with the game well in hand — the Cazenovia football team had no intentions of changing that behavior once the post-season began.
Thus, the Lakers came home to Buckley-Volo Field last Saturday and proceeded to crush the Solvay Bearcats in the opening round of the Section III Class B playoffs, adding this 55-8 romp to its growing list of destruction.
Cazenovia, now 8-0 on the season, has outscored its foes 379-29, but even those lopsided numbers don’t reflect the way in which the Lakers overwhelm anyone foolish enough to get in the way.
Not too long ago, Solvay used to dominate like this, claiming eight consecutive Class B West division titles from 1998 to 2005 before slumping to fourth place this season.
The Bearcats’ offensive struggles were augmented by the fact that its top running back, Ben Carl, was injured late in the regular season and could not play against Cazenovia.
Far from merciful, the Lakers’ first-team defense never let the Bearcats past midfield in the first half, and only gave up a first down after committing a penalty late in the second quarter.
David Etter lit that defensive spark with three sacks and 10 total tackles, and fellow linemen Paddy Adolfi, Connor Ryan, Jon Parker and Jason Jones were just as effective.
Linebackers Artie Bigsby (11 tackles), Brandon Moyer (10 tackles) and James Irwin shut down Solvay’s running game, and the secondary of Chris Nourse, Tom Eschen, Brian Bartlett and Justin Hubbard finished off the domination with perfect coverage and aggressive play.
Offensively, Cazenovia set the tone on the game’s third play. Facing third-down-and-20 from his own 30-yard line, Coleman Koesterer threw short to Ben Dewan, and Dewan broke two tackles and outran everyone else to the end zone for a 70-yard touchdown just 1:36 into the game.
But the real blow was issued when the Lakers scored three times with a span of 1:03 to turn a solid 14-0 lead into a total blowout.
Hubbard began the push with his modest five-yard TD run. Moments later, Nourse intercepted Peter Albrigo’s pass and returned it 25 yards for another score. Nourse then recovered a Solvay fumble, then returned to catch Koesterer’s 34-yard TD pass at the start of the second quarter.
With the field soggy from heavy rains the previous two days, the Lakers made sure its starters were gone by the third quarter. A much bigger test lay ahead.
In the Class B semifinals Saturday at 1:30 at Chittenango High School, Cazenovia will meet Homer (7-1), a rematch of last year’s title game at the Carrier Dome won by the Trojans. Homer beat South Jefferson 37-6 in the opening roudn.
Despite heavy graduation losses (including top running back Dustin Morris), Homer remained strong this season because it found a new star in Mark Brenchley. All Brenchley has done is run for 1,699 yards and tie a school record with 22 touchdowns.
This game might hinge on how Brenchley and Homer’s offensive line fare against the terrifying Laker defense. The winner gets Westhill or Holland Patent in the Dome for the Class B title.