To say that the West Genesee football team was displeased about the way it gave away its Sept. 21 game against Utica Proctor was a vast understatement.
Burned by the five turnovers that allowed the Raiders to give the Wildcats its first 2007 blemish, the team spent the ensuing week in tough, physical practices, punishing each other for the mistakes it had made.
Then WG went out on Friday night and, in front of the home folks on Senior Night in Camillus, punished someone else.
In a complete reversal from the week before, the Wildcats' defense forced Fayetteville-Manlius quarterback Buddy Leathley to throw five interceptions, leading to a 26-0 shutout of the highly-touted Hornets.
"When we win, we force turnovers and take care of the ball," said head coach Steve Bush.
WG did both, and as a result, the much-discussed family battle between Bush and his son, Shane, an F-M senior wide receiver, was overshadowed by what the defense pulled off.
Jeremy Connors, who had two of the interceptions, said he never expected a shutout, but added that his team's ability to put constant pressure on Leathley through its pass rush led to the turnovers.
That was evident right away. F-M was smartly marching down the field on its opening possession, moving to the Wildcats' 14-yard line, when a seven-yard loss forced a pass situation. Leathley threw into coverage and Jake Fietkiewicz picked it off at the five-yard line, returning it 30 yards to set up WG's first scoring drive.
Mixing up his own runs with accurate passing, Tim Moran drove the Wildcats 65 yards. On fourth-down-and-three from the nine-yard line, WG went for it, and Moran faked a handoff to his right, then took off on a bootleg, finding the end zone to put his team up 6-0.
Again, F-M drove into Wildcat territory -- and again, WG came up with an interception, as a pass slipped out of Shane Bush's hands and was nabbed by Ben Waldron.