Buddy Leathley, Austin Straub, Mike Rosenbaum, Louis Pascarella, Will Porter, Matt Fallico -- they had all taken their turns piling up yardage as the Fayetteville-Manlius football team sailed toward victory against Vestal last Saturday night.
So naturally it was the seventh featured runner, Joe Blasting, that capped off the Hornets' 34-7 win by taking a draw handoff and tearing 83 yards toward the end zone for his team's final touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Needless to say, the offensive tone at F-M has undergone a drastic change. To survive and thrive in 2006, it needed Leathley throwing, often, to reliable targets like Scott Kleinklaus, Ethan Gilbert, Pat Lee and Shane Bush.
Of that quartet, only Bush returns, but the Hornets make up for that by having a core of runners so deep that it could absorb the season-ending preseason leg injury to Matt Taylor and still pack a serious wallop.
Vestal, a Section IV school near Binghamton, expected this going into the game. What it did not expect was how the Hornets would display this depth, quickly.
On the game's third play, Leathley dropped back to pass, drew in the defense, then took off down toward the left sideline. No one would catch the senior quarterback as he raced 48 yards for a touchdown, putting F-M up 7-0 just 1:12 into the contest.
It got to 14-0 late in the period after a Straub interception at midfield. Big gains by Fallico and Pascarella set up Rosenbaum for a nine-yard TD run, not the last time he would find the end zone.
Billy Donlon punted well all night, and when the Golden Bears muffed one of Donlon's deep, high kicks, Jim Barger pounced on it at Vestal's 21-yard line. On the very next play, Rosenbaum ran a sweep to the left and was never touched as he scored to make it 21-0.