Sep 25, 2007 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
First an unexpected meltdown in the rain against CBA, now a quick 14-0 deficit to Cicero-North Syracuse.
Was the Fayetteville-Manlius football team’s 2007 season, so full of promise and expectations, falling apart in an avalanche of penalty flags and poor defense?
The Hornets sensed that danger — and once it got rid of the penalties and started to toughen up its resistance on Saturday night, it turned things around, rallying to beat the Northstars 28-14 and improve to 3-1 on the season.
With the win, F-M forged a six-way tie among all the teams in the Class AA-1 division, each of them with 1-1 marks in league play.
Still haunted by the finish against CBA, where yellow flags were rampant and the Hornets blew a 21-10 lead when the rain arrived for the fourth quarter, F-M had the worst possible start against the Northstars.
A 15-yard personal foul got CNS launched on its opening drive, a 68-yard march where Anthony Dolson did most of the work with a 15-yard swing pass and 24-yard run. Steven Ianzito threw to Chad Dubiel in the middle of the end zone for an eight-yard touchdown pass that put the Northstars up 7-0.
Later in the period, CNS got pinned on its own 12-yard line, but moved out of trouble, then struck big when Ianzito, from his own 35, found Laquan James over the middle, and James sprinted from midfield down the right sideline to complete a 65-yard scoring play.
At this moment, the Hornets could have disintegrated. Instead, piece by piece, it began restoring the pride it talks about all the time and even puts on its helmets.
The starting point was Louis Pascarella’s kick return to the 45-yard line, beginning a short march where Mike Rosenbaum and Austin Straub did most of the running. Straub finished it off with a nine-yard TD run, and despite a missed extra point, F-M was breathing again.
Meanwhile, the Hornets’ defense started to clamp down, not allowing James or his fellow runners to get outside and putting pressure on both Ianzito and his receivers.
Reading one such pass play, Anthony Krizman got a key interception midway through the second quarter, and F-M’s front line stuffed Dolson on fourth down at the Hornets’ 31 a few minutes later.
Off that stop, the Hornets marched to the tying score, converting one fourth down and mixing up its offense along the way. From the CNS 26 with a minute to play in the half, Buddy Leathley threw deep — and found Shane Bush, who caught it in the end zone and withstood a hard hit to hold on for the touchdown. Straub’s two-point run tied it, 14-14, going into the break.
Now the penalties started going the other way. Twice, long kick returns by James were called back due to illegal blocks, keeping CNS from better field position as the game trudged into the second half.
Still, late in the third quarter, the Northstars had the ball inside the Hornets 20-yard line, facing fourth-down-and-10. Disdaining a possible go-ahead field goal, CNS went for it — but F-M shut down the screen pass, by far the most important stop of the night.
Taking over at its own 19, F-M went 81 yards down the field. Twice, Leathley hit Bush for first-down completions, and the runners did the rest. Rosenbaum flew down the right sideline on a 36-yard sprint to the end zone with 11:12 left to put F-M ahead, 21-14.
Two bad CNS snaps led to a punt, and the Hornets got the ball back with 9:30 left. It promptly wore down the Northstars’ defense with a 67-yard march that took nearly six minutes off the clock, all with runs by Straub, Rosenbaum, Will Porter and Joe Blasting. Straub’s nine-yard TD run with 3:45 left helped seal the victory.
So the Hornets have a 3-1 record going into Friday’s highly-anticipated trip to Camillus to meet West Genesee at 6 p.m. WG started 3-0 before falling to Utica Proctor 20-15 a week ago, harmed by five turnovers and a blocked field goal.
Adding to the drama of the occasion is the unique scenario of Shane Bush going up against his own father, Steve, who is the Wildcats’ head coach.