Oct 07, 2008 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
On its own web site, the Baldwinsville football team put out a simple message after last Friday’s huge 27-24 victory over unbeaten, state-ranked Rome Free Academy.
The message was simple: “The Sting Is Back!”
They just might be right, too. Trailing by 10 in the third quarter, the Bees revealed the depth of its character and delighted the home crowd at Pelcher-Arcaro Stadium by rallying for its biggest victory in years.
True, B’ville entered the game 2-2, but one of those victories had come because Liverpool had forfeited its Sept. 5 win against the Bees due to the use of an ineligible player.
Simply put, B’ville had spent much of the last three seasons in a proverbial wilderness, out of the playoff picture and far removed from the elite Class AA status it had enjoyed for so long.
What was needed, what was required, was a clear-cut victory against a big-named opponent. And RFA, who at 4-0 led the Class AA-2 division and had the no. 19 spot in the state AA rankings, fit that category.
It helped, of course, to be at Pelcher-Arcaro Stadium. B’ville plays on grass, and it knew the Black Knights, who play its home games on the Field Turf at RFA Stadium, would have to make some kind of adjustments.
Still, it was RFA that would get in front, earning the only points of the first quarter with a relentless drive that culminated with Mark Capponi going six yards for the touchdown.
B’ville answered with its usual formula — namely, lots of Malik Burks. The junior running back went 12 yards for a TD early in the second quarter to tie it, 7-7, just the start of a big night where the junior would carry the ball 26 times for 204 yards.
RFA then sprung its top back, Kyle Kimball, for a 35-yard TD run to go back in front, then made it 17-7 on Andy D’Amore’s 33-yard field goal.
Just before halftime, though, the Bees put together its most important drive of the night. It moved to the Black Knights’ 15, then had quarterback Nico Manning throw to the end zone — and find Jed Clouston for at TD that made it 17-14 going into the break.
This assured that B’ville would be in the fight to the end. Thus, even when Capponi scored on a seven-yard run to make it 24-15 in the third quarter, B’ville did not panic or alter its game plan.
Instead, the Bees kept handing the ball to Burks, and he kept getting first downs. The bruising, physical work of linemen Nick Robinson, Jake Margrey, Barrett Sweet, Nick Williamson and Brian Wilson kept the Bees on the field and gradually wore RFA’s defense down.
Burks scored from three yards out late in the period to cut the margin to 24-21, then returned to the end zone a third time on a two-yard run in the fourth quarter. Those proved to be the winning points.
B’ville’s defense, led by linebackers Nick Alencewicz, Joe Cavdeine and Alex Hipolito, would blank RFA for most of the second half, its most inspired effort to date. Jeff Pond also starred on defense and, as a kicker, converted three extra points.
Now at 3-2, and all but assured of its first Section III playoff berth since 2005, the Bees visit Holland Stadium to face 0-5 Auburn Friday at 7 p.m. The Maroons are coming off a 22-8 loss to AA-2 division leader Henninger.