Oct 14, 2008 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
As if the annual football tussle between archrivals Marcellus and Skaneateles needed any further fuel, an emotional tribute by the host Mustangs brought it about.
Less than five months ago — May 23, to be precise – 2004 Marcellus High School graduate Brian Romano lost his life in an all-terrain vehicle accident in the town of Onondaga. Romano played running back and defensive back for the Mustangs in his junior and senior years, serving as team captain in 2003. He also played lacrosse at Marcellus.
In a ceremony during Friday night’s game, Romano’s jersey number, 42, was retired, and all the current Marcellus players took part. They also took part in Senior Night festivities, all before a crowd estimated at 5,000, filling every possible vantage point in the facility.
Amid all these high emotions, and in front of the biggest crowd they might ever play in, the Mustangs somehow managed to focus on the task at hand, defeating Skaneateles 31-20 to improve to 5-1 on the season.
Regardless of records — the Mustangs came in at 4-1, the Lakers at 1-4 — a rivalry game always has its own rhythm, and this edition proved no exception.
Will Fiacchi’s strong junior season continued, as the Marcellus junior quarterback completed 15 of 22 passes for 295 yards and three touchdowns.
Both Joe Cornish and Scott Cotter finished with exactly 100 receiving yards, combining to catch all of Fiacchi’s TD tosses, while Ricky Alfreds balanced things out with 17 carries for 106 yards.
Fiacchi struck the first blow, a seven-yard TD pass to Cotter, that only served as the prelude to a wild and eventful second quarter.
Tom Schoener put Skaneateles on the board when, from the Mustangs’ 19-yard line, he found Ryan Callahan in the end zone. Quickly, the Mustangs answered, moving to the Lakers’ three-yard line before Fiacchi hit Cornish in the end zone.
The exchanged continued, thanks to another Laker scoring drive where Brandon Forgham finished it off, scoring on a three-yard run. Schoener’s two-point run tied the game at 14-14.
Marcellus then spent the rest of the first half running off the clock and moving to the Lakers’ goal line, where Alfreds finished it off with a one-yard plunge.
With the Mustangs ahead 21-14 at the break, each side looked for some kind of defensive consistency and, for the most part, found it in the second half, with a few notable exceptions.
Working from his own 24 in the third quarter, Fiacchi threw deep — and hit Cornish, a 76-yard scoring connection that finally gave Marcellus a cushion to work with.
And the lead grew to 31-14 when Fiacchi belted a 42-yard field goal in the final period. That broke Ryan Novak’s school record of a 39-yard kick set in 2006.
Schoener would find Callahan again on a 12-yard TD strike, but Skaneateles would not get any closer. Marcellus again saw C.J. Nye lead the defensive push, earning 12 1/2 tackles as Kevin Daily and Steve Raven each got 6 1/2 tackles. John Drapikowski and Tyler Tomeny recorded sacks, with Corey Bice getting a fumble recovery.
When the Mustangs faces another big rival, Solvay, Friday at 7 p.m. (a game to be televised on Time Warner 26), the Tom Anthony Silver Cup will be at stake. So will the chance to host a first-round Section III Class B playoff game next weekend.
Meanwhile, Skaneateles will chase the fourth and final B West playoff spot when it visits Homer. The Lakers are 1-3 in the league, the Trojans 2-2.