Even when hampered with problems on and off the field, the Liverpool football team has put itself in a strong position to return to the Section III Class AA playoffs.
What's more, the Warriors now own neighborhood bragging rights over its biggest rival, Cicero-North Syracuse, thanks to last Friday's 30-7 victory over the Northstars at Bragman Stadium.
Needing a win this game to remain in control of its post-season fate, Liverpool achieved that goal while, at the same time, putting CNS in a more vulnerable position. The Warriors also took possession of the "Star Wars" Cup in the second year it was handed out, after the Northstars prevailed a year ago.
The packed crowd at Bragman Stadium watched Liverpool (2-2 league, 3-3 overall) shut down CNS, as the Northstars got just 118 yards of total offense. The Warriors' defense recorded seven sacks and one interception along the way.
Meanwhile, Liverpool junior tailback Greg Bell delivered a dominating performance. Bell set a new career mark with 219 yards on 29 carries, with 180 of those yards coming in the first half, plus four touchdowns.
"We know what are our team is capable of doing if we work hard, said Liverpool head coach Dave Mancuso. "Tonight we slowed things down (on defense) and got back to the fundamentals. We saw this evening that have the potential to be pretty good. We were fortunate that everything just clicked."
Striking first, the Warriors got moving when senior quarterback Tyler Kamide threw a 47-yard pass to Jesse Gates, who made a leaping grab at the CNS 32. Three plays later, Bell dashed into the end zone with a 19-yard score. Though Jimmy Wright missed the extra point, Liverpool led 6-0.
On his next possession, Kamide made a rare mistake, an underthrown pass that Austin Hyde (who had two interceptions the week before against CBA) picked off and returned 42 yards deep into Liverpool territory.