Oct 28, 2008 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
A lingering two-month wound got healed when the Liverpool football team went to Pelcher-Arcaro Stadium last Friday night and crushed Baldwinsville 35-8 in the opening round of the Section III Class AA playoffs.
Now the Warriors are poised to end two seasons full of frustration at the expense of defending state champion West Genesee when the two sides meet Saturday in the AA semifinals at Cicero-North Syracuse’s Bragman Stadium.
First, though, Liverpool had to take care of B’ville. It had done so once before, on Sept. 5, but the aftermath clouded the entire picture.
What had been a 32-12 victory got tarnished on two fronts. First, a third-quarter brawl on the Liverpool sideline led to several Warrior players suspended for the following game against Corcoran and some ill will on both sides.
Then the game itself got thrown out when it was discovered that Liverpool used an ineligible player above the high-school age limit of 19. So because of a mistake in paperwork, the Warriors technically were seeking revenge — and vindication — in B’ville.
It got both, in a big way, even though the Bees had vastly improved in the ensuing two months and carried a four-game win streak into the game. Really, it took just 15 seconds for Liverpool to seize control.
That was the length of time required to pick up a short kickoff at the 40-yard line and, on the first play from scrimmage, watch junior tailback Greg Bell tear through a whole on the right, then cut up the middle and go 60 yards for a touchdown.
So began a first-half blitz that featured both Bell and Corey Bundrage. On each of B’ville’s first two possessions, Bundrage sacked quarterback Nico Manning on third down to force a punt.
In between, Bell put together a series of runs to B’ville’s 31, which brought the Bees’ defense close to the line of scrimmage. Accordingly, Tyler Kamide threw over them, finding Bundrage wide-open for a TD that made it 14-0.
When Bell scored from nine yards out late in the period, Liverpool had taken just 10 minutes to build a 21-0 lead. For the first half, Bell piled up 152 rushing yards, eventually finishing with 206 yards on the night.
Kamide wasn’t done, either. Having set a Liverpool school record with five TD passes in a win over Fayetteville-Manlius the week before, he went deep and found Justin Albro for a 24-yard TD pass in the second quarter, and the Warriors had a 28-0 lead.
Were it not for a string of penalties and a fumble near the goal line before halftime, that margin might have been much larger, but it made no difference.
Liverpool avoided any possible scuffles in the second half, as its defense clamped down on B’ville’s star tailback, Malik Burks (he had just 85 yards on 18 carrries), and got one more TD from Bell on a four-yard run. For the season, Bell has 1,260 yards and 17 touchdowns.
Now Bell and his Liverpool mates go after West Genesee, a team it lost to 51-34 back on Sept. 19 in Camillus, and also fell to twice in the 2007 season, including in the AA semifinals at CNS — the exact same location as this semifinal.
WG needed to stop a Corcoran two-point conversion attempt in the waning seconds to escape past the Cougars 27-26 in its opening-round game. Liverpool needs a win to get to its first sectional final since winning the sectional championship in 1998, where it would face Henninger or Rome Free Academy in the Carrier Dome next Saturday at 2 p.m.