Sep 09, 2008 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
While some parts of the Fayetteville-Manlius football team are sound and functioning, others remain incomplete — something a quality opponent could exploit.
And Binghamton did a whole lot of exploitation during Sunday’s Kickoff Classic at the Carrier Dome, taking charge in the second half and pulling away to beat the Hornets 47-23.
F-M took many graduation hits from a 2007 squad that went 6-3 and advanced to the Section III Class AA semifinals before falling to Cicero-North Syracuse.
Buddy Leathley, Greg Gaulin, Anthony Krizman, Mike Rosenbaum, Will Porter, Shane Bush, Andrew Vossler, Billy Donlon, Louis Pascarella, Joe Blasting, Mike Riccione and Colin Anderson all took their leave, leaving many new faces in the starting lineup.
These new faces had to come face-to-face with Binghamton, thought by many to be the Section IV Class AA title favorites with a potent offense that got even better when 1,000-yard running back Jamar Smith transferred over from Johnson City.
It was Smith that got the scoring started with a 14-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, and F-M didn’t have an immediate answer despite a 63-yard kickoff return by Matt Taylor, back on the field after missing the ’07 season with a broken leg.
Early in the second quarter, T.J. Earley, Leathley’s successor at quarterback, drove the Hornets 52 yards to its first score. From the Patriots’ 19-yard line on third-down-and-goal, Earley threw a perfect strike to Mike O’Neil in the back of the end zone, but a missed extra point kept Binghamton in front 7-6.
That didn’t last long, though. Linebacker Matt Fallico, named the game’s MVP, made a spectacular fourth-down stop to give the Hornets good field position, and Earley hit O’Neil for a 26-yard diving catch to set up Fallico going one yard for a TD, giving F-M a 12-7 lead.
The lead lasted barely two minutes, as Smith returned to go 38 yards for his second TD of the afternoon and put the Patriots back in front 13-12.
Dan Costa, who had missed a 40-yard field goal attempt earlier in the game, did connect on a 23-yarder to give the Hornets at 15-13 edge. But again Smith answered, taking off on a 72-yard sprint to the end zone that had Binghamton ahead 19-15 going into halftime.
At this point, Smith had 12 carries for 173 yards, but he would sit out the second half with an injury. On the surface, that appeared to give F-M a great chance to rally, but that wouldn’t be the case.
Binghamton stretched the margin to 26-15 when quarterback Ahmed Hassanien found Davis Nieves for a 22-yard TD strike. A bad punt snap led to F-M cutting the deficit to 26-22 midway through the third period on Taylor’s 13-yard TD run,
Twice, Haasinen fumbled in the third period, but the Hornets could not convert on either opportunity and go back in front. And that proved even more costly when, on the last play of the period, Dorian Feggins (Smith’s replacement at running back) broke loose for a 59-yard touchdown run, making it 33-23.
Binghamton then wore down F-M in the fourth quarter, adding two more touchdowns as Feggins got a 28-yard TD run and Hassinen threw a seven-yard scoring pass to Nate Papso.
In his debut, Earley went 10-for-20 for 133 yards, balanced out by the solid running of Taylor (71 yards) and Fallico (45 yards), but that could not match what Binghamton put on the field.
F-M returns home Saturday night to face Henninger at 7:30. Both teams are looking to avoid an 0-2 start, as the Black Knights fell to CBA 21-0 in its opener last Saturday at Sunnycrest Field.
It will be a festive occasion, too, as F-M, on “Hornet Pride Night”, will honor the 1998 Section III Class A championship team on the 10th anniversary of its accomplishment with a halftime ceremony and a postgame reception at Hullars in Fayetteville.