Sep 09, 2008 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
What the Liverpool football team should have remembered about last Friday’s 31-12 victory over Baldwinsville at Pelcher-Arcaro Stadium was the way the Warriors’ first-string players completely dominated the Bees on both sides of the ball.
However, the lingering memory of this fierce neighborhood rivalry was the way tensions spilled over to the sideline on this hot late-summer evening, leaving both teams feeling a bit embarrassed at the way it went down.
Both teams came to this game with reasons to be tense. Liverpool, beaten in the Section III Class AA semifinals each of the last two years, wants to take the last steps to the top — but must do so on the road.
Due to the unsafe conditions of its home turf, Liverpool is playing all of its games in other spots, including four “home” games in two different locales — Central Square and Solvay. But it does so fortified by players that went undefeated at the freshman and JV levels and now were ready for the varsity challenge.
As for B’ville, its frustrations stemmed from a pair of poor seasons in 2006 and ’07 that ended a long string of AA playoff appearances. Head coach Carl Sanfilippo and his players were bent on restoring the old order, starting with Liverpool.
One of the weekend’s largest crowds was on hand as the two sides exchanged empty possessions in the early minutes, waiting to see who would strike first.
Liverpool did the honors, as Cam Jones picked off an errant Nico Manning pass at the Bees’ 35-yard line to set it up. Tyler Kamide drove the Warriors to the 19, from where he took off on a third-down bootleg and sprinted to the corner of the end zone, giving his team a 6-0 lead.
Early in the second quarter, Kamide struck through the air, finding Kaleb Fleming on a 30-yard pass to get the Warriors into the red zone. Greg Bell did the rest, the highly-touted junior running back going 12 yards for the TD to double the lead to 12-0.
As the Bees kept getting stymied by Corey Bundrage and the Warriors’ defense, the margin grew. Bell’s 39-yard run set up Kamide hitting Brian Linger on a perfect 13-yard crossing pattern with 40.9 seconds left in the half.
Down 19-0 at the break, B’ville continued to hurt itself as Rashad Wiggins intercepted a Manning pass early in the third quarter. That set up another Warrior scoring drive as Kamide hit Jesse Gates on a 20-yard TD completion.
Liverpool had a 25-0 lead and was pushing the Bees around in every facet of the game, only increasing the agitation of the home team. Then, with 7:20 left in the period, that agitation boiled over.
Malik Burks, the Bees’ star junior running back, finally broke loose a long run down the right sideline before a Liverpool player hit him late, well out of bounds, a clear 15-yard penalty.
Angry, Burks stood up and got in the face of the defender, and within seconds a fracas ensued as numerous Liverpool players jumped in, plus some B’ville players trying to defend Burks.
Nearly 15 minutes passed before order got restored and the officials sorted out what had happened. Immediately, three Liverpool players were ejected, as compared to none from B’ville.
It had no effect on the outcome, as James Wentworth had a 14-yard TD run to make it 32-0 later in the period. B’ville did not score until the Warriors’ starters were on the bench in the fourth quarter, as Burks had a 54-yard TD run and Manning threw a 14-yard pass to Dan Lang.
Bell, in his varsity debut, finished with 168 yards on the ground, beating Burks, who got most of his 134 yards in the late stages.
Liverpool has the first of its two Central Square “home” games Friday against Corcoran, who is also 1-0 after beating Utica Proctor 20-7. Game time is 7 p.m.
At the same time, B’ville will be at Alibrandi Stadium, facing Christian Brothers Academy, who blanked Henninger 21-0 to start its season.