Sep 15, 2008 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Whether on its own fast surface or on a lush grass field, the Marcellus football team is bound to put up a lot of points.
In fact, the Mustangs improved upon its shaky showing in its Sept. 5 opener against Holland Patent when it went to Vernon-Verona-Sherrill last Saturday afternoon and roared past the Red Devils 39-19.
On its way to a 2-0 mark, Marcellus relied, again, on the passing gifts of junior quarterback Will Fiacchi — but got just as valuable a boost from sophomore Ricky Alfreds and his running mates.
Marcellus and VVS had a recent history of drama. They had met, on this exact same field, in last year’s opening round of the Section III Class B playoffs, and a last-minute touchdown propelled the Mustangs to a 19-14 win.
Every Red Devils fan remembered that day and wanted some payback, but would find that difficult once the Mustangs’ attack got rolling.
Before that, though, VVS got the first points on the board. A 32-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Tyler Mautner to Derek Chmilewski got the Red Devils moving on a 77-yard march. From the Mustangs’ 17-yard line, on fourth-down-and-seven, Mautner threw to the end zone — and Jeremy Roden made a diving catch for the touchdown.
Down 7-0, Marcellus kept cool and proceeded with its own 66-yard march. And just like VVS, it would score on fourth down when, from the seven-yard line, Fiacchi rolled out and, buying himself some time, found Scott Cotter in the end zone. Brendan Carey’s extra point tied it, 7-7.
Following a VVS fumble, the Mustangs drove inside the VVS five-yard line as the second quarter got underway. On yet another important fourth-down play, the Red Devils got caught for holding in the end zone, making it first-and-goal. Alfreds scored one play later, giving Marcellus the lead for good.
And Alfreds was far from done. He took off on runs of 51 and 41 yards in the second quarter, giving him 134 yards on the ground for the half (he finished with 141 yards). Though the first of those runs led to a fumble, the second produced a TD when Fiacchi, from the 16, found Mike Quercia on a swing pass and Quercia cut up the middle and scored.
What happened just before halftime, though, caused even more damage.
VVS drove to the Mustangs’ 29-yard line, only to get stopped with 29 seconds to play. Up by 12, many teams would take a knee and gladly go into halftime.
Not Fiacchi, though. Seeing that Quercia had single coverage on the left side, he went back and threw deep. Quercia, using his world-class sprinter’s speed, caught the ball in mid-stride and was gone, a 71-yard TD dagger that made it 25-7 going into the break.
Steve Brissette’s fumble recovery in the third quarter got the Mustangs another scoring chance, and Fiacchi moved them 58 yards to the three-yard line, where Kevin Daily scored on fourth-and-goal, making it 32-7 with Carey’s PAT.
So effective was the Mustangs’ attack that, even when Fiacchi went to the sidelines after a hard hit late in the third quarter, Dan Rudy went under center and ran 18 yards on a keeper to set up Alfreds’ second TD, a five-yard run.
When he was out there, Fiacchi went 18-for-28 for 228 yards and three touchdowns without an interception. Quercia caught two of those TD passes and had, overall, four catches for 118 yards.
VVS would get some second-half glory, thanks to Colin Way. He ran one yard for a TD late in the third period, and got a 59-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter, though it did little to change the outcome.
Still, the Mustangs’ defense continued to show its vast improvement from ’07, as Cory Bice recorded three sacks, C.J. Nye got nine tackles and Zach Barbaro earned seven tackles, plus a fumble recovery.
Marcellus, as the lone 2-0 team in the Class B West division, begins league play Saturday night at 6:30 when it goes to Fulton to play the Phoenix Firebirds. Phoenix is 0-2 after opening losses to VVS and South Jefferson.
As for the Red Devils (1-1), it has to deal with those same Spartans of South Jefferson, whose 46-0 win over Phoenix makes them 2-0, the same mark as fellow Class B East teams Oneida and Chittenango.