Sep 23, 2008 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
At least in theory, one single player, even one as vital to the team as a quarterback in football, should not have a profound difference on how an entire group of 11 guys perform.
Do not tell that to the Westhill Warriors, though. They have now seen, first-hand, just how different things can be when that single, vital player comes back to the field.
Through the first two weeks of the 2008 season, senior quarterback Mike DeCarr stood on the sidelines, recovering from a left (non-throwing) shoulder injury.
Without him, Westhill got outscored 85-24 by Bishop Kearney and Oneida, looking nowhere near the powerhouse it had been reaching four of the last five Section III Class B finals.
But DeCarr was ready to go last Friday night when the Warriors met Homer in the Class B West division opener — and his mere presence seemed to lift the spirits of every single Westhill partisan, whether on the sidelines or in the stands.
Oh yeah, it also lifted the offensive performance, too, as DeCarr threw for four touchdowns, all to Dan Ross, and pushed the Warriors to a 51-13 rout of the Trojans.
Overall, DeCarr completed 15 of his 21 passes for 174 yards, a superb debut against a Homer team that, at 0-2, had proved quite competitive in narrow losses to Cortland and Chittenango to open the season.
But the combination of DeCarr’s presence and the fierce determination the rest of the Warriors had (especially on defense) after the rough ride of the first two weeks proved far too powerful for anyone, especially Homer, to overcome.
It was 12-0 before the first quarter was done. Twice, the Warriors drove into Homer’s red zone. Twice, DeCarr finished it off with TD passes to Ross of 16 and four yards, the junior receiver all too glad to be back in his normal role after assuming the QB duties in DeCarr’s absence.
A third DeCarr-to-Ross touchdown connection, of 14 yards, made it 19-0, and before halftime the Warriors converted again, this time Sam Penizotto scoring on a two-yard run.
So it was 26-0 going to the break, but the Warriors weren’t satisfied. Nate Nigolian stepped in front of a Homer pass and returned the interception 40 yards for another TD, while DeCarr and Ross connected one more time on a 12-yard scoring pass that made it 38-0.
Only now did Homer get on the board, and it took Kyle Griffin’s 18-yard fumble return to make that happen. But the Warriors were content to run the ball the rest of the way, and got bonuses when Penizotto broke loose for a 50-yard TD run late in the third quarter and Nigolian scored from 31 yards out in the late stages.
With the blocking of Tom Fisher, Ben Johnson, David Grace, Josh Davoli, Mike Felosi and Clint Badman on the front line, Westhill controlled the line of scrimmage all night and overwhelmed Homer’s defenders, whether they were protecting DeCarr or creating holes for Penizotto and his mates to run through.
Westhill is 1-2, but 1-0 in league play, and that makes Friday’s trip to Marcellus a huge one as the two B West rivals collide at 7 p.m.
The Mustangs, led by stud junior quarterback Will Fiacchi, are off to a 3-0 start and have put up 117 points in beating Holland Patent, Vernon-Verona-Sherrill and Phoenix. And every Marcellus player remembers two defeats to Westhill a year ago, including the Class B semifinals, so there won’t be a lack of motivation.