Sep 23, 2008 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Maybe all the comparisons were wrong. Maybe it’s Tim Moran that should be compared to Jim Marks, not the other way around.
When the West Genesee football team’s 2008 season and state Class AA title defense began, the most overriding concern was whether Marks, a senior, could possibly duplicate what Moran did in his rise to legend in 2007.
The answer, to this point, has been quite emphatic.
In three games, Marks and his fellow Wildcats have accumulated 144 points, twice breaking the 50 mark — including last Friday night’s scintillating 51-34 conquest of Liverpool in front of more than 2,500 at Wildcat Stadium in Camillus.
Marks, as if to prove he could fare better than Moran, completed 15 of his 23 passing attempts for 176 yards, threw for four touchdowns and ran for another.
“The offense we have is getting better every year,” said Marks. “Now, it’s like a snowball effect, it just keeps rolling. It’s fun to look up at the board and see all those points.”
WG head coach Joe Corley said the key with Marks is that he has learned all the aspects of the game and handles them equally well.
“Jim is an all-around great quarterback,” said Corley. “He’s a hard worker, he’s calm in the pocket and can pick a secondary apart. He’s superb under pressure.”
The only pressure involved in this game was to see how many points WG would require against a determined opponent in Liverpool, also 2-0 and possessing an awesome ground game with junior Greg Bell at the helm. The Warriors also had all of its players suspended for the Sept. 5 brawl at Baldwinsville back in the lineup — but it would hardly matter.
Jake Fietkiewicz, arguably the game’s MVP, used a 29-yard punt return to set up the Wildcats’ first scoring drive, a short 31-yard jaunt capped off when Marks hit Joe Fazio from five yards out to give the Wildcats a 7-0 edge.
An effective Mike Donitzen kick return set up the Warriors for a tying TD, running Bell most of the time before quarterback Tyler Kamide ran 11 yards out of a bootleg to the end zone.
Late in that opening period, on third down from Liverpool’s 32, Marks rolled left, then threw a wobbling deep pass that somehow found its way to Fietkiewicz in the end zone, and WG led again, 14-7.
Kevin Petrick, back after missing a week due to injury, intercepted Kamide’s next pass at linebacker, then caught a 20-yard pass from Marks. Moments later, Marks, from Liverpool’s 11, ran out of the pocket, bowled over defenders and found the end zone.
And the Wildcats were far from done in the half. On yet another rollout pass, Marks hit Fietkiewicz from 10 yards out. After Kamide fumbled and Tom Flynn recovered deep in Warrior territory, Sirron Wright went five yards for the TD that made it 34-14.
So everyone was about to head to halftime quite happy on WG’s sideline when, on the last play of the half, Kamide threw a deep ball that fell into the hands of Corey Bundrage, who ran the rest of the way, a 65-yard TD play.
Though ahead 34-21 at the break, the shock of Brundage’s score made some Wildcats fans worry. But Corley said that, in the locker room, he told his players to have a short memory and just concentrate on the moment.
That didn’t prove difficult. WG’s defense improved in the third quarter, as Petrick made a second interception, and Marks took advantage of that turnover, moving his Wildcats to Liverpool’s eight-yard line late in the period.
Here, Marks sprung the game’s most clever play. On third down, Fazio drew two defenders to the middle, and Marks faked a throw there — before finding Fietkiewicz all alone, 10 yards from anyone, in the right side of the end zone for an easy touchdown.
Right to the end, the Warriors fought. Bell had 23 carries for 165 yard, including a highlight-reel TD in the fourth quarter where, from the Wildcats’ 30, he broke two tackles at the line of scrimmage, then dragged five others to the end zone.
Whatever Liverpool did, though, WG had an answer. Jeremy Jones matched Bell with 165 yards (on just 19 carries), and his solid running down the stretch helped set up two more scores as Fazio hit a 17-yard field goal and Wright got a second TD on a four-yard run.
WG now takes its 3-0 record to Utica Proctor Friday night, just as Liverpool (2-1) settles into its “home” at Solvay’s Earl Hadley Stadium to take on Christian Brothers Academy. The Brothers are 3-0 after early-season wins over Henninger, Baldwinsville and Fayetteville-Manlius.