Sep 30, 2008 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
It’s getting to be a habit for the Christian Brothers Academy football team — get a serious challenge from a quality opponent, then make all the plays necessary to prevail.
For the third week in a row, the Brothers saw an outcome in doubt, only to finish in front, in this case outlasting Liverpool 27-20 last Friday in a game played at Solvay’s Earl Hadley Stadium, one of the Warriors’ temporary home fields.
With the win, CBA improved to 4-0, and 2-0 in the Class AA-1 division, setting up back-to-back showdowns with the other 4-0 teams in the league, Cicero-North Syracuse and West Genesee, over the next two weeks.
Meanwhile, Liverpool dropped to 1-3, 0-2 in league play. The Warriors’ forfeit of its Sept. 5 win over Baldwinsville, caused by the use of an ineligible player, was made official last week, adding to the pressure Liverpool felt as it took on the Brothers.
More than anything else, this game turned on the ability to run the ball. CBA had it, while Liverpool did not.
Fajri Jackson had the best game of his varsity career. Following the blocks of CBA linemen like Andy Phillips and Ted Barrett, Jackson had 222 yards on 19 carries, getting two touchdowns, including the go-ahead score on a 34-yard run with just 1:53 left in regulation.
By stark contrast, Liverpool junior Greg Bell, who had accumulated 529 yards in his first three games, got 58 yards on this night. Phillips, Garrett Barnard, Bryant Moore and the rest of the Brothers’ defense concentrated on making sure Bell didn’t use his 5-10, 210-pound frame to pound away at them.
Jackson provided the only points of a hard-fought first quarter. Taking a handoff at his own 37-yard line, Jackson found a seam and never got caught, racing 63 yards for a touchdown to give CBA a 7-0 edge.
That margin doubled to 14-0 in the second quarter when quarterback Tyler Hamblin led a long march to the Warriors’ four-yard line, from where Tom Trasolini carried it home.
Needing to do something, Liverpool finally punctured CBA’s defense with a drive of its own before halftime. Bell finished it off with a three-yard run, and it was 14-7 going into the break.
So it remained through a scoreless third quarter, which gave absolutely no hint of the wild excitement that the final period would bring.
Liverpool initiated it with a bit of trickery at the Brothers’ 40-yard line. Bell took a handoff, rolled out, then threw a halfback option pass deep downfield to the end zone, catching CBA by surprise. Justin Albro caught that pass for a touchdown, and despite a missed extra point, the Warriors were down by just one, 14-13.
CBA took it right back down the field, leading to Trasolini’s second TD, a three-yard run. A missed PAT kept it at 20-13, and when Liverpool answered with its own march and Bell (a one-yard run) finished it off, Jimmy Wright’s extra point made it 20-20.
As it had done all night, the once pass-happy Brothers turned to Jackson. He accounted for most of the yardage on CBA’s go-ahead drive, including the last 34 yards on that sprint to the end zone.
And still, it wasn’t over. Liverpool used that last 1:54 to march deep into CBA territory. With 27 seconds left on fourth down, Tyler Kamide threw for the end zone, but tight end Jesse Gates could not get to it.
So the Brothers are still unbeaten as it comes home to Alibrandi Stadium for Friday’s big battle with CNS, which starts at 7 p.m. Through four games, all wins, the Northstars have outscored opponents 142-33, its solid offense backed by a fast, ferocious defense.
However, this will be CNS’s first game on a grass field all season, as it comes off three straight home games on Bragman Stadium’s Astroturf and an opening win at Central Square, which also has an artificial surface.
Ironically, Liverpool goes to Central Square (its other “home field” for a Friday game against Utica Proctor at 7:30. With the Raiders 0-4 and the Warriors 1-3 (and both 0-2 in league play), both will be desperate for a win to advance their respective post-season chances.