Sep 11, 2009 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
If any doubts about the growth and maturity of the Vernon Verona Sherrill football team still exist, it’s because the 2009 season is just two weeks old.
But that’s proven to be enough time for the Red Devils to dazzle, never more so than in Friday night’s 40-23 victory at Marcellus against a Mustang team that won big at VVS a year ago and was thought to be one of the Section III Class B favorites this fall.
Despite the Mustangs’ recent success and the high reputation of senior quarterback Will Fiacchi, VVS felt very comfortable on the Marcellus turf, and for good reason.
After all, the Red Devils had been there just six days earlier, beating Skaneateles 45-29 in a game played at Marcellus because the Lakers’ new artificial turf field was not quite ready.
So even though it was a true road game, the Red Devils were not fazed. And even when the Mustangs took the opening kickoff and drove 68 yards to the end zone, Fiacchi going the last 15 yards to Dan Rudy for the touchdown, VVS shook it off in a hurry.
In fact, not even a minute later, it was 7-7, Colin Way responsible as the junior fullback found the left sideline on third-down-and-1 and went 45 yards for the tying TD.
Again, Fiacchi found Rudy for a TD pass, this one covering 48 yards. Again, the Red Devils struck back, Tyler Mautner going 17 yards to Aaron Owens early in the second quarter.
By far, the game’s biggest sequence came at the end of the first half, with VVS trailing 17-13 after Brendan Carey’s 28-yard field goal.
The Red Devils answered that field goal by going 77 yards, most of it on a 50-yard pass from Mautner to Anthony Rocco. That set up Way’s second TD, a one-yard plunge, and VVS led for the first time at 20-17 with 1:35 left in the half.
That was enough time for Marcellus to move quickly into VVS territory. But on third-down-and-long, the Mustangs tried a reverse pass play, with Rudy tossing it deep.
Reading it all the way, Jamie Cielinski picked it off inside his own 10, then, with lots of blocking help, returned the interception 57 yards to the Mustangs’ 43, still with time to do something.
Sure enough, three seconds before halftime, Mautner stood in the pocket, threw to the deep middle – and found Rocco, who completed a 35-yard touchdown. Instead of being tied or trailing, VVS now had a 26-17 edge, and Marcellus never recovered.
For much of the second half, VVS clamped down on the defensive side, forcing Fiacchi’s throws – and watching as, quite often, Mustang receivers dropped those passes.
Moments after Marcellus got caught with 12 players on the field for a punt, giving VVS a first down, Mautner made them pay, going to the deep middle and finding Tyler Curtis, who finished off a 57-yard touchdown play that, combined with Mautner’s two-point run, made it 34-17.
Mautner added a fourth-quarter TD on a one-yard run, and in the span of a single week, VVS eclipsed it entire win total from 2008.
In all, Mautner threw for 257 yards and three TD’s to overcome the fine early work of Fiacchi, who had 219 passing yards in the first half alone – most of it to Rudy, who had seven catches for 174 yards, but did little in the second half.
Best of all, the Red Devils get to play the next three games at home, starting next Saturday against Phoenix (game time 2 p.m.), and continuing with Chittenango and Solvay in the weeks to follow.