All alone in the gridiron spotlight on Thursday night, the Fayetteville-Manlius football team could not get into the win column.
In what's becoming a theme too familiar to the fans in green, the Hornets ran into another elite running back in Auburn's Ismail Brooks, and it led to a 48-28 loss to the Maroons last Thursday night at Holland Stadium.
F-M was playing on Thursday because of the Rosh Hashanah holiday, which fell at sundown on Friday night. This made it three games played in a span of just 12 days.
And in each of those cases, the Hornets had a highly-touted tailback to worry about. First, it was Liverpool's Greg Bell, then Baldwinsville's Malik Burks before F-M got to deal with Brooks.
A week after getting seven touchdowns against Central Square, Brooks got seven more scores in this game, each of them on long plays. He rushed for 294 yards on just 19 carries, and as if that wasn't enough, Brooks caught two long passes that added up to 143 yards, both of them leading to the end zone.
Naturally, Brooks began the scoring parade, getting a 69-yard touchdown early in the first quarter.
By the time the period was done, Brooks had run 38 yards for a second TD, then caught a 62-yard scoring pass from quarterback Dave Jacobs.
Not that the Hornets were completely quiet, either. On a well-designed play, flanker Mike O'Neill threw downfield and found Mike Lee for a 45-yard TD pass, so F-M was within sight, 18-7, going to the second quarter.
They exchanged scores -- F-M pulling within 18-13 on Kyle Greer's 29-yard TD run, Auburn answering with Brooks, again, as he pushed the Maroons out of bad field position with an 81-yard sprint to the other end zone.
The big-play ability of Brooks broke the game open in the third quarter, as he hooked up with Jacobs again on an 83-yard TD pass, then broke free again on Auburn's next possession for a 60-yard TD run.
Never giving up, F-M saw O'Neil score twice in the second half -- once on a seven-yard run, then again on a 79-yard kickoff return after Brooks' seventh TD, a 30-yard run. F-M hosts Corcoran this Friday at 7 p.m.