Sep 19, 2009 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Normally, the biggest high school football games of the autumn in Central New York take place in the Carrier Dome in November.
But they might challenge that notion this Friday night at Pelcher-Arcaro Stadium when two 3-0 powers, Liverpool and Baldwinsville, resume their heated neighborhood rivalry.
The Warriors did its part to set up the duel by outscoring Rome Free Academy 44-28 Friday night at the Carrier Dome, again displaying a balanced, potent and diverse offense that no one has yet contained this fall.
As this was going on, B’ville went to the newly-installed turf at Alibrandi Stadium and beat CBA 30-28, assuring that the next game, already a big one on both sides, would carry maximum impact in terms of shaping the eventual Class AA-1 division race.
All this was in the future when Liverpool made its second Dome trip of the fall to face RFA, who had bounced back from a season-opening loss to Utica Proctor by winning at Corcoran to gain some momentum going into league play.
With the Black Knights intent on stopping Greg Bell, Liverpool’s other running back flourished. Just 2:40 into the game, Mike Donitzen broke loose on a 33-yard touchdown run, and he scored again on a one-yard TD pass from Cam Jones seven minutes later.
Up 14-0, Liverpool could not get away, as RFA nearly erased the entire margin in the second quarter. Black Knights quarterback Dante Mezza ran one yard for a TD and threw a 26-yard scoring pass to Josh Royce. Anthony DeJean added a two-point conversion.
Only Wright’s 27-yard field goal kept the Warriors in front, as it went to halftime clinging to a 17-14 lead. Then, as it did against West Genesee a week earlier, Liverpool’s running game took charge.
The Warriors lit up the board in the third quarter, as Bell got his eighth and ninth touchdowns of the season of six and 24 yards, on his way to another solid showing of 157 yards on 27 carries.
And Donitzen wasn’t done, either, breaking loose for a 55-yard TD run late in the period to restore Liverpool’s lead to 37-21 after Mezza’s 21-yard TD pass to DeJean made it interesting.
Not only did Donitzen have 152 yards on just eight carries, he anchored a Warrior defense that forced three RFA turnovers in the second half.
Jones also exploited these mistakes, completing nine of 16 passes for 161 yards. Three of those passes went to tight end Jesse Gates, including a 33-yard TD pass in the fourth quarter that iced it.
All this leads to Baldwinsville, where Liverpool (no. 18 in the first state Class AA rankings of the season) won twice in 2008 – first in a season opener marred by a third-quarter sideline brawl, then again in the first round of the Class AA playoffs, both of them by convincing margins.
Now, as then, the Bees are fueled by tailback Malik Burks, who in three games this season has rushed for 742 yards and scored 11 touchdowns. But as seen in the win over CBA, quarterback Niko Manning can be dangerous, too, whether running or throwing the ball.
It all adds up to what promises to be a massive crowd at B’ville on Friday, waiting to see if the Warriors or Bees emerge as the Class AA favorite, both on a league and sectional basis.