With first place up for grabs in the Class AA-1 division, the Baldwinsville football team was able to surge past Rome Free Academy 34-14 Friday night at Pelcher-Arcaro Stadium with something different - an impressive passing attack.
Casey Colligan, often forgotten in the shadow of the Bees' vaunted ground attack, threw for 152 yards on eight-for-13 completions and three touchdowns, two of them late in the first half as the game violently swung in B'ville's favor.
By winning this game, the Bees, no. 3 in the latest state Class AA rankings, moved to 5-0 and stayed tied with CBA atop the Class AA-1 division, a week before they clash to end the regular season.
The scoring started early as B'ville took the opening kickoff and drove down the field, blending many runs and passes. The drive was capped with Colligan's first TD pass, 14 yards to Jim Lang on a rollout to the right.
RFA turned in an equally impressive drive on its first possession as the Black Knights marched down the field and also went to the air for their first TD, a 17-yard pass from Kyle Hash to Zack Barrigar.
B'ville was forced to punt on its next possession, and late in the second quarter it looked like RFA would take the lead as they drove all the way down to the Bees' one-yard line. With Bville's size on the defensive line (provided by Jake Margrey, Nick Robinson and Nate Stoughtenger, among others), the Black Knights could not punch it in, as they were stuffed from the one on four consecutive plays.
Taking over, the Bees put together a terrific drive as, in 15 plays, it marched 99 yards down the field, ending with a 16-yard scoring pass from Colligan to Augie Zona.
With under a minute left, B'ville forced a punt. Instead of running out the clock at its own 21, the Bees' Parker Kiff picked up 20 yards. Then Colligan threw deep on the last pla of the half - and found Tyler Rouse, who completed a 59-yard touchdown play, and suddenly it was 20-7 at the half.