Oct 11, 2010 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
At the same time, and with the same intentions, the Marcellus and Westhill football teams looked to keep up with Homer in the intense three-way race for the Class B West regular-season championship.
And both would win big, as the Mustangs took out Solvay 48-7 at Earl Hadley Stadium to maintain possession of the Tom Anthony Bowl and the Warriors shut out Phoenix 32-0, the winners each improving to 5-1 on the season.
Not so long ago, Solvay owned the annual clashes with Marcellus as well as the Bowl, named in honor of Tom Anthony, a well-regarded coach who had distinguished tenures at each of the participating schools.
For a fleeting moment, the Bearcats looked like it wanted to reclaim that trophy on its Senior Night as, on the game’s second play, John Savo took off down the left sideline and went 68 yards for a touchdown.
But that would be Solvay’s lone highlight of the evening. Everything from that point forward belonged to the visitors in green and white as it put together, arguably, its best all-around effort of the season.
The onslaught began in the second quarter, when Ricky Alfreds broke loose for a 15-yard TD run and Chris Charles tied it, 7-7, with the extra point. A few minutes later, the Mustangs drove to Solvay’s five-yard line, from where Kyle Hastings found Steve Raven in the end zone for the go-ahead score.
A big blow came just before halftime. Again, the Mustangs’ defense had created a stop deep in Solvay territory and forced a punt. Chaz Hayes received the kick – and brought it back 39 yards for the third TD of the quarter.
Leading 20-7 at halftime, Marcellus had no intention of letting up, as it may have done with similar leads against Skaneateles and South Jefferson the previous two weeks.
In his regular turn under center, Duncan Merritt had a 16-yard TD pass to Hayes in the third quarter, the only points in that period.
Then Brad Kermes offered the final touches. Three times in the fourth quarter, Marcellus had the ball deep in Solvay territory – and three times, Kermes scored, on runs of two, 23 and 10 yards. Overall, Kermes had 103 yards on 10 carries as Alfreds finished with 71 yards on 12 carries.
All through this, the Mustangs’ defense stood out, especially its front line as, over and over again, the Bearcats could not convert fourth downs that may have put some life into the contest.
R.J. Lester led with 10 tackles, while C.J. Nye had eight tackles. Raven, Zach Wiley and Nick Huss each had interceptions. Joe Felicia, Mike Tross and John Cavaretta recorded two sacks apiece, part of a unit that had nine sacks overall.
Hastings and Merritt combined for 187 passing yards on nine of 12 attempts, often getting it to Hayes, who had five catches for 117 yards.
So Marcellus left “The Pit” with the Silver Cup. A few miles up the road at Westhill, no trophy was at stake against Phoenix – just the Warriors’ honor, wounded as it was by the previous week’s 20-14 defeat to Homer.
As at Solvay, this was Senior Night, and there was no way Westhill was going to disappoint again, even as the two sides battled through a scoreless first quarter.
R.J. Chester would spark the getaway. Best known for his kicking prowess, Chester has turned into a first-rate running back, as he showed by getting loose for TD runs of 11 and 57 yards in the second period to put Westhill ahead for good.
Overall, Chester had 153 yards on 16 carries, a strong number augmented by the respect Phoenix had to show for Mark McAnaney, Nathan Nigolian and the rest of the Warriors’ passing attack.
Early in the third quarter, with the Firebirds crowding the line of scrimmage, McAnaney, from his own 20-yard line, threw deep – and found Nigolian, the TD covering 80 back-breaking yards.
That sparked a late charge where, before the quarter ended, Matt Trendowski scored on a nine-yarde run. McAnaney and Nigolian connected again on a 9-yard TD pass in the fourth quarter.
To clinch a share of the league title (and perhaps the top playoff seed), Westhill will have to win Friday at Skaneateles (3-3), who will finish fourth in B West under first-year coach Tim Green. Marcellus goes to Hannibal on Saturday afternoon to end its regular season.