Football Hornets top Liverpool in AA playoffs

Second verse, same as the first.

That was the theme Friday night as the undefeated, state Class AA no. 14-ranked Fayetteville-Manlius football team powered past visiting Liverpool 31-7 in the opening round of the Section III Class AA playoffs.

If that score sounds familiar, well, it is. The Hornets beat the Warriors by that exact same 31-7 margin on that same field seven days earlier. Of course, the stakes in the rematch were much higher - advancement in the playoffs - and at least it wasn't raining to go with the requisite late-October wind and cold temperatures.

Liverpool, with just a 3-4 record entering the playoffs, was hoping that all the knowledge it gained from that Oct. 15 trip to F-M (plus the return of some key players from injuries) would translate into success a week later, and that perhaps post-season nerves would hit F-M and make things interesting.

But if F-M had any doubts, they were gone by the time fullback Matt Moro, taking a pass from John Wittig at the Warriors' 25-yard line, rumbled into the end zone in the first quarter, putting the Hornets ahead to stay.

Minutes later, F-M was on its own 34- but not for long. Again, Wittig found Moro on a short pass. Again, Moro used his speed and power, aided by great blocking from his teammates, to go all the way home for the touchdown, a 66-yard play that, with Ari Waffle's extra point, made it 14-0 going into the second quarter.

Moro would later leave the game due to injury - and Liverpool enjoyed a brief revival in the second quarter. Luigi Barletta moved his team to F-M's 17-yard line, then hit Zavon Watkins in the end zone to cut the Hornets' lead to 14-7.

F-M would not allow anything more, though, its fierce and physical defense turning back every Warrior advance for the rest of the evening. That gave the Hornets plenty of time to put the game away.

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