Sep 17, 2010 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Thousands turned out at Liverpool High School Friday night to witness an event nearly three years in the making as the football Warriors had its long-awaited home opener against Baldwinsville.
Amid the pageantry and noise, the Warriors got off to a near-perfect start – but could not sustain it as the Bees, no. 3 in the state Class AA rankings, prevailed by a score of 47-20.
Fans lined up more than an hour before kickoff, then quickly filled the new bleachers as both teams warmed up. Around 6:30, the festivities got underway with a parade featuring most of Liverpool’s fall sports teams.
Then school superintendent Dr. Richard Johns spoke to the crowd, saying that this new facility will benefit students now and in the future.
“It’s a happy night for Liverpool and a happy night for our kids,” Johns said.
State Senator John DeFrancisco also made brief remarks, as did Assemblyman Al Stirpe, and DeFrancisco participated in the pre-game coin toss as fans continued to stream in on a cool, clear fall evening.
Then, just a few minutes after 7 p.m., Vincent Gordon kicked the ball off, and for a few fleeting minutes everything went right for the Warriors.
First, Liverpool’s defense made a fourth-down stop near midfield. Then tailback Tyland Thompson broke loose on a 43-yard run inside the Bees’ 10-yard line, setting up Elijah Johnson for a five-yard touchdown run.
Leading 7-0 after Connor Rogers’ extra point, the Warriors continued to surge when, on B’ville’s next play from scrimmage, Ben Paprocki fumbled and Rogers recovered.
On the very next play, Thompson broke loose on the right side, going into the end zone on a 21-yard run, the Warriors’ second TD in 17 seconds, and the noise level from Liverpool partisans only grew.
But that would be the high point. From that moment forward, B’ville asserted its will, mainly thanks to a mammoth offensive line that controlled the line of scrimmage – and to the spectacular effort of sophomore tailback Tyler Rouse.
Rouse ran for 319 yards on 29 carries, beginning his domination by accounting for most of the yards on a 62-yard march that followed Thompson’s TD. Paprocki went the final four yards for the score.
Bad snaps haunted the Warriors in the second quarter, a byproduct of not having injured center Dan Corlett (he got hurt in practice the day before) handling the ball.
B’ville closed within 14-13 on a perfect play-action fake that resulted in Casey Colligan finding a wide-open Carter Twombly on a 58-yard TD pass. Then, just a minute before halftime, the game’s biggest blow was struck.
Pinned at its own 12-yard line, Colligan took a shotgun snap, gave it to Rouse – and watched Rouse take off 86 yards, all the way to the Warriors’ goal line. Antonio Peck’s TD plunge one play later meant that Liverpool went to halftime down 19-14.
A rousing performance by Liverpool’s marching band delighted the big crowd, but once play resumed in the third quarter, Rouse and the Bees really took over, helped in no small part by Liverpool giving up turnovers on three straight possessions.
“We’re young, and we made a lot of stupid mistakes,” Liverpool head coach Dave Mancuso said.
B’ville rattled off 28 unanswered points, Rouse finding the end zone of 26 and 55 yards and setting up two other scores through more big gains. The Warriors would get a late score when Luigi Barletta threw a 34-yard touchdown pass to Ethan VanMarter.
Liverpool will get another chance to win on its new home turf next Friday when it hosts Central Square for a 7 p.m. kickoff.