West Genesee running back Naesean Howard (5) shakes off a Utica Proctor defender in last Friday’s game. Howard ran 27 times for 224 yards and three touchdowns as the undefeated Wildcats moved to 6-0, beating the Raiders 53-27.
Camillus With constant trips to the end zone from both sides and countless shifts in momentum, the West Genesee football team found itself in a very familiar predicament throughout the first half of Friday night's game against Utica Proctor at Wildcat Stadium.
But the Wildcats soon tired of the drama and used a complete team effort in the second half to beat the Raiders 53-27, moving to 6-0 and clinching the Class AA-2 division regular-season championship.
This came, of course, a week after WG's incredible 39-38, last-second victory over Baldwinsville where, among other things, backup quarterback Dan Ginestro led two late scoring drives after replacing the injured Matt Naton and, on the last march, the Wildcats inadvertently got a fifth down.
Naton was back for this game, but he had to wait to assume the stage as a wild first quarter took shape against a Proctor side that entered the game with a 3-2 record.
Nate Flask, who scored the last touchdown in the B'ville epic, struck on defense early in the first quarter by returning a Raiders fumble 20 yards for a touchdown. Yet on the ensuing kickoff, Proctor's Lawrence Elliott tore through WG's coverage, 80 yards to the end zone, and the extra point tied it 7-7.
In response, the Wildcats put together a more conventional scoring drive, Naesean Howard going the final six yards for the TD, his 12th of the season. And that 14-7 lead only lasted a few seconds because the Raiders' Maurice Peace took WG's next kickoff and, incredibly, sped 90 yards through the leaky coverage for another return touchdown.
So as the first quarter wound down, WG had not allowed anything on defense and had even scored on that end of the ball to help its cause, yet were tied 14-14. Soon enough, though, Naton would start to restore order.