Oct 15, 2011 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
From the moment things kicked off Friday night, it was clear that the Liverpool football team was not interested in having any drama or uncertainty about its Section III Class AA playoff fate.
The Warriors simply tore up Nottingham at LHS Stadium, prevailing 54-6 over the Bulldogs to assure that it will make a return trip to the post-season – and against the same side, Fayetteville-Manlius, that knocked Liverpool out of the playoffs a year ago.
Even with its hard-fought 27-21 win over Cicero-North Syracuse in the ‘Star Wars Cup’ game on Oct. 7, the Warriors had to beat a much-improved Nottingham squad to avoid a possible three-way tie with Central Square where only two of the teams would advance.
For the most part, Liverpool would stick with its ground game, making sure that the rain and wind did not become a serious factor. And it worked, as the Warriors got four different players to find the end zone in the first half.
Tyland Thompson got it started with a seven-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. Later in the period, Patrick Johnson found the end zone from five yards out, making it 12-0.
Jeff Edwards, Liverpool’s leading rusher in 2010, took off on a 23-yard TD run early in the second quarter. After Nottingham notched its only points on a 44-yard scoring pass from DayQuan Wilson to Tyquon Hightower, Jordan Stenson answered, finding the end zone both on an 11-yard run and a two-point pass from Zavon Watkins.
Even with a 26-6 halftime lead, Liverpool did not feel completely safe, but that changed after a third quarter where it notched 21 unanswered points.
Watkins found Thompson on a 14-yard scoring pass, and Johnson returned for his second TD on a 20-yard run. And Liverpool’s defense capped off the surge when Dillon Springer pounced on a Bulldogs fumble and returned it for six points.
Johnson led the Warriors with 99 yards on 16 carries. Thompson added 87 yards on 12 attempts, while Edwards needed just five carries to amass 74 yards. Stenson, already a defensive standout for the Warriors, added 86 yards on only four carries.
Once Stenson closed out the scoring in the fourth quarter with a 48-yard TD run, attention could shift toward the trip to F-M, with every Warrior remembering that the Hornets throttled them 42-14 in the opening round of the 2010 playoffs. Of course, that was on F-M’s old grass field, as the Hornets now play on the same artificial turf the Warriors use.
F-M is 5-2 this season, mostly there because of a high-octane offense that features backs Sean Bright and Andrew Fletcher, plus quarterback Wolfgang Shafer throwing to the likes of Austin Perez and Sawyer Dew. Liverpool has to contain them if it wants to advance to a sectional semifinal against CBA or Corcoran.
As Liverpool was roaring past Nottingham, Cicero-North Syracuse was watching its rough regular season come to an end with a 40-6 defeat to Baldwinsville.
The Northstars’ defense could do little to contain Tyler Rouse, the Bees’ star junior tailback, as he had 302 yards on 27 carries and scored three touchdowns, including both of B’ville’s TD’s in the first half.
Down 12-0 at halftime, CNS did get on the board in the third quarter as Corey Scanlon hit Xavier Brown on a 15-yard TD pass. But the Bees got back-to-back scores from Ben Paprocki, and pulled further away in the final period.