Sep 03, 2011 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Right away, the local high school football teams in the Class B West division found themselves in tight, low-scoring affairs on the opening Friday night of the season.
Westhill went up against rival Solvay at Earl Hadley Stadium and had, by its own standards, a subpar effort. But it was still enough to win 14-7 and spoil the debut of new Bearcats head coach Matt Shutts.
Not far away, the Marcellus Mustangs had a golden chance to knock off Homer, one of the league favorites, but slipped in a narrow 7-6 defeat to the Trojans.
Before the opener, Shutts promised lots of variety in the playbook as he counted on a young (just six seniors) lineup to make it happen.
What the Bearcats got, instead, was turnovers on each of its first two possessions, the second a fumble deep in its own territory that Mark Vadala returned seven yards for a touchdown, putting Westhill ahead 7-0.
The Warriors had its own large share of issues, breaking in a new set of skill players around an experienced offensive line.
That led to early mistakes, and Solvay capitalized on the last of them by moving to the Warriors’ 13-yard line, from where Nick Cometti found John Savor for the tying TD, Savo adding the extra point.
Settling down a bit, Westhill would regain the lead in the second quarter on Jacob Redmond’s three-yard run.
And so the stalemate began. Solvay did a tremendous job on the defensive side, maintaining energy there. However, its offense got shut down, Westhill making up for all the other problems with fierce resistance that, for this night, allowed for an escape.
Marcellus beat Homer in 2010 on its way to a share of the B west title. Homer looked for a bit of payback and, in a hard-fought battle, got it.
Neither side could break through until the second quarter. Here, Homer moved to the Mustangs’ four-yard line, from where Tom Austin hit Dylan Sprouse and, more importantly, made the extra point.
Still down 7-0 in the third quarter, the Mustangs finally solved Homer’s defense, reaching the goal line before quarterback Kyle Hastings scored on a one-yard sneak.
However, the extra point was missed. And though the Mustangs’ defense would keep Homer off the board the rest of the way, it never could notch those go-ahead points.
Mostly, the Mustangs beat itself, turning the ball over six times. Even a possible go-ahead TD by Hastings got called back due to a penalty.
Marcellus now heads to Chittenango next Friday, as the Bears beat Phoenix 27-6 in its opener. Westhill goes to Homer to take its own shot at the Trojans, while Solvay visits Mexico.