Camillus Staying Section III's lone undefeated Class AA entry was just one of the benefits that the West Genesee football team picked up from Friday night's 44-14 victory over Fayetteville-Manlius at a rain-soaked Wildcat Stadium.
Not only did the Wildcats move to 4-0 on the season by scoring 30 unanswered points, it gained sole possession of first place in the Class AA-2 division. And with a blazing star turn, senior Matt Naton clearly established himself as one of the top quarterbacks in Central New York.
"Tonight, we proved to ourselves that we can play with anyone," said Naton.
Overall, Naton threw for 405 yards on 14-of-19 completions, an average of nearly 30 yards per completion. He constantly burned a Hornets defense that, going into the game, concentrated on containing WG's star tailback, Naesean Howard.
Naton said that, because the linebackers crept toward the line of scrimmage, he was able to exploit mismatches with his receivers, something that impressed WG head coach Joe Corley.
"Matt is a cool-headed kid that makes plays," said Corley.
And it didn't take long for Naton to burn F-M. Just 2:29 into the game, facing third down at his own 42-yard line, Naton drifted to his left, finding time to throw, and waited until Christian Schmidt flashed open beyond the F-M secondary. Naton threw, found Schmidt, and the 58-yard scoring play had the Wildcats ahead 7-0.
Two other times in the early going, WG drove inside the Hornets' 10-yard line, only to settle for short field goals of 22 and 25 yards from Evan Stefano. This answered F-M's first march, which went 67 yards, mostly on the ground, and ended in Sean Bright's five-yard TD run.
Only once did Naton make a mistake, throwing into the flat early in the second quarter and watching F-M's Ryan Simmons intercept the pass and return it 67 yards to the Wildcats' three. Bright scored two plays later, and Jimmy Krizman's extra point put the Hornets ahead 14-13.