Oct 01, 2011 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Thanks to Friday night’s events, there’s a good chance the area will witness two Section III Class AA football home playoff contests a few weeks from now.
Fayetteville-Manlius used a big fourth-quarter offensive outburst to topple visiting Henninger 54-39 on the new High School turf field, while Christian Brothers Academy stayed atop the Class AA-1 division standings with a 49-14 win over Cicero-North Syracuse at Bragman Stadium.
Entering the evening, F-M and Henninger both were 2-1 in the AA-2 division, tied for second behind West Genesee. The Hornets, coming off a 44-14 mauling by the first-place Wildcats a week ago in Camillus, needed to bounce back against the Black Knights, or risk a tougher path through the post-season.
It proved wild in the first half. F-M bolted to a 14-0 lead as Ryan Greer scored on a 22-yard run and Wolfgang Shafer threw a 38-yard touchdown pass to Sawyer Dew. Henninger answered with back-to-back scoring runs from Shakim Clark (15 and three yards), closing the gap to 14-13 early in the second quarter.
F-M stretched the margin back to 27-13 as Andrew Fletcher found the end zone from seven yards out and Langston Lightcap returned an interception 47 yards for six points.
Despite all this, plus Sean Bright’s two-yard TD run, Henninger was within range, 34-19, by halftime, and proceeded to dominate the third quarter, putting F-M in serious peril.
Three times, the Black Knights had the ball in that third period. All three times, it found the end zone, Eric Dykes hitting Brandon Wilbur on a seven-yard scoring pass before Keisean Scott and Reggie Robinson scored on two-yard runs.
So as the final period began, the Hornets trailed, 39-34. But one big pass play changed the momentum again, as Shafer, from Henninger’s 44, threw deep and found Austin Perez, who fought off two defenders and went in for the go-ahead TD, putting F-M ahead for good, 40-34.
A much-maligned F-M defense proceeded to shut down Henninger’s latest comeback attempts, setting up short fields that the Hornets used to convert into back-to-back clinching TDs, Bright scoring both times on runs of two and five yards. Bright finished with 109 yards on the grounds, just behind Greer (115 yards) as Fletcher added 74 yards on the ground.
Just as F-M needed some late heroics, CBA was in alert mode from the moment Cicero-North Syracuse’s Andrew Johnson returned the game’s opening kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown.
Fuming about that, the Brothers responded with back-to-back scoring drives to take a 14-6 lead by the second quarter. Mike Vavonese finished off one march with a 10-yard TD run, while Joey Pascaraella found the end zone from six yards out.
After Pascarella scored, though, CBA’s special teams broke down again, allowing Johnson to zoom 75 yards for a second TD return. When Corey Scanlon ran in for two points, it was a 14-14 tie.
But those were the Northstars’ last points of the night. The Brothers’ defense shut down anything CNS tried, especially when it got into catch-up mode in the second half.
Meanwhile, Vavonese, who finished with 90 yards on 18 carries, put CBA in front for keeps with an 18-yard TD run, and Deshawn Salter converted on a five-yard run, extending the margin to 28-14 by halftime.
Perhaps the best part for CBA’s offense on this night was seeing quarterback Cam MacPherson find a real rhythm. MacPherson enjoyed his finest performance of the season, completing 17 of 24 passes for 277 yards, mostly throwing to Evan Adamo, who had 11 catches for 176 yards.
MacPherson’s 36-yard scoring pass to Adamo early in the third quarter stretched the Brothers’ lead to 35-14, and he found Matt Malvasi on a six-yard TD connection early in the fourth quarter, after Pascarella had scored for the second time on a five-yard run.
Both CBA and F-M go on the road next week. The Hornets visit Auburn (1-4) on Thursday, 24 hours before the Brothers take on Central Square, a vastly-improved squad who is 3-2 and coming off a 40-21 win over Nottingham that may have sealed a playoff berth for the Red Hawks.