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.