Sep 22, 2012 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Bishop Ludden’s football team has three consecutive victories, but none were more important than Friday night’s 28-20 victory over Tully, mainly delivered by Cory Wilkinson, whose two big plays in the third quarter turned the game in his side’s favor.
As this went on, Westhill improved to 2-2 on the season, outlasting neighbor and rival Solvay 26-13, while Jordan-Elbridge, despite Colby Trexler’s big effort, still took a 33-26 defeat to Phoenix.
Ludden was facing a Tully side that sported a 3-0 mark and no. 18 state Class C ranking. And the Black Knights quickly fired up its home fans when Syrrus Nash took the opening kickoff at his own 25-yard line and sprinted down the sideline, through the Gaelic Knights’ coverage and 75 yards to the other end zone.
Angered by that quick score, Ludden buckled down on the defensive side, blanking the Black Knights the rest of the half. Later in the period, given new life by drawing Tully offsides on fourth down, Zach Harding then threw a 10-yard scoring pass to Malik Stenson, and Travis Cote’s extra point tied it 7-7.
Again Ludden went to the air in the second quarter. From midfield, Harding went deep and found Antoine Montgomery, who dashed the rest of the way for a 51-yard TD reception that put the Gaelic Knights in front 14-7, where it stayed at halftime.
Tully appeared to regain its footing when Mike Spann scored on a 31-yard run early in the third quarter, the conversion tying it again at 14-14. But here was where Wilkinson took over.
On the ensuing kickoff, the 6-foot-2, 210-pound back received it at his own 25, got moving and, with good blocks, steamrolled 75 yards to the go-ahead score.
Back in front 21-14, Ludden saw the Black Knights pull within one on Spann’s six-yard TD sprint late in the period. Just as before, Wilkinson provided the answer, getting a long kick return, and then breaking loose for a 48-yard scoring run that, with Cote’s PAT, moved the margin to eight.
All through the fourth quarter, Tully tried to catch up one more time. It came down to the final minute, and Black Knights quarterback Nate Doody had a throw to the end zone, but Montgomery made the interception and preserved Ludden’s win.
Westhill’s annual clash with Solvay went back and forth in the first quarter. The Warriors moved in front on Reed Derrenbacher’s 10-yard scoring pass to Dan Gratien, but the Bearcats’ Nick Cometti returned the ensuing kickoff 85 yards for six points and added the PAT.
So the two sides were even, 7-7, and stayed that way the rest of the half. Solvay, working hard to get its first victory since 2010, got on the board in the third quarter when Cometti scored for a second time, on a nine-yard run.
Yet the Warriors would move out in front for good in that period. Gratien led the way, catching six passes for 142 yards and also running for 67 yards on just nine attempts.
After Christian St. Amour scored on a 10-yard run, Gratien ran in from 13 yards out late in the third quarter. And Gratien would clinch the win when, in the fourth quarter, he caught a 21-yard TD pass from Derrenbacher, who for the night completed 13 of 23 passes for 234 yards.
This sets up, for the Warriors, a chance to move to the top of the Class B West division if it can knock off the defending champions, Chittenango, this Friday at 6:30. The Bears are no. 3 in the state and 4-0, and just delivered a 42-0 shutout of previously unbeaten Homer.
Jordan-Elbridge, like Westhill, was after its second win of the season, playing a Phoenix side that, 11 months ago, went through unimaginable tragedy when lineman Ridge Barden suffered a head injury in a game at Homer and passed away later that night.
But the Firebirds had pulled together and were coming off a 28-7 victory over Thousand Islands. J-E would meet the challenge, and the game turned into a fierce duel between two running backs – Drexler for the Eagles, Avery Chisolm for Phoenix.
It was Chisolm hitting first, going 65 yards for a TD in the first quarter and adding the extra point, too. Though the Eagles got on the board with Brad McMahon’s six-yard scoring run, a missed conversion left the Firebirds in front 7-6.
Trexler had his breakthrough in the second quarter, taking off on a 64-yard dash to the end zone after Phoenix had gone up 14-6 on Austin Furco’s short TD run. Again, though, the Firebirds made its conversion and J-E did not, so it was 14-12 going into halftime.
Early in the third period, Trexler again broke free, this time going 41 yards for a second TD that, with a two-point conversion, briefly put the Eagles ahead 20-14. Phoenix struck back once more, Brock Maruscak twice finding the end zone on runs of 16 and four yards that made it 27-20.
On his way to a night where he carried the ball 23 times and gained 252 yards, Trexler had one more big moment in the fourth quarter, scoring from 11 yards out.
J-E’s conversion attempt missed, though, and when Chisolm struck for a 23-yard scoring run in the late stages, he capped off a night that included 240 yards on 21 carries. The difference was that he got a bit more help, as Maruscak added 80 yards on 13 carries and Phoenix forced J-E into three interceptions on the defensive side.
For the Eagles, Sean Ryan was a defensive force, taking part in 22 tackles, 10 of them solo efforts. Nolan Michels added eight tackles as Adam VanWart picked up 10 carries for 65 yards.