Oct 06, 2012 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
The large crowd exiting Friday night’s football showdown between Baldwinsville and Liverpool were treated to the sight of the annual bonfire, associated with Liverpol’s Homecoming festivities.
Yet nothing was as hot, or impossible to contain, as Tyler Rouse, whose spectacular runs pushed the Bees past the Warriors 54-29 and into a share of the Class AA-1 division lead.
B’ville’s senior tailback carried the ball 39 times for 382 yards and scored seven touchdowns, and it was Rouse’s three long runs in the second half that decisively turned the game in the Bees’ favor.
“It was one of his best performances,” Bees head coach Carl Sanfilippo said. “And this was a program game, a signature game for us.”
Rouse, for his part, refused to take all the credit. “It was our team’s best performance,” he said. “When it got close, we played well as a team.”
That work included Rouse’s blockers. From fullback Cole Burchill to tight end Eric Anthony to linemen Jacob Geer, Luke Earle, Marcel Penfield, Mo Bouvia and David Sawatzke, the Bees, at the point of attack, constantly overwhelmed Liverpool’s defensive front. Rouse said that when that took place, it gave him a chance to break big runs.
Never was it more needed than late in the third quarter. Liverpool, down 28-15 at halftime, had roared to life when Pat Twum returned the second-half kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown.
After an exchange of turnovers, the Warriors struck again as Jeff Edwards’ 54-yard run, and fourth-down conversion, led to Justin Capoto’s two-yard TD plunge. Trevor Monk’s extra point gave Liverpool its first lead of the night at 29-28.
That would be the Warriors’ only lead – and it lasted all of 12 seconds.
On B’ville’s very next offensive play, Rouse, on a toss, found a hole and was gone, 62 yards to the end zone, quickly pushing the Bees ahead 34-29, but it didn’t stop there.
A minute into the fourth quarter, Rouse, taking a handoff on his own 37, broke through three tackles, found a seam on the left side and outran the Liverpool defenders 63 yards to his sixth TD of the night.
And the very next time B’ville had the ball, Rouse offered a carbon copy of that masterpiece, again shedding several tackles before going 57 yards for another TD.
B’ville’s defense sealed the victory. Ironically, it was Joe Stanard, whose fumble recovery led to Rouse’s first TD early in the first quarter, offering the final blow when he returned a wayward Capoto pass 20 yards for the score.
Though it paled next to his second-half heroics (200 yards on just nine carries), Rouse did manage to gain 188 yards in a workmanlike first half and find the end zone four times. He even recorded a defensive safety, which made it 8-0 late in the opening period.
Trailing 14-0 early in the second quarter, Liverpool used long runs from Edwards and fullback Anthony Miller to get on the board with a pair of TD’s – Caleb Taylor scoring on fourth down from nine yards out, Capoto on a one-yard plunge. This, sandwiched in between Rouse’s third TD, set up by a pass from Gage Blasi to Shay Sargeant.
Less than two minutes before halftime, Rouse raced 40 yards to the Warriors’ 14 and scored on the very next play, but that only hinted at the bigger stuff ahead.
Liverpool head coach Dave Mancuso said his team only had itself to blame, thanks to turnovers, penalties and poor punts that constantly put the Bees in advantageous field position.
“My kids worked really hard,” he said. “He (Tyler) is a great back, but the mistakes we made hurt us.”
B’ville (5-1, 3-1 league) would be assured of no worse than a share of the AA-1 division regular-season title if it beats visiting Utica Proctor next Friday at 6:30 in the regular-season finale. Liverpool, meanwhile, could also tie for the league crown if it wins next Friday at 0-6 Rome Free Academy.