Oct 27, 2012 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
From roster turnover to ill-timed injuries, the West Genesee football team dealt with the sort of adversity it mostly avoided en route to last fall’s Section III Class AA championship.
Most of all, the Wildcats had to deal with a powerhouse named Christian Brothers Academy, who would twice beat them, including Friday’s 35-13 decision in the Class AA semifinals at Liverpool High School Stadium.
They had played on Sept. 20, in Camillus, where CBA prevailed 35-20. More than a month later, the two sides were together again, the Brothers still motivated by the fact that WG dropped 57 points on them in last fall’s sectional final.
In particular, CBA quarterback J.R. Zazzara was motivated. In mid-season, Zazzara went out with mononucleosis, and though he returned a couple of weeks ago, he had not yet reached full strength.
Against WG, a team geared up to try and contain CBA’s star sophomore tailback, Deshawn Salter, Zazzara thrived once more. Though he completed just seven passes, they went for 167 yards, an average of more than 23 yards per completion, and three went for touchdowns.
Late in the first quarter, after Salter’s 65-yard touchdown run got called back due to an inadvertent whistle, Zazzara drove his team down to the Wildcats’ 25, from where he found a wide-open Andre Dowdell in single coverage for a TD that, this time, counted and put CBA ahead to stay.
On the first play of the second quarter, Zazzara, from WG’s 31-yard line, again isolated Dowdell in single coverage and found him open as Dowdell streaked to the end zone again, making it 14-0.
Then, in a 17-second sequence, CBA all but put the Wildcats away. First, WG’s Naesean Howard fumbled, and Joey Pascarella recovered at midfield. Then Zazzara took off on a 42-yard run, which set up Salter’s nine-yard TD sprint on the next play.
That made it 21-0, a mark that was more than enough for CBA’s defense. In the first half alone, Pascarella had two tackles for losses, while Keegan O’Hern sacked Wildcats quarterback Dan Ginestro twice.
That intensity slacked a bit in the second half, as the Wildcats put together a pair of scoring drives. Ginestro finished off one drive with a 10-yard scoring pass to Brett Colvin in the third quarter, while Garrett Waldron scored on a one-yard plunge in the final period.
But the Brothers countered both times, Zazzara throwing his third TD pass, a 16-yard strike to Cody Radziewicz and Salter going 25 yards for a TD late in the fourth quarter to ice it. Overall, Salter gained 159 yards on 21 carries to balance out Zazzara’s air numbers.
So the Wildcats finished at 4-5, knowing that Howard, and most of the offensive line, returns in 2013, and hoping that the things it learned this fall will lead to a return to the top next time around.