Manlius The Fayetteville-Manlius football team looked in mid-season form. Central Square looked as if it never got off the bus.
The Hornets pounded the visiting Red Hawks 55-7 in the Class AA season opener Friday night. The score might have been more lopsided had FM’s starters not spent the entire second half watching from the bench.
“We got physically and mentally beaten by a better football team today,” Central Square head coach Matt DiCarlo said.
F-M led 28-0 after one quarter, and 49-0 at halftime. That effort left quite an impression on the Hornets veteran head coach, Paul Muench, entering his 13th season at the helm.
“We played real well (and) we really put it together,” Muench said. “I said to the kids ‘I think that was one of the finest opening day performances I’ve ever had a team have.’”
F-M’s Zaire Ashley set the tone early, returning the opening kickoff 55 yards to the Red Hawks 12-yard line. Three running plays later, all by Sean Bright, it was 6-0. F-M kicker Jake Wittig then tacked on the first of seven successful conversions.
Soon after forcing a Central Square punt, F-M was back in the end zone. Quarterback Wolfgang Shafer found a wide open Luke Krizman for a 54-yard scoring strike.
F-M’s next two scores came immediately after Red Hawk fumbles. Bright broke free from 19 yards out and, minutes later, Shafer found tight end T.J. Wheatley from eight yards away.
“Momentum’s a funny thing,” DiCarlo said. “We definitely got behind there early and it was tough to bounce back. The effort from my kids was there. I think the execution wasn’t there.”
F-M put the game on ice with three second-quarter scores. Wheatley caught a 42-yard pass from Shafer. Bright busted loose from 52 yards out. And Wittig ambled in from six yards away.
Shafer completed four of his six passes for 115 yards. Bright rushed 10 times for 105 yards.
F-M returns to action Saturday in what should be one of the season's marquee match-ups. The Hornets take on defending Section III Class AA champion West Genesee in Camillus.
“Anytime West Genesee and F-M play in anything it seems to have a big game feel to it,” Muench said. “Of course, football is no exception.”