Liverpool At many different points in last Friday night’s Section III Class AA playoff opener, the Liverpool football team was on the verge of putting away defending champion West Genesee and keeping its hopes for a first sectional title in 14 years alive.
But the Warriors never quite put things away – and as a result, the Wildcats got a chance to recover, ultimately getting two touchdowns in a 41-second span late in the fourth quarter to knock out the Warriors 36-25.
It marks the third year in a row Liverpool fell in the first round, and also brought up reminders that WG beat the Warriors in the semifinal round in 2007 and ’08, the first of them on the way to a state championship.
Perhaps the Wildcats were due to win a tight contest. During an up-and-down regular season, WG lost to Clarence, Fayetteville-Manlius and Henninger by a combined five points, which made its 3-4 mark a bit deceptive.
Liverpool certainly didn’t take the Wildcats lightly, and in this playoff classic, kept trading blows for most of the contest, especially in a wild second quarter after the two sides played to a 0-0 draw in the opening period.
Down 7-0 after Naesean Howard’s four-yard touchdown run, the Warriors got going when Jeff Edwards took off on a 43-yard run from midfield, setting up his own two-yard scoring plunge that, with Trevor Monk’s extra point, tied it 7-7.
Then, down 15-7 with less than two minutes left in the half, the Warriors rallied again. Monk kicked a 30-yard field goal and, after a bad WG possession and poor punt, Justin Capoto hit Edwards on a 37-yard pass play near the goal line.
On the last play of the half, Edwards scored on a one-yard plunge. Capoto’s two-point pass to Brandon Bertelli gave the Warriors an 18-15 lead going to the break, and the hosts seemed to have all the momentum as a fog settled over LHS Stadium for the second half.