Oct 27, 2012 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
A rash of penalties, a season’s worth of missed tackles and other mistakes – none of this mattered one bit to the Baldwinsville football team as the final seconds of Friday night’s Section III Class AA semifinal against Fayetteville-Manlius ticked away at Liverpool High School Stadium.
“We’re going to the Dome!”, several players kept shouting to each other, jumping up and down.
They meant, of course, that the Bees are on the way to the Carrier Dome to play for a third sectional title in four years, though it required fending off a fierce late comeback from the Hornets to prevail by a 38-36 margin and avenge a Sept. 14 regular-season defeat to F-M.
A large reason why the game was so close was B’ville’s mistakes. Yellow flags wiped out two Tyler Rouse touchdown runs, along with an interception Rouse made in the firs quarter. All told, the Bees had more than 100 yards of penalties.
“We’re a lot better football team than we played tonight,” said head coach Carl Sanfilippo. “We played hard and we persevered, but we need to clean up our mistakes.”
The cascade of errors began early, after Rouse, on B’ville’s first offensive play from scrimmage, sprinted 75 yards for the first of his four TD’s on the night. Rouse then intercepted Wolfgang Shafer’s pass, only to have it called back when Shafer got roughed.
Then, after F-M zoomed ahead 9-7, the Bees saw Rouse go 45 yards for what it thought was six points before a holding penalty brought it back. Shaking that off, Josh Demoski threw a screen pass to his left to Shay Sargeant, who made a great move to elude a tackle and took off on a 48-yard TD sprint, putting the Bees ahead 14-9.
Another pass play, going 19 yards from Demoski to Anthony, set up Rouse’s second TD that made it 21-9, where it stood at halftime. On the first play of the second half, Rouse took a toss and was never caught, a 54-yard scoring play.
Now the Bees were ahead 28-9, threatening to pull away. But F-M started to rally thanks to more Bees penalties, as two personal fouls led to Sean Bright’s five-yard scoring run that cut the margin to 28-15.
What followed was one of Rouse’s finest moments in a career full of superlatives. Taking a toss at his own 48, Rouse broke several tackles at the line of scrimmage, took off down the right sideline and, with one man to beat, just jumped over him while tumbling into the end zone.
“They like to tackle me low,” said Rouse of the 52-yard play that made it 35-15 late in the third quarter. “I just jumped out of instinct.”
Again, the Hornets would not surrender. Bright’s third TD, on a 16-yard run, made it 35-22, and after the Hornets recovered an onside kick, it converted a pair of fourth downs on the way to Chris Bortel’s one-yard TD plunge with 9:10 left.
So now it was 35-29, and B’ville needed a big play. Again, it came from the passing game, Demoski finding Anthony for a 35-yard completion that set up a 27-yard field goal by sophomore Tom Scarfino with 6:15 left, which turned out to be the winning points.
That’s because the Hornets again moved down the field, cutting the deficit to two on Jake Wittig’s 20-yard scoring pass to Dan Wyman with 3:28 left.
Again, B’ville turned to Rouse. His tough 10-yard run, and a two-yard run that followed on third-and-two, allowed the Bees to eat up most of the remaining clock, and Rouse was roughed trying to punt the ball in the final minute, giving the Bees a clinching first down and starting the celebration among the partisans in red.
For the night, Rouse gained 272 yards on 35 carries, and he lost up to 100 more yards because of the flags, and added nine tackles on the defensive side. Demoski threw just nine passes, but completed five of them for 141 yards, and Scarfino converted all five of his extra-point attempts.
Right away, though, the Bees (8-1) would turn its attention to next Saturday’s sectional final against 9-0 Christian Brothers Academy, who easily handled West Genesee 35-13 in the other semifinal.
When B’ville claimed the sectional championship in 2009 and 2010, both times it beat CBA in the final, but Rouse, already a star as a sophomore, was injured and didn’t play in that 2010 title game. Now he has to try and solve a fast, aggressive Brothers defense that will be geared to stop him.
Meanwhile, Sanfilippo said that the same rash of mistakes that allowed F-M to hang around with B’ville will not work against CBA.
“If we played like we did tonight, we’ll be in trouble,” said Sanfilippo.