Liverpool 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.