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Hornets go to ground, get past West Genesee

F-M moves to 2-0; second straight one-point Wildcat loss

A group of West Genesee defenders, including Nick Calabrese (55), Matt Wierbinski (85), Garrett Waldron (44) and Matt Ferranti (64), try to tackle Fayetteville-Manlius tailback Sean Bright in Saturday's game. Bright scored both of the Hornets' touchdowns in a 14-13 win over the Wildcats.

A group of West Genesee defenders, including Nick Calabrese (55), Matt Wierbinski (85), Garrett Waldron (44) and Matt Ferranti (64), try to tackle Fayetteville-Manlius tailback Sean Bright in Saturday's game. Bright scored both of the Hornets' touchdowns in a 14-13 win over the Wildcats. Dana Northrop

— Rain, wind and real grass created an old-fashioned feel to Saturday's football showdown between Fayetteville-Manlius and West Genesee.

Just as traditional were the virtues - running game, defense - that largely defined the Hornets' narrow 14-13 victory over the Wildcats.

F-M improved to 2-0 on the season. WG, meanwhile, fell to 0-2, and just as frustrating for the Wildcats is the fact that both defeats have come by a single point, as it took a 34-33 defeat to Clarence six days earlier in the Carrier Dome.

Now, as then, a missed conversion made the difference. With the score tied 7-7 late in the fourth quarter of a physical, hard-fought contest, Naesean Howard, mostly quiet to that point, took a handoff at his own 10-yard line and tore down the left sideline, changing direction near midfield and going right, to the middle of the field, and finishing off a 90-yard touchdown play.

But the Wildcats were penalized on the ensuing extra point, forcing Brett Colvin to kick the conversion five yards longer. He hit it wide left, keeping the Wildcats' lead at 13-7 with just 4:36 left.

After a short kickoff, Jake Wittig's 28-yard run, plus a 15-yard penalty, put the Hornets deep in WG territory. After Ryan Greer's 16-yard run, Sean Bright (who finished with 156 yards on 28 carries) scored from seven yards out, and Wittig made the extra point.

More than three minutes remained when WG got the ball on its own 35. After Howard picked up a first down, Hornets end Nate Kadah made the game's two biggest defensive plays, twice tackling Wildcat runners for losses near midfield, which led to a turnover on downs, all but clinching F-M's victory.

The game was moved to WG's grass field, as opposed to its usual artificial turf field, and that immediately became a fact when the winds kicked up and the rain fell down in large volume just as the game kicked off.

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