East Syracuse Jamesville-DeWitt rallied in the second half Friday night, knocking off defending Class A football champion East Syracuse-Minoa, 16-14 and, in doing so, turned around a neighborhood football rivalry that had long gone in the Spartans' favor.
The unbeaten Red Rams (3-0 overall, 1-0 league) overcame 7-0 and 14-7 deficits, while the Spartans fell to 1-2 overall and 0-1 in league play.
“We’re winning football games on sheer poise, on determination and (with) talent,” J-D coach Eric Ormond said. “Once we start mopping up our mistakes up I think we have the opportunity to put a lot of points on the board.”
The game was always going to be low-scoring when the rain kept pouring after a lengthy weather delay. Lighting forced the first quarter stoppage, and maybe for the Red Rams, the halt was a good thing.
Seconds before play was called, ESM grabbed a 7-0 lead. The Spartans took the opening kickoff and marched to the Red Rams 41. They seemed stuck on 4th-and-10, but ESM quarterback Sean Richardson found talented running back Jeff McDuffie open over the middle. McDuffie trotted into the end zone untouched, while Ormond stood on the sideline steaming.
“I got outcoached and (ESM) had a great call,” Ormond said. “I had a terrible call. I put one of our players in a matchup that he can’t stay with. That’s my fault for doing that.
“That’s what I told the guys during the lightning break,” Ormond said. “Sometimes I wish I could take things back.”
J-D pulled even late in the first quarter. Josiah Williams capped a 64-yard drive with a one yard plunge with 1:58 left in the period. ESM hit right back on the next possession, its 56-yard march ended when McDuffie punched it in from four yards out.
But the Rams took the second half kickoff and didn’t take long to score. Williams broke a couple of tackles and busted free down the sideline for a 53-yard rumble. Red Rams placekicker Kaalar Wynn pushed the extra point wide right, but he soon would have the chance to redeem himself.