Sep 22, 2012 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Jack Hayes summed it up pretty well when he addressed his Chittenango football team moments after it finished off a 42-0 shutout of Homer in Friday night’s Class B West first-place showdown.
“You’re a bunch of bad dudes”, he said, summing up his thoughts – and the way the Bears handled the Trojans throughout the one-sided affair.
On offense, Chittenango, no. 3 in the latest state Class B rankings, mostly relying on its lethal running trio of Devin Phelps, Kyle Zimmer and Joe Gilona, racked up 35 first-half points, 29 of them in the second quarter alone.
Then the defense did the rest, smothering anything that Homer tried, from swing passes to runs up the middle, and never letting the Trojans get close to the Bears’ goal line at any time.
“These guys know that it’s a long road ahead, and it’s starting to come together,” said Hayes.
The skies cleared up just before kickoff after a hard rain fell during warm-ups. Another deluge, courtesy of Chittenango, was soon to follow.
It began quickly enough, the Bears needing just four plays to go 86 yards. A 33-yard pass to Steve Billington got it started, and Gilona went the final 24 yards for the touchdown to make it 6-0.
By far, the game’s most important play came late in the first quarter. It was still 6-0, and Chittenango, on its own 22-yard line, faced a third-down-and-35, a play that is almost never converted.
Except in this case, it was. Phelps went back to pass, and finding single coverage over the middle, he threw deep. Josh Cretaro, using his sprinter’s speed, caught the ball in mid-stride, and went 55 yards for the first down.
“Our receiver (Cretaro) got behind their secondary, and Devin threw a perfect ball,” said Hayes.
Though that spectacular conversion only led to a Billington field goal, that set the stage for the onslaught that followed for the rest of the half.
Chittenango’s vaunted quintet of linebackers – Zimmer, Gilona, Billington, Aaron Jones and Kyle Mills – kept disrupting Homer’s offensive plans and forcing punts. Billington forced a fumble that Phelps recovered, and Phelps also recorded an interception on a fake punt.
Meanwhile, the Bears kept getting good field position and kept on adding points, too. Zimmer scored from three yards out to make it 15-0, and his 48-yard run set up a second TD from two yards out that stretched the lead to 22-0.
It didn’t stop there, either. After Phelps’ fumble recovery, he went on offense and, two plays later, scored on a 13-yard run. To cap things off, on a bootleg in the last minute of the half Phelps went around left end and got a 29-yard TD, extending it to 35-0 before the break.
In the first half alone, Phelps completed all five of his passes for 105 yards and rushed for 80 more yards. For the game, Zimmer and Gilona both broke the century mark, Zimmer getting 129 yards on 14 carries and Gilona adding 101 yards on just eight carries.
Hayes gave full credit to the Bears’ offensive line, composed of Jones, Brett Buyea, Jon Guignard, Casey Placito and Jon Simmons, who pushed the Trojans’ defenders around and created large holes for Phelps, Zimmer and Gilona to plow through.
“The line is stepping up and feeling more confident,” said Hayes.
Chittenango will take its 4-0 mark to Westhill next Friday night, in search of five in a row. The Warriors are 2-2, but 2-1 in league play and are coming off a 26-13 victory over Solvay, so a turnaround in the standings is possible if the Bears are not careful.