Sep 22, 2012 Kris Russell Uncategorized
Once more, the Liverpool football team made the trek to Fayetteville-Manlius, just as it had done four times in the previous two seasons, all of them defeats, two of them in the first round of the Section III Class AA playoffs.
This time, though, the Warriors finally came out on top. Liverpool outplayed the previously unbeaten Hornets 28-14 on Friday night and, by doing so, grabbed a share of first place with Utica Proctor atop the Class AA-1 division.
The Warriors rallied twice. It trailed 7-0 early in the first quarter and 14-7 just minutes into the second period. Given that, Liverpool coach Dave Mancuso liked the way his team battled.
“Our kids worked really hard,” Mancuso said. “It showed tonight. The kids never gave up. I’m very proud of them.”
F-M scored the first time it touched the ball. Sean Bright capped a 64-yard drive with a two-yard touchdown run.
Liverpool got the points back on the resulting drive. Jeff Edwards carried the ball six straight times to get the visitors into scoring position. Quarterback Justin Capoto and wide receiver Caleb Taylor did the rest, combining on a 30-yard scoring reception.
After the teams traded punts, the Hornets took the lead again through a 74-yard drive that featured all runs. Quarterback Jake Wittig covered the final 14 yards and hit the extra point, too, and F-M led 14-7.
Again, the Warriors pulled even, doing so on the last play of the first half. Set up by a 71-yard pass from Capoto to Edwards, Liverpool scored when Capoto found Chris Bockus in the back of the end zone from 10 yards away.
Liverpool’s defense dominated the second half, and its offense did enough damage to secure the win.
“The way (F-M) moved the ball on the first series I thought we were going to be in another shootout,’” Mancuso said, referring to the 40-35 battle the two teams had last year in the opening round of the AA playoffs. “But then our defense settled down and played great.”
With the Hornets stymied, the Warriors set out to take its first lead. Edwards ran the ball four times on a 73 yard march that ended with his three yard scoring run. That gave Liverpool a 21-14 edge with 4:30 left in the third quarter.
The teams traded punts over the next four possessions. Liverpool then scored its insurance touchdown with 7:04 left. Edwards again did much of the work, and his effort was rewarded when the Capoto-to-Taylor combination struck from nine yards away.
Edwards led the visitors. The senior carried the ball 30 times for 168 yards, which put his total at 731 yards for the season.
‘He’s always great,” Mancuso said of Edwards. “He plays both ways. He gives everything he’s got. Every time he comes to the sideline I’m waiting for him to say ‘coach I need a couple plays off.’ Thank God he never says anything.”
Capoto completed nine-of-15 passes for 170 yards. Taylor caught three balls for 47 yards.
F-M got 178 passing yards from Wolfgang Shafer. T.J. Wheatley was Shafer’s favorite target, finishing with seven catches for 117 yards.
Sean Bright carried the ball 24 times for 99 yards, but that was less than half the 228 yards he had put up the week before in F-M’s 34-25 win at Baldwinsville. Hornets coach Paul Muench tipped his cap to Liverpool’s performance.
“Tonight we got exposed,” Muench said. “Liverpool did a great job. There were some good play calls (and) some good schemes. We didn’t make the plays on the ball and they did.”
F-M does get a chance to rebound next Friday when it hosts 0-4 Rome Free Academy. The Warriors, meanwhile, go back to LHS Stadium and will clash with Utica Proctor for sole possession of first place in AA-1. After an 0-2 start, the Raiders have recorded back-to-back wins over RFA and Auburn.