Oct 05, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
For more than 47 minutes of game time Friday night, the Westhill football team could not put it in the end zone against Cortland, and there was a very real danger that the Warriors’ Class B playoff position would take a hit if it could not produce something at the end.
Just in time, though, Westhill came through, as a late scoring drive led to Ja’Shai Jamison’s go-ahead touchdown with 30 seconds left, and the Warriors beat the Purple Tigers 10-6 to move to 3-2 on the season.
Each of the other local Class B West teams had far different results. Marcellus, tied for first in the league going into the week, got run over in a 37-19 loss to Chittenango, while Solvay, who saw its 26-game skid end at Phoenix on Sept. 27, ran right into undefeated, state Class B no. 8-ranked Homer and absorbed a 40-2 defeat.
Much of the drama was found at Westhill, where the Warriors sought to bounce back from its own 41-7 defeat to Homer the week before, but instead found itself locked in a defensive duel with Cortland as neither team would score in the first half.
Staying patient, the Warriors kept making stops on the Purple Tigers and then, taking advantage of a third-quarter turnover, moved the ball to Cortland’s 10-yard line. The drive stalled, but Colin Henderson booted a 27-yard field goal to give Westhill a 3-0 lead.
Offering a quick response, Cortland put together its lone scoring drive of the night, moving to Westhill’s four-yard line early in the final period before Zach Whelan found the end zone for the game’s first TD.
From there, though, Westhill’s defense stopped everything else, and as time ticked down Drew Derrenbacker led the Warriors down the field with a series of clutch passes and mixed in some key runs from Jameson. And it was Jameson, from five yards out, that found the end zone in the final minute.
The win helped Westhill move up the B West standings – and so did the struggles Marcellus faced at Chittenango, a stunning development, given that the Mustangs occupied the no. 18 spot in the state Class B rankings and that the Bears, at 1-3, were in danger of falling out of the post-season picture.
Chittenango’s offensive line dominated on the line of scrimmage, and it led to running backs Andrew Flack, Connor Mills and Cory Benn each breaking the century mark. Flack had 165 yards on the ground, while Mills gained 139 yards and Benn had 120 yards on just seven carries.
And it didn’t take long for the Bears to start running over Marcellus. Flack, on the second play from scrimmage, burst through the line and took off, 64 yards to the Mustangs’ end zone, giving Chittenango a 7-0 edge before the game was a minute old.
More runs on the Bears’ next possession put it on the Mustangs’ 35, and with defenders crowding the line of scrimmage, Matt Cretaro threw over them, his first pass of the night going to Will Strodel for a touchdown and a 13-0 edge.
All through the first half, Chittenango’s defense thwarted Marcellus, twice stopping drives deep in its own territory, including a fourth-down stop at the Bears’ 19 at the end of the opening period.
Late in the half, Mills broke loose for a 23-yard run, setting up another scoring chance. Matt Cretaro found his brother, Josh, on a 14-yard pass, setting up Matt’s own eight-yard TD scramble that made it 19-0, and Josh Cretaro’s interception right before the break preserved the first-half shutout.
But the Bears didn’t stop there, stretching the margin to 27-0 on its first possession of the third quarter, Benn breaking loose for a 48-yard TD run and Flack earning the two-point conversion.
Marcellus finally got on the board when Ross Filtch broke loose for a 61-yard TD run that made it 27-6, but the Bears countered with a long drive full of runs that Flack culminated by going 17 yards for his second score of the night.
To make sure the Mustangs didn’t get any closer, Benn broke loose for a 43-yard scoring run with 7:32 left after Ian McGloon had gone 70 yards for a TD earlier in the fourth quarter. Mills provided the finishing touch with a 67-yard sprint to the end zone minutes later, with Mike Hastings scoring from four yards out in the final minutes.
At least Marcellus got some touchdowns – something that eluded Solvay on its home turf at Al Merola Field against a Homer side that remained undefeated with ease, leading 21-0 by the time the first quarter was done as Drew Cottrell, Chris Brown and Alec Bush all scored on TD runs.
Bush contributed a second touchdown on a seven-yard run to make it 27-0 at halftime, and Jayden Gavidia scored twice in the second half as it took a safety by the Bearcats in the fourth quarter to break up the shutout.
Solvay plays next Saturday at Vernon-Verona-Sherrill (4-1), just after Marcellus takes on Homer Friday and Westhill hosts Phoenix.