Oct 05, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
To call the Chittenango football team’s 49-21 romp over Marcellus Friday night an important game, and a possible turning point in its season, might actually be an understatement.
Going into the night, the Bears were 1-2 in Class B West play and 1-3 overall, and knew that, unless it won here, it stood a real chance of missing the Section III Class B playoffs.
Standing in the way was a Marcellus side that was 3-0 in league play 3-1 overall, tied for first with Homer in B West and no. 18 in the state Class B rankings, its only blemish a 43-35 defeat to Cazenovia on Sept. 19 where it blew a 28-7 first-half lead.
As it turned out, another Madison County side would hurt the Mustangs without the need for a big comeback, but with a dominant ground game.
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, anchored by new middle linebacker Jon Guignard, 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. Remembering how it wasted a similar start in a Sept. 13 loss to Homer, Chittenango stretched 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.
Chittenango needs just one win in its remaining two regular-season games to return to the playoffs, and could get it next Friday when it hosts Cortland, a 1-4 team coming off a 10-6 defeat to Westhill. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.