Oct 12, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
A talented sophomore tailback and a determined defense gave the Liverpool football team a complete sense of accomplishment – and atonement.
Trailing by two touchdowns at halftime of Friday night’s crucial Class AA-2 division game at Baldwinsville, the Warriors stunned the Pelcher-Arcaro Stadium faithful – or at least those clad in red – by scoring 21 unanswered points and pulling off a 31-24 victory over the Bees.
It was Jaydakis Scott taking over on the offensive side in those last two periods, the 10th-grader running for 159 yards and scoring all three of Liverpool’s touchdowns, including the game-winner with 5:59 to play.
“We just came together as a team and played well,” said Scott. “This is a big win for us.”
Warriors head coach Dave Mancuso singled out his defense for special praise. It was, after all, that very same defensive unit that got burned for 42 second-half points by Fayetteville-Manlius two weeks earlier as Liverpool blew a 24-7 halftime lead and lost to the Hornets 49-37.
But it all turned around here – and as a result, one more Liverpool victory over Rome Free Academy in next Friday’s regular-season finale will mean a first-round Section III Class AA playoff game at LHS Stadium on the last weekend of October.
Just getting there first required going through B’ville, who entered the night at 4-1 and no. 21 in the state Class AA rankings, and had dominated much of the recent meetings with Liverpool thanks to big nights from Tyler Rouse, who is now playing at Boston College.
Playing at home on Senior Night, the Bees took the opening kickoff and went right to the end zone, Ricky Sparks scoring on a 14-yard run. Liverpool also scored on its opening drive, mixing up passes and runs on a 74-yard march culminated by Justin Capoto’s three-yard TD pass to Ben Terzini.
The Bees countered as Cameron Skipworth’s 60-yard kick return led to Sparks scoring from eight yards out. On the first play of the second quarter, Trevor Monk connected on a 31-yard field goal to cut the deficit to 14-10, but the game almost got away from the Warriors, in large part due to Skipworth.
After he scored on a six-yard run to make it 21-10, Skipworth intercepted a Capoto pass near the goal line late in the half and, changing directions several times, took off on an 85-yard return to the Liverpool 10.
Just at that moment, though, the Warriors’ defense made a crucial stand, forcing the Bees to settle for Tom Scarfino’s 24-yard field goal, which made it 24-10 at halftime – but gave Liverpool a sense that, when under heavy pressure, it could contain the Bees’ potent ground attack.
Meanwhile, Scott had sat out the first quarter and had just one carry when he entered the game in the second period. Mancuso said the game plan in the second half was to get him the ball – and it turned everything around.
Barely three minutes into the third quarter, Scott took a toss, cut back from the left side and took off 51 yards to the end zone, Monk’s extra point cutting Liverpool’s deficit to 24-17.
Even though Capoto threw a second interception to Gage Blasi on the first play of the fourth quarter, the Warriors quickly forced a punt, and turned it back to Scott.
Getting terrific blocking from the line of Geoff Bell, Joe Grannel, Anthony Milea, John Ireton and Nate Donalson, Scott changed directions again on a 24-yard TD run with 7:10 left. When Monk made his third PAT in as many tries, the game was tied, 24-24.
To that point, B’ville had not turned the ball over – but on the ensuing kickoff, the Bees were unable to pick up the ball, and Liverpool’s Zach Katib pounced on it at the B’ville 20.
Three plays later, Scott worked his way outside and pounded into the end zone. That touchdown, with 5:59 left, put Liverpool in front for the first time all night.
Still, the Bees weren’t done. Two long passes by Blasi – 23 yards to John Mercurio and 47 yards to Mitch Rein – had B’ville inside the Liverpool 10 for first-and-goal.
One last time, though, the Warriors’ defense stood up, shutting down three ground plays before chasing Blasi into a fourth-down sack with 3:09 left at the 20. Scott promptly ran four more times, picking up three first downs, and Liverpool ran out the clock on its most satisfying win of the season.