Oct 19, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
From nagging questions of character and heart at mid-season, the Liverpool football team now finds itself proudly owning a four-game win streak and plenty of momentum going into the Section III Class AA playoffs.
Just as importantly, when the Warriors rolled past Rome Free Academy 35-12 on Friday night, it clinched second place in the Class AA-2 division with a 4-1 mark (5-2 overall) and guaranteed that it would stay at LHS Stadium for the AA opening round.
Cicero-North Syracuse had a chance to go to Liverpool for that playoff game – but instead, it saw an early 14-point lead vanish amid an avalanche of Central Square points during a 56-29 loss to the Red Hawks.
In Liverpool’s case, the good feelings gained in its 31-24, come-from-behind victory over Baldwinsville a week earlier carried over into the RFA game, but not int he manner the Black Knights expected.
True, Jaydakis Scott, who scored all three touchdowns in the second half at B’ville, got things going for the Warriors with an eight-yard scoring run in the first quarter.
But when the Black Knights tried to crowd the line of scrimmage, quarterback Justin Capoto threw over them, accounting for three TD passes the rest of the first half.
Capoto hit Caleb Taylor from 26 yards out late in the opening period. Then the pair collaborated again on a 24-yard scoring play in the second quarter to make it 21-0.
RFA finally got on the board with Bradley Dougherty’s nine-yard scoring run, but Liverpool countered right before the half, Capoto this time finding James Wade on a 21-yard TD pass that made it 28-7 at the half.
To complete a memorable Senior Night, Capoto tacked on a 27-yard scoring scramble in the third quarter, and that, plus superb defense throughout the night, allowed the Warriors to make plans for another home date.
C-NS, who had lost 28-14 to Liverpool back on Sept. 13, was poised to get a second shot at the Warriors if it could win at Central Square, and all went well at the outset, as Owen Dziados found Vinny Iannuzzo on a 29-yard TD pass for the only points of the first quarter.
When Mitch Dunay scored on a one-yard plunge early in the second quarter and Tyler Griffo added the extra point, C-NS could not have imagined how its defense would surrender that 14-0 edge before it reached halftime.
Lured in by Central Square’s ground game in the early going, the Northstars got burned when Domenic Godici threw over them and went 22 yards to E.J. Sampo for the TD. Then the Red Hawks tied it, 14-14, on John Vincentini’s eight-yard scoring run.
If the game had a turning point, it came late in the first half. C-NS drove to Central Square’s one-yard line, only to get stopped on fourth down at the goal line. Fired up by that, the Red Hawks went 99 yards to the go-ahead score as Gocidi hit Sampo for a 32-yard TD pass.
Another big play hurt C-NS in the third quarter, as it spent seven-plus minutes on a drive that reached Central Square’s three-yard line, but again was denied going further. Seconds later, Josh Smith took off on a 93-yard run to set up his own two-yard scoring plunge.
Dunay’s 10-yard TD sprint briefly cut the deficit to 28-21, but from there the Northstars’ defense fell apart as Central Square found the end zone all five times it had the ball in the second half.
Josh Smith scored twice more, on short runs of four and three yards, one of them set up by Brandon Smith’s interception of an errant Dziados pass.
In between, Vincentini broke loose on a 54-yard TD sprint, and Nate Baskall scored from six yards out. Dominic Fiorini’s 56-yard scoring run in the closing minutes came far too late.
Carrying the ball 27 times, Dunay had 175 yards on the ground, but Central Square got 383 rushing yards, 208 of them from Josh Smith on 20 carries. Vincentini finished with 125 yards.