SYRACUSE At a very late point in Saturday's game at Sunnycrest Field, the West Genesee football team figured out how to pick up points against the formidable Henninger defense.
However, that resolution came too late to save the Wildcats as the Black Knights, fueled by big pass plays, went up big early and hanged on to prevail by a score of 27-21.
Due to Central Square's 56-29 win over Cicero-North Syracuse the night before, WG had much more at stake in this game. A win here would bring the Wildcats second place in the Class AA-1 division and a first-round Section III home playoff game.
Getting that, though, required WG to conquer a Henninger side seeking to rebound after squandering a second-half lead to state no. 2-ranked CBA the week before.
Right away, the Black Knights hurt the Wildcats through the air. From his own 16-yard line, Romero Collier threw deep and found his favorite receiver, Keisean Scott, and Scott finished off an 84-yard touchdown that put Henninger in front 7-0.
Collier returned late in the second period to find K.J. White on a 24-yard scoring play that doubled WG's deficit to 14-0. What was more, the quick, relentless Henninger defense shut down Naes Howard and the rest of the Wildcats' attack.
Early in the third quarter, WG again got burned deep by Scott, who caught Collier's long pass and turned into a 64-yard TD play. As if that wasn't enough, Collier found Scott on a 24-yard connection that put the Wildcats in a 27-0 hole.
Howard finally got the Wildcats on the board with a 19-yard TD run late in the third quarter, and briefly caused Henninger some concern when he scored again from five yards out in the final period.
But even though the Black Knights were shut down in the late going, it made enough defensive stops to keep WG out of the end zone until the game's waning seconds, when Bailey Gauthier threw a six-yard scoring pass to Sean Marks.