Liverpool Four impressive quarters and six turnovers later, the Liverpool football team is moving along in the Section III Class AA playoffs, bound for what could be one of the biggest games in the program's recent history.
The Warriors' defense provided many of the highlights in Friday night's 28-0 victory over West Genesee in the AA opening round at LHS Stadium, as those six takeaways led to 21 of the team's points.
And it sets up, for Liverpool, a shot at the area's reigning power, state no. 2-ranked Christian Brothers Academy, in next Saturday's Class AA semifinal - which will be played, ironically, at West Genesee, starting at 1 p.m.
The Warriors go into that showdown with the Brothers riding a five-game win streak, and it's clear that Liverpool is peaking in most phases of the game, one side of the ball helping the other to create a total team effort that West Genesee found too much to handle.
Head coach Dave Mancuso said his team's defensive attitude has undergone a total shift since allowing 42 points to Fayetteville-Manlius in the second half on Sept. 20. Since then, the Warriors have won five in a row, but saved its best performance of that streak for the post-season curtain-raiser.
Quite unlike last year's defeat to the Wildcats in this same round of the sectional playoffs, Liverpool established control in a hurry. Taking the opening kickoff, it marched 72 yards in just six plays, sophomore tailback Jaydakis Scott going the final 17 yards for the touchdown just 1:41 into the game.
Holding a lead it would not relinquish, Liverpool began the turnover barrage when the Wildcats muffed a punt midway through the first quarter.
Leith Ashkar recovered the fumble at WG's 43, and Scott did most of the work from there with three long carries, including 10 yards for a TD on fourth-and-two that made it 14-0.