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Wildcats' turnovers costly in loss to Liverpool

WG suffers first-round defeat to red-hot Warriors

West Genesee senior tailback Naes Howard (43), blocked by E.J. Northrop (72), finds some running room past the grasp of Liverpool’s Ben Terzini (4) in last Friday’s Class AA playoff game, where six turnovers cost the Wildcats in a 28-0 defeat to the Warriors.

West Genesee senior tailback Naes Howard (43), blocked by E.J. Northrop (72), finds some running room past the grasp of Liverpool’s Ben Terzini (4) in last Friday’s Class AA playoff game, where six turnovers cost the Wildcats in a 28-0 defeat to the Warriors. Dana Northrop

— Even with plenty of talent on hand, the West Genesee football team could not escape a tendency to make crucial mistakes at ill-timed moments.

It haunted the Wildcats throughout the season, and ended up costing them dearly Friday night in a 28-0 defeat to Liverpool in the opening round of the Section III Class AA playoffs at LHS Stadium.

From a rash of penalties to six turnovers that turned into 21 of the Warriors' points, WG never could get on track against the same Warrior side it beat in this same round, on this same turf, one year earlier.

Liverpool established control in a hurry. Taking the opening kickoff, it marched 72 yards in just six play, 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.

And there it stayed deep into the second quarter. Liverpool's quick front seven never let WG's star tailback, Naes Howard, get on track, and they proceeded to harass both of the Wildcats' quarterbacks, Bailey Gauthier and Dashot Turner, who took turns under center throughout the night.

With less than a minute left in the half, Pat Twum picked off Turner for Liverpool's second turnover, returning the interception 23 yards to the Wildcats' 27. One play later, Justin Capoto found Joe Scro over the middle on a crossing pattern, Scro going the rest of the way to the end zone.

Up 21-0 at the half, the Warriors didn't stop there. Fittingly, it was that Liverpool defense recording the only points of the second half, coming when Matt Sala, who intercepted Turner on the last play of the first half, stepped in front of another errant Turner throw and brought it back 27 yards for the TD.

From there, the only suspense came from whether Liverpool could finish the shutout - and it did, tacking on two more turnovers, including an interception from Scro and a fumble recovery by Nick Demarzo.

Liverpool advanced to face defending champion and state no. 2-ranked CBA in the sectional semifinals, while WG, once 3-2, lost its third consecutive game.

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