Sep 14, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
In so many different ways, the Baldwinsville football team’s 10-7 victory over Henninger Friday night at Sunnycrest Field was instructive and encouraging, beyond the fact that the Bees improved to 2-0 on the season and added to its momentum heading into next weekend’s big game at Fayetteville-Manlius.
Not only did B’ville show that it could win on the road, and persevere without big production from its high-octane running attack, it also showed that it has a proud, tough defense that, under pressure, can perform at an elite level.
In fact, after the Black Knights’ first possession, the Bees’ defense pitched a shutout, a marked contrast to its season opener seven days earlier, when it surrendered four touchdowns in a hard-fought 34-27 win over Cicero-North Syracuse.
Henninger, who shut out Liverpool 14-0 in its first game of the season, took a 7-0 lead on that opening drive, seeing Justin McGann fumble near the end zone, but end Brandon Wilbur recover for the touchdown.
And that would be all. B’ville’s front seven, led by Collin Taylor and Jakeith Jackson, put on constant pressure, and when the Black Knights tried to throw the ball, that got stopped, too.
On the offensive side, the Bees pulled even early in the second quarter when, from his own 23, Gage Blasi threw a screen pass to Ricky Sparks, who turned around and, with great downfield blocking, went all the way, 77 yards for the score.
Tom Scarfino added the extra point. Then, when the Bees’ drive stalled at Henninger’s 15 just before halftime, Scarfino returned and drilled a 32-yard field goal through the uprights, never imagining that they would be the winning points of the night.
B’ville could not add to that three-point margin in a tense second half. Instead, it relied on the defense, especially when Henninger twice moved inside the Bees’ 10-yard line with chances to take the lead.
During the third quarter, the Black Knights had it on the three for first-and-goal, only to get penalized 15 yards on a Romero Collier run inside the one, eventually turning it over on downs as Taylor made a key sack.
Then, with less than three minutes left, Henninger moved it from its own 38 to B’ville’s eight, mostly through Wilbur catching a 45-yard pass from Keisean Scott. But when Scott tried to go to the end zone, Cameron Skipworth picked it off, his second interception of the night and fourth of the season.
Sparks didn’t come close to the 303 yards he managed against C-NS, but still got 113 yards on 26 carries, in addition to the long TD reception, which accounted for most of Blasi’s 138 passing yards on five-of-13 completions.
And this leads to the rematch with F-M, whom it beat 38-36 last October in a memorable Section III Class AA semifinal.
Under first-year head coach Damien Rhodes, the Hornets have scored a combined 99 points in its first two games, wins over Schenectady (55-20) and West Genesee (44-26), so the Bees’ defense will face an even bigger test than it got at Henninger.