Fayetteville-Manlius quarterback Jake Wittig (3) scrambles out of the pocket and finds time to throw the ball downfield in Friday night's game against Baldwinsville. Wittig was 12-for-17 for 229 yards and four touchdowns as the Hornets outscored the Bees 49-37.
continued Moments later, Wittig, who had thrown four TD passes and made all seven of his extra-point attempts, intercepted Gage Blasi's pass in the end zone, the Bees' lone turnover of the night, and F-M would run out the clock.
The fact that B'ville did hang in for so long, said Rhodes, was due to the Hornets' physical and mental mistakes, especially on defense, where it couldn't figure out a way to keep Blasi from finding open receivers deep downfield.
For a B'ville team long known for its ground attack, it turned into an aerial circus on this night. Blasi attempted 24 passes, completing 15 of them for 355 yards, which made up for the Hornets holding star tailback Ricky Sparks to just 51 yards on 18 carries.
This pattern started to unfold after the Hornets seized a 14-0 lead early in the first quarter, thanks to Krizman's kick return and Zaire Ashley's one-yard TD plunge. Blasi's pair of long passes to tight end Mike Yorkey set up his own one-yard scoring run, and B'ville's chase was on.
Twice in the first half, the Hornets stretched out its lead to double digits as Wittig found Jack Wilson on scoring passes of five and 30 yards. Both times, the Bees rode Blasi's right arm down the field to scoring drives capped by short TD runs of six yards by Sparks and three yards by Blasi.
Still trailing 28-20 at halftime, the Bees cut the gap to five on Tom Scarfino's 32-yard field goal late in the third quarter, which ignited a frantic sequence that nearly put the Bees in front.
A 23-yard pass to Krizman set up Jake Pulver's five-yard TD run, but on the next play from scrimmage, Blasi went deep and found Cameron Skipworth on a 62-yard scoring pass, making it 35-30 and, worse yet for the Hornets, the Bees recovered the ensuing squib kick.