Sep 28, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Earning 42 points is not a novelty for the Fayetteville-Manlius football team. Picking them up in a half, though, is something new.
In a resilient performance Friday night that might come to define the 2013 season, the Hornets went to Liverpool and, down 24-7 at halftime and 37-28 in the fourth quarter, made it all the way back and stunned the Warriors 49-37 to move its record to 4-0.
It just so happened that F-M defeated Baldwinsville by that exact same score a week earlier. But it never trailed against the Bees, a stark contrast to this night, where the Hornets didn’t move in front until Jake Pulver’s 20-yard touchdown run with less than three minutes to play.
This was F-M’s first true road game of the season, having knocked off Schenectady in the Carrier Dome before home wins over West Genesee and B’ville. Liverpool, sporting a 2-1 record and playing in front of a Homecoming crowd, was determined to take out the state Class AA no. 11-ranked Hornets.
They traded touchdowns in the first quarter, Liverpool going up 7-0 on Matt Sala’s 29-yard run, F-M answering on Zaire Ashley’s two-yard plunge. But the second period completely belonged to the Warriors.
Aided by a pair of Hornet turnovers, Liverpool put up 17 unanswered points. Quarterback Justin Capoto scored from two yards out, and after Trevor Monk converted a 30-yard field goal, sophomore tailback Jaydakis Scott, who would be a star all night, went 24 yards for the TD.
So F-M went into the break trailing 24-7, by far its largest deficit of the season. Lesser teams may have stood down, but the Hornets did not as junior quarterback Jake Wittig led his side back into the fray in the third quarter.
Twice, F-M moved the ball down the field, and twice it led to touchdown passes, Wittig going 23 yards to Jack Wilson for one score and throwing six yards to Tim Byrnes for the other, which made it 24-21. But Scott answered for Liverpool, going 15 yards for his second TD, though the missed conversion kept it 30-21 going to the final period.
Wittig found Paddy Quinlan from 36 yards out to make it 30-28, but barely a minute later Scott, breaking several tackles, sprinted 50 yards to the end zone, extending the Liverpool lead back to 37-28.
Again, F-M rushed down the field, Wittig guiding his team to the Warriors’ 17 before finding Wilson for his fourth TD of the half, and it was 37-35, with still lots of time remaining.
It was here that the Hornets’ defense, pushed around for most of the night, showed its conditioning and heart, making a big stop that gave F-M the ball back.
With the Warriors expecting more passes, the Hornets instead pounded away, reaching the Liverpool 20, from where Pulver burst up the middle and found the end zone for the go-ahead TD and Wittig followed with a two-point pass to Wilson, making it 43-37.
Behind for the first time all night, the Warriors tried to answer, but got stopped on downs with 2:28 to play. Then the Hornets sealed its comeback when Pulver went eight yards for one final touchdown.
F-M makes its longest road trip of the regular season next Friday when it visits Rome Free Academy, who is 2-2 and coming off a 44-25 defeat to B’ville. Game time is 7 p.m.