Liverpool A large home crowd, a big halftime lead, a chance to knock off the state’s no. 11-ranked Class A team – all was in place for Liverpool football.
And then, in a matter of 24 minutes, everything fell apart.
The Warriors surrendered 42 points in the second half of Friday’s game against Fayetteville-Manlius and seeing a resounding victory turn into a painful 49-37 defeat at LHS Stadium.
Given that both teams had won their respective Class AA-2 division openers (Liverpool over Auburn, F-M over Baldwinsville), whoever won this game would take over first place in the league.
This was F-M's first true road game of the season, and Liverpool set out to make it a miserable one. They traded touchdowns in the first quarter, the Warriors 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 to put his team in front 14-7, 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 Liverpool went into the break ahead 24-7, by far F-M’s 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.