In the two weeks since the Fayetteville-Manlius football team knocked off Christian Brothers Academy on Sept. 22, both sides have gone off in different directions, with the Hornets sliding and the Brothers moving up.
F-M first lost at Indian River and then,on Friday night, got shut down by visiting Central Square in a 32-10 game that had major ramifications for the entire Class AA-1 division race.
Not only did it clinch at least a tie for the regular-season league title for the Redhawks, it also meant that Central Square would host a first-round playoff game. CBA maintains that same goal in the wake of going to Rome Free Academy last Friday and emerging with a tough 19-7 win over the Black Knights.
F-M thought that it was ready to deal with Central Square’s trademark power game. Overriding that, though, was the Redhawks’ anger with itself since, a week earlier, it had seen its four-game win streak halted at CBA, with turnovers and penalties costly in a 27-25 defeat.
At least at the outset, the Hornets had every intention of continuing Central Square’s misery, scoring twice in the first quarter as Mikey Porter threw a 27-yard touchdown pass to Jack Hannah and John Egnaczyk kicked a 23-yard field goal.
Critically, though, the Redhawks’ defense had stopped F-M short of a touchdown on that second drive, keeping it 10-6 as Jamie Battaglia, with his 72-yard scoring run, had put Central Square on the board.
And for the rest of the game, F-M could do nothing against the Redhawks, who got 10 tackles from Mason Hoyt, nine tackles and an interception from Zach Havens and eight tackles from Battaglia as Slade Springer also got nine tackles.
Battaglia’s second TD, a three-yard run in the second quarter, along with Nick Ransom’s two-point pass to Springer, gave Central Square a 14-10 lead by halftime. And throughout the second half, the RedHawks’ offensive line wore F-M’s defensive front down.
This allowed Battaglia to gain 301 yards on 24 carries, part of a ground attack that gained nearly 500 yards total. Battaglia’s third and fourth TDs, on runs of three and 17 yards, helped put the game away, along with Ransom’s five-yard scoring dash.
While that was going on, CBA, still without Stevie Scott and SirVocea Dennis in the lineup, would find its game at RFA Stadium a taxing one as the 0-5 Black Knights, playing with lots of pride, kept the upset bid alive for a while.
Avion Othman’s first-quarter TD run of 46 yards was matched by an RFA drive that Justin Swavely finished by scoring from one yard out. Yet just like Central Square did against F-M, the Brothers’ defense blanked the Black Knights the rest of the way.
Tim Denham’s 10-yard scoring run helped CBA inch in front, 13-7, by halftime, and Othman did the rest, ultimately gaining a career-high 190 yards on 16 carries, while scoring an insurance TD in the third quarter. Hassan Bridges-Beyah gained 74 yards on just six carries as Denham and quarterback Alex Poindexter each ran for 62 yards.
When CBA hosts Corcoran next Friday at Alibrandi Stadum, both teams will have 4-1 league records and 5-1 overall marks. A win would mean a top seed for the Brothers since it beat Central Square head-to-head, but a loss could me a tumble all the way to fourth place – and a first-round trip to unbeaten, state no. 8-ranked Cicero-North Syracuse.
F-M has its own game against Rome Free Academy, the Hornets set to finish third or fourth in the league, mostly depending on how Corcoran-CBA pans out.