Oct 02, 2010 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Big plays in the early stages, and power the rest of the way, allowed the Chittenango football team to fully enjoy Senior Night – and move closer to a Section III Class B playoff berth.
The Bears’ 31-21 victory over Vernon-Verona-Sherrill Friday night improved Chittenango’s mark to 3-2. And it helped that the Red Devils did not have its most important player at full strength.
Tyler Mautner’s left ankle, injured on the final play of regulation in VVS’s epic 50-44, double-overtime defeat to Cazenovia, still had not healed.
Unable to start, Mautner saw his team get into immediate trouble when Chittenango’s Nic Bacon took the opening kickoff and nearly brought it all the way back, 79 yards to the Red Devils’ three-yard line. Luke Bicknell scored on the next play, and Zach Drake’s extra point made it 7-0.
VVS couldn’t do anything in its first possession, and the Bears got the ball back and struck again with a big play. Devin Christopher, from the Red Devils’ 43, threw deep – and found Steve Mesmer in the end zone.
Down 14-0, the Red Devils, tried once to put Mautner on the field, but he got sacked and would not return. Only when running back Matt Silker started taking direct snaps did VVS get moving, as he went 29 yards on one run and 28 yards to the end zone to cut the Bears’ margin in half.
Trying to regain control, the Bears turned to its power running attack, which meant lots of Bicknell. He ran four times, including a 38-yard scamper, on a long drive to the VVS one-yard line.
But when Chittenango could not punch it in, VVS had some momentum – and Silfer struck again, taking a snap at his own 20 and tearing through a hole all the way to the other end zone for an 80-yard TD that, with Cole Barbano’s extra point, pulled the Red Devils even 14-14.
Just before the half, though, Christopher, who went seven-for-14 for 137 yards, led a quick drive that set up Drake for a 22-yard field goal. So the Bears went to the break ahead 17-14, and knowing how it wanted to protect that lead.
Bicknell was featured again with seven runs on a 14-play drive to open the second half, all part of a night where he carried the ball a whopping 37 times for 237 yards. Bacon’s three-yard TD run finished off the long drive.
Chittenango took a 24-14 lead to the final period, and all but put things away when Christopher hit Cavanaugh Chiares on a 25-yard TD pass. Silfer would score on a 56-yard run in the late going and finish with 222 yards on just 10 carries.
Now the Bears could look ahead to next Saturday’s battle with its neighbors from Cazenovia at Buckley-Volo Field, which kicks off at 2:30. The Lakers, 5-0 and no. 7 in the state Class B rankings, followed up the VVS classic with a fourth-quarter rally to beat Oneida 18-8.
As for the Red Devils, it doesn’t know whether Mautner will be ready to go when it hosts Holland Patent next Saturday at 2 p.m. The Golden Knights come off a 34-6 win over Lowville and sit at 3-2, but only 1-2 in league play. A playoff berth could be on the line.