Sep 06, 2009 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Two of the area’s high school football teams made separate road trips on Saturday. Only one would come back victorious – though the other came close.
Westhill, the reigning three-time Class B West regular-season champions, started another title quest at Phoenix and breezed to a 37-0 victory over the Firebirds.
Meanwhile, Jordan-Elbridge found itself in a tense battle with Port Byron, playing solid defense, but still taking a 14-6 loss to the Panthers.
The Eagles, desperate to improve on last season’s 1-6 regular-season mark, proved difficult to score on, its defense harassing the Panthers throughout the afternoon.
Clint Daniels had a team-best 16 tackles, with Zach Stevenson contributing 11 tackles. Jeff Guadagnolo (seven tackles) and Sean Cooper (six tackles) were close behind.
Only once, when Caleb Green threw a 36-yard touchdown pass to Zach Kudia and Rob Yeomans added a two-point conversion, did Port Byron break through.
However, that 8-0 lead held up for a long while because J-E was making its share of mistakes on the offensive side – some of them due to Panther defensive pressure, others from typical early-season flubs. Overall, the team had 194 total yards, with just 66 yards on the ground.
Despite this, J-E nearly tied it up in the fourth quarter. Zach Frost, back under center after missing much of the 2008 season due to injury, made a big play when, from the 50-yard line, he threw deep and found Jeff Donofrio, who reached the end zone.
Now down 8-6, the Eagles went for two points and a tie, but could not convert.
Needing a drive, Port Byron got it, going 60 yards and taking five minutes off the clock before Travis Snyder went 18 yards for a touchdown. J-E could not answer.
In sharp contrast, Westhill, beaten in each of the last three Section III Class B finals, began its latest quest for glory by overwhelming Phoenix with its potent passing game.
That meant Jeff Law, taking over for the departed Mike DeCarr at quarterback, finding Dan Ross often.
Twice in the first quarter, Law hit Ross for touchdown passes of 49 and 16 yards. For good measure, Law hit tight end Tom Fisher for an eight-yard scoring strike, making it 20-0 before the first quarter was over.
The Warriors settled matters with two more touchdowns by halftime.
Comfortably working behind a brand-new offensive line that included Josh Wilton, Mike Awad, Josh Davoli, Matt Trendowski and Stephan Olney, Law threw his third TD pass to Ross from 20 yards out, and Tyler Nigolian ran 24 yards for another score.
Law threw just nine passes – but seven were caught, for 146 yards, and Nigolian balanced it out with 83 yards on just 10 carries.
Westhill stays on the road Friday to face Chittenango, who dropped its opener to Marcellus 18-6. J-E is home to face Tully, who started with a 44-14 win over Cato-Meridian. Both games start at 7 p.m.