Oct 22, 2010 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Two long months ago, Christian Brothers Academy’s football team met up with West Genesee in a pre-season scrimmage. In the course of that gathering, the Brothers struggled, and learned plenty about what it still needed to do in order to improve.
Just how much CBA had improved became quite evident to the Wildcats when the two sides reunited Friday night at Alibrandi Stadium in the opening round of the Section III Class AA playoffs. With big plays on one side and a crunching defense on the other side, the Brothers roared to a 54-6 victory and moved to 8-0 on the season.
And with that win, the Brothers advanced to next Saturday’s AA semifinals, where it will face Utica Proctor at 4 p.m. at Cicero-North Syracuse’s Bragman Stadium. The Raiders knocked off long-time rival Rome Free Academy 42-28 in its opening-round game. CBA and Proctor are battling for a spot against Fayetteville-Manlius or Baldwinsville in the Nov. 7 title game in the Carrier Dome.
WG, following a 1-4 start, had won its last two games of the regular season to sneak into the playoffs and, with a potent passing game, carried the belief that it could solve the Brothers’ defensive riddle. But it took just one quarter of play for CBA to dispel any upset plans.
On its second possession following a short WG punt, the Brothers moved to the Wildcats’ 31-yard line, where Tyler Hamblin threw long and found Manny Collins, who went the rest of the way for the game’s first touchdown.
Moments later, Dan Patone intercepted Matt Naton’s pass, setting up a short field for CBA. A series of runs led to Hamblin going two yards for the TD, which made it 14-0, but the Brothers were only beginning its assault on the scoreboard.
Tailback Anthony Bunn, in particular, took over. Just before the first quarter ended, Bunn took a handoff and tore through the Wildcats’ secondary on a 47-yard sprint to the end zone, expanding CBA’s lead to 20-0. Then, in the second period, Bunn scored twice more on long runs – one covering 46 yards, the other going 24 yards.
In between all this, WG did get on the board when Naton threw a 61-yard TD pass to Sean Howard, as Howard made several nifty moves on the scoring play. Still, CBA had seized a 34-6 lead at halftime as its offensive line, led by Nick Fusillo, Ben Barrett, Jess Drazek, John Hillenbrand and Homer Davis, dominated the line of scrimmage against the Wildcats.
CBA continued to pull away in the third quarter, scoring twice more as Hamblin hit Greg Thomson on a 19-yard scoring pass and found Collins again from 25 yards out just before the period ended.
By the time it was done, the Brothers had amassed 526 yards of offense. Bunn finished with 179 yards on just eight carries, with Mike Vavonese contributing 115 yards, also on eight carries.
Hamblin, who ran for 61 yards, completed eight of 10 passes for 121 yards, while Naton threw 33 times, getting 19 completions for 247 yards but also throwing a pair of interceptions. With the loss, WG’s record fell to 3-5.
In Utica Proctor (7-1), the Brothers face a fast-paced, high-powered offense that has scored an average of more than 35 points per game. Quarterback Jordan Treen is dangerous both throwing and running the ball, and tailback Jordan Pete, who had 204 yards and three touchdowns in the playoff win over RFA, has sprinter’s speed.