Sep 15, 2012 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
A punishing ground attack, set up by a powerful offensive line, was the featured attraction Friday night when Fayetteville-Manlius and Baldwinsville got together for an early-season showdown Friday night at Pelcher-Arcaro Stadium.
Only in this case, it was the team in white and green, and not the team in red, that rode its running game to a successful outcome, as Sean Bright and Ryan Greer, escorted by some powerful men up front, led the Hornets past the Bees 34-25.
Playing in wet, windy conditions for the second time in seven days, F-M mostly relied on its powerful duo of backs. Bright carried the ball 38 times, amassing 224 yards and scoring twice, while Greer gained 96 yards on 14 carries, also getting two touchdowns.
Together, the pair managed to outgain B’ville star Tyler Rouse, who still managed 294 yards on 37 carries and scored all four of his team’s touchdowns to keep his side within range all night, even though the Bees never led.
All game long, the Hornets’ line, composed of Matt McDonough, David Riccione, Jake Okun, Gabe Zogby, Matt Stegemann, Dylan Barrera and tight end Nate Kadah, dominated the line of scrimmage, and that didn’t escape Bright’s notice.
“Everyone knows that it all starts with the line,” said Bright. “You need the holes, and when the chips were down, we toughened up.”
Before anyone could start, though, they had to wait out an hour-long delay. A heavy thunderstorm hit the area during warm-ups, sending players and fans to shelter. The storm went away, but the rain would persist through much of the game.
In other words, these were the exact same conditions F-M faced on Sept. 8 when it beat West Genesee 14-13, and unlike that game, the Hornets didn’t wait until the second half to get on the board.
The Hornets scored on its first possession, all on runs from Bright and Greer, the latter going the final 10 yards for the TD. After a B’ville fumble early in the second quarter on its own 20 that Kadah recovered, it took just two plays for F-M to cash in, Bright going three yards for the score.
Trailing 14-0, the Bees came to life when Ricky Sparks returned the ensuing kickoff 44 yards into F-M territory. Rouse got free two plays later, his 37-yard TD run putting B’ville on the board.
Another big return, this one by Shay Sargeant as he ran back a punt 40 yards to F-M’s 40, led to another Rouse TD, from two yards out. Both times, the Bees missed the conversion, so the Hornets went to the break clinging to a 14-12 lead.
For all the work that Bright and Greer did, it was two pass plays that kept F-M out of the Bees’ reach. From the B’ville 40 early in the third quarter, Wolfgang Shafer executed a perfect pump fake, threw deep and found Brendan Gesler for a 40-yard TD pass, which with Jake Wittig’s extra point stretched the lead out to 21-12.
B’ville refused to go away, as Rouse found the end zone twice more in between Bright’s second TD early in the fourth quarter.
A missed Wittig conversion meant that, after Rouse scored his fourth TD on a 12-yard run with 8:02 left, the Bees, down 27-25, had a chance to tie it with two points, but Rouse was stopped inches short of the goal line.
Unfazed, F-M again struck through the air, Shafer going 30 yards to Luke Krizman on third down. From there, it was back to the ground, and when Greer scored from 13 yards out with 6:34 to play and Wittig made the PAT, the Hornets were out of B’ville’s reach.
“The two pass plays really hurt them,” said F-M head coach Paul Muench. “They (B’ville) didn’t believe that it (a pass play) was going to happen.”
Defensively, Josh Pulver led F-M with nine tackles, while Kadah recorded a sack and fumble recovery. Cole Burchill, with 10 tackles (four solo), and Joe Stanard, with eight tackles (six solo), paced the Bees’ defensive effort.
F-M returns home next Friday, aiming for four in a row against Liverpool (2-1), who survived an overtime thriller with Auburn 33-32. B’ville, meanwhile, visits Rome Free Academy (0-3). Both games start at 7 p.m.