Sep 08, 2012 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Rain, wind and real grass created an old-fashioned feel to Saturday’s football showdown between Fayetteville-Manlius and West Genesee.
Just as traditional were the virtues – running game, defense – that largely defined the Hornets’ narrow 14-13 victory over the Wildcats.
F-M improved to 2-0 on the season. WG, meanwhile, fell to 0-2, and just as frustrating for the Wildcats is the fact that both defeats have come by a single point, as it took a 34-33 defeat to Clarence six days earlier in the Carrier Dome.
Now, as then, a missed conversion made the difference. With the score tied 7-7 late in the fourth quarter of a physical, hard-fought contest, Naesean Howard, mostly quiet to that point, took a handoff at his own 10-yard line and tore down the left sideline, changing direction near midfield and going right, to the middle of the field, and finishing off a 90-yard touchdown play.
But the Wildcats were penalized on the ensuing extra point, forcing Brett Colvin to kick the conversion five yards longer. He hit it wide left, keeping the Wildcats’ lead at 13-7 with just 4:36 left.
After a short kickoff, Jake Wittig’s 28-yard run, plus a 15-yard penalty, put the Hornets deep in WG territory. After Ryan Greer’s 16-yard run, Sean Bright (who finished with 156 yards on 28 carries) scored from seven yards out, and Wittig made the extra point.
More than three minutes remained when WG got the ball on its own 35. After Howard picked up a first down, Hornets end Nate Kadah made the game’s two biggest defensive plays, twice tackling Wildcat runners for losses near midfield, which led to a turnover on downs, all but clinching F-M’s victory.
The game was moved to WG’s grass field, as opposed to its usual artificial turf field, and that immediately became a fact when the winds kicked up and the rain fell down in large volume just as the game kicked off.
Not surprisingly, it led to a first half where the offenses on both teams could do little to move the ball. In F-M’s case, it was because Wildcat punter Will Northrop had four times pinned them inside the 10-yard line, which didn’t help matters.
Yet WG could not take advantage of this, its offense sputtering until its last possession of the half. Aided by a roughing-the-passer penalty, the Wildcats moved to the Hornets’ 11, where on fourth down Ginestro rolled right, waited and found Ted Glesener in the back of the end zone for the game’s first TD just 6.3 seconds before halftime.
Late in the third quarter, F-M still trailed 7-0, and had turned the ball over three times with two fumbles and an interception. Seeing this, head coach Paul Muench started to insert his no. 2 quarterback, Wittig, who was more of a running threat than starter Wolfgang Shafer.
“Jake is a more elusive kid, and we were having trouble throwing the ball,” said Muench.
One big run finally put F-M into a good flow, as Bright took off on a 56-yard sprint down the left sideline. And it was Bright going in for the TD from 15 yards out in the final minute of the period, following the blocks of Kadah at tight end, plus linemen Matt McDonough and David Riccione.
So it was 7-7 going to the fourth quarter, where Howard, sidelined for a time due to an injury, roared back into the spotlight with his long TD run, and F-M answered – with the conversion inching the visitors in front.
Aside from Kadah, it was Josh Pulver leading the way for F-M’s defense, registering 10 tackles and intercepting Ginestro during the third quarter.
The Hornets head from this game to another high-profile battle next Friday at 7 p.m. against Baldwinsville. Led by star running back Tyler Rouse, the Bees are also 2-0, coming off a 47-42 win over Henninger.
Seeking to get that elusive first win in 2012, WG will have a chance to do so when it visits Central Square, also 0-2, for a 6:30 kickoff.
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