Sep 14, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
In many different ways, the Cazenovia football team was not acting like itself in the first half of Saturday’s home opener against Central Valley Academy at Buckley-Volo Field.
True, the Lakers were putting points on the board – but so was the Thunder. And CVA was also accumulating 267 yards on the ground, pushing around a Cazenovia defense unaccustomed to such struggles.
It wasn’t until the third quarter that the Lakers took control, on both sides of the ball, and it went on to defeat the Thunder 49-20, moving to 2-0 on the season and atop the Class B East division standings again.
CVA is the newly combined school composed of the former Ilion and Mohawk districts. In its gridiron debut on Sept. 6, the Thunder rolled past Mexico 30-9, almost exclusively focusing its attack on the ground.
And that’s exactly what CVA would do against the Lakers, too, a task made easier by the fact that two of Cazenovia’s top linemen, Cody Westfall and Reed Lucas, missed the game due to injuries. The Thunder would not throw a single pass in the first half.
From a close formation, the Thunder would pound the ball up the middle, and then, when the Lakers packed it in, it went outside on traps and counter plays. In one of them, Tyler Brown cut loose for an 80-yard touchdown late in the first quarter, responding to Cazenovia’s initial score on Kevin Hopsicker’s 27-yard pass to Alex Devine.
Hopsicker’s second long pass to Devine, covering 33 yards, set up Andrew Vogl’s nine-yard scoring run on the first play of the second quarter, which made it 14-6. Again, CVA answered, Brown going 29 yards to set up Mykel Farley’s 16-yard TD run and Travis Mead’s two-point conversion, which tied it, 14-14.
Mike Nourse broke loose for a 28-yard run, leading to Hopsicker’s one-yard scoring plunge on fourth-and-goal midway through the period. CVA used the remaining five-plus minutes to drive the length of the field, only to get stopped inside the 10 as the clock ran out on the half.
So Cazenovia enjoyed a 21-14 halftime edge, but the Thunder’s powerful ground game had caused trouble. And even with Brown missing the rest of the game with an ankle injury, the Lakers had to shore up its defense if it wanted to feel safe.
That’s exactly what happened. Cazenovia forced a three-and-out on CVA’s first possession of the second half, and a poor punt gave the hosts a short field. Utilizing a no-huddle, hurry-up formation, the Lakers with which it drove right to its fourth TD, scored by Vogl from one yard out.
Later in the period, Cazenovia had the ball on its own 39. Vogl went 21 yards on an option, and when the Thunder defenders spread out, Hopsicker ran up the middle 40 yards to the goal line.
As if that wasn’t enough, Joe Nannery recovered the ensuing squib kick and, less than a minute later, Hopsicker, from the CVA 10, swung it out to Vogl, who won the race to the goal line, making it 42-14.
The Thunder had one more bright moment, finally getting a successful pass play with Matt Klosner’s 32-yard TD pass to Farley with 9:56 left. Less than two minutes later, Hopsicker clinched it by finding a wide-open Ryman Seeley for a 39-yard scoring pass.
With a short week to prepare, Cazenovia now heads for a high-profile showdown with Class B West division leader Marcellus (2-0) Thursday night at 7 p.m. in a game televised by Time Warner Cable Sports. The Mustangs are 2-0, having scored 85 combined points in wins over Solvay and Westhill.