Sep 29, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
A large home crowd, a big halftime lead, a chance to knock off the state’s no. 11-ranked Class A team – all was in place for Liverpool football.
And then, in a matter of 24 minutes, everything fell apart.
The Warriors surrendered 42 points in the second half of Friday’s game against Fayetteville-Manlius and seeing a resounding victory turn into a painful 49-37 defeat at LHS Stadium.
Given that both teams had won their respective Class AA-2 division openers (Liverpool over Auburn, F-M over Baldwinsville), whoever won this game would take over first place in the league.
This was F-M’s first true road game of the season, and Liverpool set out to make it a miserable one. They traded touchdowns in the first quarter, the Warriors going up 7-0 on Matt Sala’s 29-yard run, F-M answering on Zaire Ashley’s two-yard plunge.
But the second period completely belonged to the Warriors. Aided by a pair of Hornet turnovers, Liverpool put up 17 unanswered points.
Quarterback Justin Capoto scored from two yards out to put his team in front 14-7, and after Trevor Monk converted a 30-yard field goal, sophomore tailback Jaydakis Scott, who would be a star all night, went 24 yards for the TD.
So Liverpool went into the break ahead 24-7, by far F-M’s largest deficit of the season. Lesser teams may have stood down, but the Hornets did not as junior quarterback Jake Wittig led his side back into the fray in the third quarter.
Twice, F-M moved the ball down the field, and twice it led to touchdown passes, Wittig going 23 yards to Jack Wilson for one score and throwing six yards to Tim Byrnes for the other, which made it 24-21. But Scott answered for Liverpool, going 15 yards for his second TD, though the missed conversion kept it 30-21 going to the final period.
Wittig found Paddy Quinlan from 36 yards out to make it 30-28. A minute later, Scott sprinted 50 yards to score for the third time on the night, breaking several tackles along the way, which extended the Liverpool lead back to 37-28.
Again, F-M rushed down the field, Wittig guiding his team to the Warriors’ 17 before finding Wilson for his fourth TD of the half, and it was 37-35, with still lots of time remaining.
It was here that the Hornets’ defense, pushed around for most of the night, stood up, making a big stop that gave F-M the ball back. With the Warriors expecting more passes, the Hornets instead pounded away, reaching the Liverpool 20, from where Pulver burst up the middle and found the end zone for the go-ahead TD and Wittig followed with a two-point pass to Wilson, making it 43-37.
Behind for the first time all night, the Warriors tried to answer, but got stopped on downs with 2:28 to play. Then the Hornets sealed its comeback when Pulver went eight yards for one final touchdown.
After all this, Liverpool (2-2 overall) has to somehow regroup and focus on next Friday’s game at Utica Proctor, who lost to both of its last two opponents in one-point overtime decisions, to Rome Free Academy (48-47) and Auburn (22-21). Game time is 6:30.