Oct 12, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Going up against the state’s no. 8-ranked Class B football team, the Marcellus Mustangs put up an inspiring effort, scoring 45 points on Homer, getting more in one quarter against the Trojans than any of its previous five opponents had pulled off in an entire game this fall.
And still it wasn’t enough.
In a game that went past the century mark in combined points, Homer had more of them, getting a career-best performance from tailback Alec Bush and outlasting the Mustangs 58-45.
The loss dropped Marcellus to 3-3 on the season, 3-2 in Class B West, but it still could earn second place (and an opening-round Section III playoff game) if it wins next Friday at Phoenix.
That’s because Chittenango, right after beating the Mustangs, lost to Cortland 20-16, all but dousing the Bears’ playoff hopes, and Marcellus holds head-to-head tie-breakers over Cortland and Westhill, thanks to wins over each of them back in September.
Westhill’s league slate is complete, having gone 4-2 against B West, a vast improvement from the last two years, capped by Friday night’s 56-6 romp over Phoenix where it scored 42 first-half points.
But the real excitement was up at Marcellus, where the fired-up Mustangs did something similar to what it accomplished Sept. 19 against defending sectional champion Cazenovia, in terms of lighting up the board early, but proving unable to sustain its success long-term.
Donning black jerseys instead of the usual green, Marcellus trailed, 6-0, in a matter of seconds when the Trojans’ Jayden Gavidia returned the kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown.
Undaunted, the Mustangs put together a series of scoring drives. Tom Keegan threw a pair of scoring passes – one to Wyatt Stehle, the other to Mike Hastings – as the Trojans’ Alec Bush got a TD of his own and Joel Christopher added a 23-yard field goal.
Marcellus kept answering every time Homer got close, including one TD on a hook-and-lateral play, Hastings finishing off the score as, at one point late in the half, the Mustangs enjoyed a 29-16 lead.
But just like Cazenovia did, Homer roared back, seizing a 30-29 lead by halftime. Bush scored his second TD, on a 32-yard sprint to the end zone, but the game’s biggest play came right before the break.
Pinned deep in his own territory, Keegan tried to throw near the goal line, only to have Homer’s Anthony Basile gain the interception at the Mustangs’ five and walk into the end zone.
Christopher’s extra point meant that Marcellus, despite all of its good work, trailed at the break, and it never fully recovered, despite two more scoring drives and Keegan’s 25-yard TD run.
Bush, all told, finished with 322 yards on 26 carries, one of the largest single-game totals in Section III this season, and that included a 66-yard TD run in the third quarter that helped the Trojans gain a cushion.
Keegan nearly matched Bush’s offensive total, running for 117 yards on 21 carries,and then completing 17 of 34 passes for 212 yards, most of it to Hastings, who had six catches for 124 yards.
Big numbers were also present at Westhill, where Ryan Obrist sparked the romp over Phoenix by blocking a Firebirds punt and returning it 31 yards for a first-quarter touchdown.
It was 14-0 by the time the period ended, Ja’Shai Jamison breaking loose through the Phoenix secondary on a 62-yard scoring run, his longest of the season. That set things up for Reed Derenbacher’s big second-quarter passing outburst.
Three times in that period, Derrenbacher threw scoring passes, going 55 yards to Jack Centore, 29 yards to Joe Rainone and 30 yards to Brendan Fesinger. As if that wasn’t enough, the Warriors got a defensive TD when Fesinger pounced on a Firebirds fumble and brought it back 31 yards for six.
Ahead 42-6 at halftime, the Warriors throttled back in the second half, even though Jamison added a second TD on a 31-yard sprint and Wyatt Torrence earned his first TD of the season on a 30-yard run in the fourth quarter.
Westhill closes its regular season with a non-league game at Camden next Friday at 7 p.m., just as Marcellus is finishing its work at Phoenix and as Solvay hosts Chittenango.
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