Sep 08, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
When Jordan-Elbridge football head coach Tim Hawkins faces the Bishop Ludden side he used to mentor as an assistant coach this Friday night, he does so flush from the satisfaction of a particularly dramatic season-opening victory.
The Eagles trailed Hannibal with less than a minute to play last Friday in front of a tense home crowd, but turned it around with one big pass play, and went on to defeat the Warriors 29-24.
It didn’t start well for J-E on defense, as it surrendered a pair of first-quarter touchdowns to Hannibal and trailed, 14-7. Quarterback Austin Barrigar accounted for the Eagles’ lone score on a two-yard scramble.
But it all turned around in the second period. Quickly getting used to the rhythms of the varsity game, J-E’s young lineup (30 of the 32 players are underclassmen) managed to outscore the Warriors 14-3 in that frame, answering a field goal with Brad McMahon’s spectacular 85-yard kick return for a touchdown, plus Barrigar’s second TD pass, 14 yards to Kyle Humberstone.
Leading 21-17 at the break, the Eagles again went quiet in the third quarter, Hannibal scrambling its way in front 24-21. But the defense allowed nothing more, as Ryan Matousek led with 11 tackles, six of them solo efforts, with Sean Ryan getting nine tackles. Zach Pangarro and Lamatt Chisholm had seven tackles apiece, with Jordan Forney (six tackles) close behind.
As the final minutes ticked down, Barrigar, who completed nine of 21 passes for 221 yards, drove his team to the Warriors’ 32. Then, with 50 seconds left, Barrigar, under duress from a trio of Hannibal pass rushers, threw deep – and found Zach Pangarro for what proved to be the winning TD.
That was just Pangarro’s second reception all night. Most of the time, Barrigar was looking for Humberstone, who had 170 yards on just five catches, an average of more than 34 yards per catch.
Westhill, trying to stage its own revival (but without the coaching change), took a huge step in that process last Friday by going to Chittenango and beating the Bears in a 21-20 overtime thriller.
Regulation ended at 14-14, and in high school football, overtime sees both teams get a possession on the opponents’ 20-yard line. Going first, Chittenango quickly moved to Westhill’s one-yard line, from where Connor Mills plunged in for the touchdown.
However, the Warriors blocked the extra point, keeping it at 20-14. So when Westhill moved to the Bears’ nine and Reed Derrenbacher found Donovan Whipple in the end zone for the tying points, the Warriors merely needed an extra point to prevail.
Up stepped Colin Henson, already two-for-two in conversions on this night. Calmly, Henson crushed the ball through the uprights, and Westhill had its biggest victory in years.
Chittenango had gone 19-2 the previous two years, with two trips to the Section III Class B final and a championship in 2012 – but it had lost a strong group of seniors, including the likes of Devin Phelps, Kyle Zimmer, Joe Gilona, Steve Billington and Aaron Jones.
Still, the Bears led 7-0 in the second quarter when Westhill sprung to life. Midway through the period, Derrenbacher found Jack Centore for a 22-yard TD pass, and Chris Brusa’s 24-yard run set up a one-yard scoring pass from Derrenbacher to Richie Easterly.
Only a strong defensive stand from the Bears kept the margin at 14-7 going into halftime, and that defense carried over into a scoreless third quarter for both sides. Just as the period ended, though, the Bears moved to the Warriors’ 11, and Matt Cretaro scored from there on the first play of the final period, with the extra point tying it 14-14.
Trying to win it late in regulation, the Bears set up a Matt Milliman field goal chance, but the Warriors blocked it, and while it couldn’t immediately capitalize, in overtime it would do so.
In stark contrast to the happy feelings that J-E and Westhill shared, Bishop Ludden had to take a lot of discouragement out of its opening game, a 41-0 defeat to Syracuse’s Institute of Technology Central at Meachem Field.
With an emphatic performance, the ITC Eagles showed that it might be ready to challenge the supremacy of Skaneateles in Class C West – and Ludden’s one-time head coach, John Cosgrove, finally was able to beat his one-time employer.
Neither offense was sharp in the first quarter, but the Eagles still went in front when Josh Thomas intercepted Conlan McGuire’s pass and returned it 25 yards for a touchdown.
Remarkably, ITC scored again on defense in the second period, with Sayzar Jones picking off McGuire and taking it 40 yards to the end zone, this after Thomas caught an 18-yard TD pass from Tyler Carbonaro.
Ludden trailed, 21-0, at the break, and could not keep the Eagles from getting away. Thomas returned a punt 70 yards for one TD, with Carbonaro throwing a 13-yard scoring pass to Kennan Scott and Josh Holmes running 16 yards for another score.
Making it worse for Ludden is that its next game is against J-E, with Hawkins getting a chance to, like Cosgrove, gain a victory against his one-time team.