Pat Hackler put forth his own version of the “Saturday Night Special”, much to the delight of Skaneateles football and all of its fans.
The Lakers played its Section III Class C opening-round playoff game against Little Falls at Hyatt Stadium on Saturday evening, rather than on Friday.
The extra 24 hours gave Skaneateles a chance to see how the other Class C sectional favorites, state no. 2-ranked General Brown and state no. 3-ranked Canastota, received scares in their playoff openers before advancing. And the Lakers wanted no part of that suspense.
Hackler made sure this was the case, unloading on Little Falls’ defense by throwing for seven touchdowns as Skaneateles defeated the Mounties 48-6 in its first post-season home game since the 2012 sectional title run.
It only took a few minutes for the aerial show to start as, from his own 25, Hackler threw a first-quarter pass to Nate Wellington that, with Wellington’s speed, turned into a 75-yard dash to the end zone.
From there, the Lakers were kept quiet until the second quarter, when it struck for 21 points, all but putting Little Falls away.
Nick Wamp started that barrage by catching a 41-yard TD pass from Hackler. Then Cross Bianchi joined the big-play fray when, from the Skaneateles 18, he grabbed a long Heckler delivery and went 82 yards for the night’s longest scoring play.
A second Hackler-to-Bianchi TD connection, covering 36 yards, extended the Lakers’ lead to 28-0 by halftime, but even there the home side was not done.
During a 20-point third quarter, Hackler went deep to Wamp for a 64-yard scoring pass, and then topped that with a 71-yard TD strike to Wellington before the seventh scoring pass went 31 yards to Bianchi.
Half of Hackler’s 14 completions on 23 attempts went for scores and added up to 448 passing yards. Wellington gained 202 yards on just four catches, with Bianchi catching five passes for 159 yards and Wamp amassing 121 yards on three catches.
And it wasn’t like the Lakers abandoned its ground game, either, as top back Areh Boni broke free several times on his way to 113 yards on nine carries.
Now the Lakers could turn its attention to the sectional Class C semifinal against Canastota, who is 8-0 but had to survive a 14-7 first-round battle with Thousand Islands, by far its closest game of the season.
This game kicks off at 5 p.m. Saturday at Cicero-North Syracuse’s Bragman Stadium. The winner here goes to the Carrier Dome Nov. 4 for the sectional final against General Brown or Sherburne-Earlville, who meet in the other semifinal Saturday, also at C-NS, kicking off at 2 p.m.