Once it got the Section III Class B playoff home game it desired so much, the Marcelllus football team wasn’t about to waste that opportunity.
With Nick Patterson Jr. accounting for more than 400 total yards and five touchdowns, the Mustangs fought off a challenge from visiting Utica-Notre Dame Friday night and, by a 43-30 margin, earned its seventh win in a row.
Going in, the Jugglers’ main concern was how it would fare against a strong Marcellus defense, and UND did quite well there – but forgot about taking care of the other side of the ball.
Patterson’s long runs from scrimmage set up a series of early scores, whether it was Mike Licamele’s eight-yard run or a pair of his own touchdown sprints, one of them from 11 yards out.
And every time the Jugglers put together a drive of its own, Patterson had an answer. The victory wasn’t sealed until he had thrown a 19-yard TD pass to Matt Reich or took off on a 58-yard sprint to the end zone.
All told, Patterson ran for a career-best 302 yards on 19 carries to go with completing seven of 17 passes for 123 yards. Licamele ran for 80 yards on 23 carries as Conner Wixson caught four passes for 57 yards.
A day later, Marcellus would go to Buckley-Volo Field to see its neighbors from Westhill overwhelmed by defending sectional champion Cazenovia in a 61-18 defeat that set up a sectional semifinal next weekend between the Mustangs and Lakers.
As the fourth-place finisher in the B West division, Westhill knew that anything other than flawless execution would not work against Cazenovia, especially after the Lakers scored on its opening possession when Jake Macheda made a one-handed grab of a Matt Regan swing pass and sprinted 31 yards to the end zone.
On the Warriors’ next play from scrimmage, a fumble was pounced on by Cazenovia defensive lineman Evan Duskee at the Westhill 30, and Regan immediately threw deep over the middle, finding Kevin Stalder for a touchdown. Those two scores came just 23 seconds apart.
Before the first quarter was done, Macheda had scored again, on a 16-yard run, with Regan’s extra point making it 21-0, just the start of a Lakers first-half clinic on both sides of the ball.
A series of sacks pinned Westhill at its one-yard line, leading to a short punt that Matt McLaughlin returned inside the Warriors’ 20. Three plays later, Regan found Stalder in the end zone from 18 yards out.
Another short scoring drive involved Will Huftalen taking a Regan screen pass near midfield, picking up blocks and dashing up the middle 53 yards to the end zone.
Not leaving anything out, the Lakers made it 35-0 late in the half right after a short Westhill punt. Macheda took a toss, ran right and then threw a perfect spiral to Huftalen in the end zone.
Westhill did score right before the break on Zavion Barrott’s 16-yard TD pass to Wyatt Lavigne, but the Lakers’ defense answered with interceptions from McLaughlin aNolan Frisbey in the third quarter, along with Regan’s 67-yard TD run down the left sideline where he broke several Westhill tackles.
As if that wasn’t enough, the reserves produced two touchdowns in 19 seconds during the fourth quarter thanks to Tony Heaney’s five-yard run and Isaac Senehi’s 30-yard interception return.
Fighting to the end, the Warriors did score twice against Cazenovia’s defensive reserves as Marcus Welch ran one in and threw another scoring pass to Luke McAnaney on the game’s last play.
Now it’s the task of Marcellus to try and stop the Lakers machine, with the prize a trip to the Carrier Dome Nov. 4 for a sectional final against Homer or Vernon-Verona-Sherrill. Both semifinals are Friday at Chittenango High School, starting at 5 p.m.
In crossover games on Friday, West Genesee dropped a 38-20 decision to Auburn, while Solvay lost, 35-30, to Oneida despite Nate Gardner catching three passes for 165 yards and two touchdowns. John Bliss added a 70-yard scoring run.