Liverpool running back Donovan Card runs toward Corcoran's Donte Allen (29) and other Cougar defenders in Friday night's game. Card's fourth-quarter touchdown helped the Warriors prevail 7-6.
Two seasons ago, the Liverpool football team endured a season-opening, nail-biting win over Corcoran that proved the springboard for back-to-back Section III Class AA championship game appearances.
Again in 2016, the Warriors opened against the Cougars – and again, a close and tense battle went in Liverpool’s favor as a combination of timely plays and good fortune helped produce a 7-6 victory Friday night at LHS Stadium.
Going into the season, Liverpool understood that its biggest challenge was finding offensive contributors that could come close to matching the production lost when the likes of Jaydakis Scott departed. Also, the Warriors were breaking in a brand-new offensive line.
At the same time, though, Liverpool did express confidence that its defense, so dominant in 2015, could have another strong season. The Corcoran game proved this point, with the Warriors blanking the Cougars throughout the first three quarters.
Yet Matt Rioux, Donovan Card and the rest of Liverpool’s offense could not take full advantage of this situation. Twice in the first quarter, it drove deep into Corcoran territory, but did not score either time.
Gaining momentum from those stops, the Cougars continued to stymie the Warriors in the second and third periods, too, and got its own chance when Jaquail Everson broke loose for a 24-yard run late in the third quarter.
In the opening minute of the final period, Corcoran reached Liverpool’s one-yard line, and Jahaad Henry sneaked it in the end zone for the game’s first points. However, the conversion was missed – the game’s most important play, as it turned out.
With added urgency, Liverpool sustained another drive, and this time finished it off when Card, from Corcoran’s 18, took a handoff and dashed left, making it for a touchdown.
Now it was up to Patrick DelGobbo, who had lived throughout the off-season remembering the extra point that got away late in last November’s state semifinal against Rochester Aquinas. DelGobbo’s kick was good this time around.
A Cougars turnover with 3:24 left gave Liverpool a chance to put the game away, but it could not, and Corcoran had one more chance, dashing down to the Warriors’ 43. Then, with 20 seconds to play, Thrice Williams ran right, threw deep and found Cameron Robinson in the end zone.
But a flag negated that possible winning touchdown. Whether it was for an ineligible receiver or for Williams crossing the line of scrimmage before releasing the football, the call was disputed by Corcoran, but it stood.
Relieved, Liverpool stopped the possession and held on to win, now able to look ahead to its next test a week from now at Rome Free Academy, who lost a 35-32 thriller to its biggest rival, Utica Proctor, in its season opener.