Fayetteville-Manlius running back Trevor Fallon (4) eludes a tackle in front of lineman Andrew Testani (76) during last Friday’s game against CBA. The Hornets gained more than 500 yards on the ground in a 49-35 victory over the Brothers.
When the clock ran out Friday night and the Fayetteville-Manlius football team sealed a 49-35 victory over Christian Brothers Academy, F-M students poured on to the field to celebrate, a ritual seen before.
What was new, though, was having all of those students accompany the Hornets’ players to the “PRIDE” hill adjacent to the field, where together they sang the school’s alma mater.
“It was a great night,” said Hornets head coach Paul Muench. “Football brings the community together and gives them something to rally around.”
Running back Mitch Seabury, who gained 315 yards on 31 carries and scored five touchdowns, said the feeling of beating CBA was “an unreal experience” and ascribed it to his team’s character.
“I have never been with a team with more heart and dedication than this one,” said Seabury. “We give 150 percent every single time.”
All of that effort and emotion was required to gain the Hornets’ first win over CBA since the 2006 Section III Class AA playoffs. Also needed was a defense that clamped down after a wild second quarter that saw each side score four times for a combined 57 points.
F-M led, 7-6, when Seabury converted for the first time from 11 yards out. Within 90 seconds, SirVocea Dennis had gone on a zig-zagging, tackle-breaking 72-yard sprint to the end zone and Zach Page had answered with his own 10-yard TD run.
It went from there, Dennis having to carry much of the offensive burden for CBA as Stevie Scott sat out with a foot injury suffered the week before against Elmira, but pulling it off, at least for a while, though the Brothers’ defense continued to get overpowered by F-M’s run-oriented attack.
With 17 seconds left in the half, on third-down-and-10, Seabury scored his third TD on a 66-yard run down the right sideline to break a 28-28 tie. Yet that was enough time for the Brothers to get to F-M’s 47 and then throw to the end zone as time ran out, where Malcolm Jackson hauled it in to tie it again, 35-35.
Muench said his team was “playing awful tentative”, so he, along with defensive coordinator Dan Conley, lit into the players and asked for more intensity. They got it, on both sides of the ball.
Page, who finished with 141 yards on 19 carries, gained 52 of those yards to set up Mikey Porter’s two-yard TD plunge that gave F-M the lead for good early in the third quarter.
Porter made another big play with a third-down pass to Page (one of just two passes he completed all night) on the Hornets’ next possession. One play later, Seabury dashed 55 yards to his fifth touchdown.
Seabury gave full credit to his offensive line, which included John Buonfiglio, Andrew Testani, Joe Anderson, Andrew Guillaume, Charles Gadsen and Preston Koester, for wearing down CBA’s front line and helping the Hornets amass 530 yards on the ground by game’s end.
Meanwhile, F-M’s defensive aggression swarmed through the Brothers’ front line, and Dennis had to leave the game late in the third quarter with an injury. Try as he could, backup Alex Poindexter could not make up for the absence of Dennis, who gained 152 yards on 11 carries and threw for 73 yards before his exit.
The result left both teams with 3-1 records and 2-1 marks in the Class AA-1 division, yet they both could still have a say in the league race because they both host first-place Central Square (4-0) in the next two weeks.
CBA faces the Redhawks next Friday, one day after F-M’s non-league test against another undefeated opponent – this one Indian River, who is 4-0 and no. 11 in the state Class A rankings.
First, though, the Hornets had a brief chance to savor this night Muench said the entire evening, from the moment the players ran on the field before kickoff to the time they ran together with the students to the “PRIDE” hill, was a tribute not just to his team’s effort, but the respect they showed for the CBA program they finally beat.