Football Bearcats rally past Cazenovia; Mustangs oust CVA

Football Bearcats rally past Cazenovia; Mustangs oust CVA

first_imgShare this:FacebookTwitterLinkedInRedditComment on this Story Confronted with the possible conclusion of its dream season, the Solvay football team responded the way a champion would.The Bearcats rallied from four different seven-point deficits in Friday night’s opening-round Section III Class B playoff game against Cazenovia, scoring the game’s final 21 points to defeat the Lakers 42-28 and improve to 8-0.Not far away, Marcellus also kept its sectional championship hopes alive, the Mustangs holding off visiting Central Valley Academy 17-14 to move to 7-1, its lone blemish a defeat to Solvay.At Al Merola Field, Solvay was hosting a post-season game for the first time in a decade. It just so happened that Cazenovia was on the other side, and even though the Lakers had finished fourth in Class B East, it still carried a deep recent history of playoff success, having reached at least the sectional finals each of the last seven years.And it was the Lakers striking first, pinning Solvay inside its five-yard line with the opening kickoff and forcing a bad punt that set up a short field and Ryan Romagnoli’s 15-yard touchdown run less than four minutes into the game.As it would do all night, the Bearcats answered, Brock Bagozzi’s passes setting up a 16-yard scoring strike to Justin Scott. They stayed 7-7 through the end of the first quarter, each side fumbling the ball away on consecutive plays.Not even a minute into the second period, Romagnoli scored again on a 15-yard run after setting up the TD with a 29-yard pass to Keegan Bailey. Two minutes later, it was tied again, 14-14, two long Bagozzi pass plays leading to an eight-yard strike to Zach Bowen.Romagnoli found Bailey again on a three-yard TD pass after his own 50-yard kick return set it up. Solvay responded this time with a 71-yard drive, all on the ground, with Blaine Franklin accounting for most of the yards until Elijah Wright scored on fourth and goal with 1:21 left in the half.Intermission arrived with the Bearcats and Lakers level at 21-21, but they were far from done exchanging momentum.Bailey’s interception midway through the third quarter was followed, seconds later, by him catching a 26-yard screen pass from Romagnoli and Ty Freyer finding the end zone one play later.Solvay absorbed this and, trailing for the fourth time at 28-21, had Bagozzi throw 41 yards to Bowen to launch another drive that, on fourth-and-goal, ended with Bagozzi throwing four yards to Scott in the end zone.A.J. Rothfeld blocked Ethan Bigelow’s extra point to preserve a 28-27 Cazenovia lead, but as it had done throughout the season when tested, the Bearcats came up with big plays.None was more important than defensive end Brad Lando’s interception of a Romagnoli screen pass inside the Cazenovia 15 that led to Wright’s go-ahead two-yard TD run in the first minute of the fourth quarter.Bagozzi ran in for two points, and Solvay led for the first time, 35-28. More importantly, its defense began to contain Cazenovia’s multifaceted attack, making three crucial stops as the game went down the stretch.To put the game away, Bagozzi made two big completions – 15 yards to Scott, 13 yards to Russell Tarbell on fourth down – which led to Jaimen Bliss, returning to the offense after missing two games due to injury, going 15 yards for the clinching score with 1:49 left.Solvay now advances to face New Hartford (who defeated South Jefferson 35-12) in the sectional semifinals, while Marcellus will face 8-0 Oneida in the wake of its hard-fought win over a Central Valley Academy side that entered the night with a five-game win streak.Throughout the first half, the Mustangs used its trademark ground game to move the ball at will against the Thunder’s defense. Twice, it led to the end zone as Nick Kermes scored on a pair of three-yard runs.As it turned out, though, it was Paul Stewart’s 22-yard field goal just before halftime that was the most important points of the night, for it provided some insurance against CVA’s comeback attempt.Michael Dihrberg threw a 33-yard TD pass to Cole Brewer in the second quarter to get the Thunder on the board, and CVA scored again in the third period. But all through a tense fourth quarter, the Mustangs’ defense made the stops it needed.And now the sectional Class B semifinals loom. next Friday, Marcellus and Oneida meet at 6:30 at Vernon-Verona-Sherrill and, a half-hour later, Solvay kicks off against New Hartford at Jamesville-DeWitt, with berths in the Nov. 9 sectional final at the Dome on the line. Tags: footballMarcellusSolvaylast_img

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