West Genesee punches ticket to sectional final for first time since 2011

first_img Comments CICERO– Liverpool appeared ready to answer West Genesee again. The two teams traded punches the entire night, and the Section III semifinal filled with mistakes came down to one drive. Liverpool had a chance to deliver the last blow, a final score in the closing three minutes that would have almost certainly won the game.Liverpool needed a 4th and 13 conversion, one pass completion, when they hadn’t converted one for the entire night. Quarterback Alex Ruston dropped back, rolled a few steps to his left within the pocket and fired towards his biggest target, 6-foot-5 Kaleb Ohlemacher. Ohlemacher leaped and reached his arms up to no avail. The ball deflected off his fingertips, the final time a Liverpool player would touch the ball. West Genesee turned to its seniors repeatedly in Friday night’s semifinal to clinch its spot in the final, defeating Liverpool 17-14 at Cicero-North Syracuse. They will now take on Cicero-North Syracuse next Saturday in the Carrier Dome in the Section III Class AA final. It’ll be the Wildcats first sectional final since they won in 2011. Last year, West Genesee didn’t qualify for the playoffs, but they knew this year could be special. AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“We knew tonight was going to be physical, and we had to be ready,” West Genesee head coach Joe Corley said. “It was a battle of two great teams.”When senior Brad May was a freshman, he said his coaches at the time told the varsity staff that his class could be special. Last year’s Wildcats weren’t ready or experienced enough, senior quarterback Tyler Cook said. They finished 4-5. “We were really young last year,” Cook said. “We knew this year could be special because we have a great coaching staff and a great group of guys.”Cook sat on the bench and observed last year. He learned the playbook and the offense. And Friday night, when West Genesee needed to produce one drive and one stop, the more experienced Wildcats prevailed.Liverpool rushed for 234 yards, but they passed for zero. Ruston attempted six passes, none caught. West Genny benefitted from two gifted turnovers, both off the hands of Ruston. Those two fourth-quarter drives sealed a spot in the next week’s sectional final in the Carrier Dome.The Wildcats turned the ball over three times themselves, two interceptions and a fumble deep in their own territory on the second half kick return. Liverpool started at the West Genesee 28-yard line. They didn’t score, failing a 4th-and-6 on an incomplete screen pass. But after Liverpool running back Cade Clouthier punched in a 4th-and-goal two-yard touchdown to give the Warriors a 14-10 lead, the Wildcats sideline went silent. Clouthier capped off a seven carry Liverpool touchdown drive similar to the first. They didn’t attempt a pass. In response, West Genesee turned to May seven times on its final full drive. While only throwing one pass on its game-winning drive, West Genesee stayed ahead of the chains. On third and goal from the one, May punched in the final touchdown up the middle. He waltzed into the end zone.“We knew they had a really tough defense,” Cook said. “We tried to just execute our game plan and treat it like they weren’t a good defense.” As simple as May’s game-winning steps into the end zone were, both offenses made countless mistakes. After Liverpool’s opening touchdown, seven of the next eight drives ended in turnovers or punts. The only successful drive was just one yard after Ruston’s second fumble in as many plays gave West Genny the ball on the goal line.West Genny forced enough negative plays to leave Liverpool in a pass-only situation on its final drive. For an offense that has relied heavily on its two running backs, Clouthier and Jacob Vacco, Rustin couldn’t rescue the Warriors. His sailed pass to Ohlemacher, followed by six consecutive runs by May to run out the clock, ended Liverpool’s season one step short of a night in the Dome. For West Genny, the Wildcats have a chance to avenge a 27-10 loss to C-NS from Sept. 28, when they trailed from the opening play. On that night, two long touchdowns doomed the Wildcats. One came on the opening play from scrimmage.“They’re a powerhouse team,” Cook said. “We need to be ready and learn from last time. I definitely like the warm (of the Dome), though.” Published on October 27, 2018 at 12:43 am Contact Anthony: [email protected]center_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more