SECTION IV FOOTBALL: HORSEHEADS CONTROLS UNION-ENDICOTT IN CLASS A SEMIFINAL
By Brian Fees
Broome County Sports Report
HORSEHEADS — Before the game Horseheads coach Kevin Hillman had an idea of what the Blue Raiders needed to do against Union-Endicott in the Section 4, Class A semifinals.
He felt like his team needed to put drives together and keep the U-E offense off the field.
Mission accomplished as the Blue Raiders ran 33 plays for 258 yards in the first half, while limiting the Tigers to just 13 first-half plays for 28 yards as the Blue Raiders went on to a 37-8 win.
The Blue Raiders advance to the sectional final and will be at Vestal next week.
“I think that was huge,” Hillman said of the strong start. “I think we talked about hat, coming out and setting the tone, getting ahead early. I thought if we could do that we could build on the momentum. A lot of times we struggle, we get behind a little bit, we don’t move the ball. Offensively we kind of hit with all cylinders right from the beginning, which is great.”
Horseheads marched right down the field, going 80 yards on nine plays to take the early lead, which they would never relinquish.
“It did make it a little tough, we are a young team,” Union-Endicott coach Tom Baleno said. “I thought we made some mistakes and we didn’t execute the way we planned on. It showed. It was hard to come back once they started getting momentum. We couldn’t get that momentum back and things kind of got out of hand.”
The Blue Raiders established the rung game right from the first drive. After a six-yard pass from Dominic Cardinale to Bradock Salisbury on third and six, the Blue Raiders got a 56-yard run by Lucas Mosher three plays later as they ended up capping the opening drive with a one-yard Mosher run. The kick failed and it was 6-0 Horseheads at 7:50 of the opening quarter.
“I was gassed a little bit,” Mosher said of the big run. “But, it got me hyped.”
Union-Endicott got a big kick return by Cooper Hughes to put themselves at the Horseheads 37-yard-line, but the Blue Raiders defense held the Tigers to one yard over three plays to force a punt.
“That was huge to be able to go get the three and outs, even at times when our special teams wasn’t great and they had the ball on our side,” Hillman said. “To be able to shut them down and force them to punt was huge.
“It keeps the momentum on our side and keeps us going.”
Horseheads got the ball back and picked up 38 yards on the drive, but in the end they punted. The Bradock Salisbury punt went 41 yards and was covered by Bryce Thomas at the one yard line leaving the Tigers pinned back into their own territory.
Union-Endicott went 3-and-out and were forced to punt and the Blue Raiders went right back to work.
Horseheads went 60 yards on nine plays, all rushing plays, with Mosher capping the drive with a five-yard run at 8:36 of the second quarter. Salisbury took the ball on a reverse and threw it to Josh McCawley for the two-point conversion to make it 14-0.
Those first three drives consisted of 178 yards of offense, a majority of it in the run game as the offensive line was dominant up front.
“They did a great job and we had some guys who had to step in,” Hillman said. “Griff Stevens, who is our tight end, went to guard. We had some injuries and Josh McCawley went to tight end and they did a great job.
“All those guys up front, I have to give those guys credit. To (Robert) Peckham to (Taliq) Weigle to (Dylan) Chalk to Maddox Hughe, all those guys they did an awesome, awesome job.”
The running backs know how impressive the line was all game.
“Our offensive line executed very well,” Salisbury said. “Our running backs just have one job and that’s to let them block and we try and hit those holes hard every play.”
Union-Endicott got their initial first down of the game on the next drive as they got a pair of runs by Hughes and a Quadir Shabazz run. That’s when the Blue Raiders got a big sack on third and 10 to force a punt.
For Horseheads the energy was there throughout the game as they were fired up to try and advance.
“We have a really good group of seniors,” Salisbury said. “Seeing it was a do or die game and all of us executing and putting our heart into the game, we made it happen.”
Horseheads got the ball back and went 80 yards for the second time in the half, this time on 11 plays, with Finn Scanlon Shaw capping the drive with a six yard touchdown run with just 17 seconds left. Trevor Reidy hit the extra point and it was 21-0 at the half. The touchdown was set up by a 28-yard run by Mosher with 30 seconds left in the half to move the ball to the six.
Mosher had 126 yards on 13 carries in just the first half of the game and Salisbury had 74 yards in the half as the two combined for 200 yards on the ground in the opening 24 minutes.
“It’s awesome, you have to different run styles going at it all game,” Salisbury said. Can’t get any better than that.
“Definitely keeps defenses off balance. That’s why I think we are going to be such a great team offensively. You can’t just pick one guy, we have so many special guys on the team.”
The two fed off each other all game.
“Kind of like a competition out there, if only I was that fast though,” Mosher said.
For Union-Endicott they wanted to stick to their game plan, but that’s tough when you don’t run many plays. Of the 28 yards the Tigers had in the first half 22 came on a pass to end the half.
“We try to stick to our game plan as much as possible, but I think in the first half we only had 12 offensive plays,” Baleno said. “We weren’t able to slow them down and they were able to march down the field, chew up the clock and punch it in. Overall the kids played hard and they gave a good effort, but today wasn’t their day.”
The Blue Raiders know how crucial it was to keep the Tigers athletes off the field.
“That’s the big thing is keeping those guys off the field,” Hillman said.
Union-Endicott was forced to punt to start the second half and on the second play of the drive Horseheads got a 62-yard touchdown run by Salisbury with 7:59 left in the third quarter. The two-point try failed and it was 27-0.
The Tigers went 3-and-out, going for it at their own 27 on fourth down, and Horseheads quickly scored on three plays with Salisbury going in from 11 yards out with 6:06 left in the third. Reidy hit the kick and it was 34-0.
The Tigers got on the board on their next drive as Joseph Gennarelli completed four passes for 49 yards on the drive, the final a 13-yard touchdown pass to Cameron Nunn with 11:55 left in the game. Gennarelli hit Shabazz on the two-point try.
Horseheads capped the scoring gin the game with a 30-yard field goal by Reidy with 7:06 left.
For Horseheads getting the run game going early was big.
“That was huge,” Hillman said. “I think in our first game that took us a while. We didn’t run the ball that well. We hit some pass plays and later on in the game we moved the ball. For these guys to come out right off the bat and really push the pile a little bit and give our guys some room to make plays is huge.
“Because, when you give those guys room to make some plays they make plays, it’s tough to bring them down in space. I think they had probably a ton of yards after contact, which is huge. We put the ball in their hands and give them space and good things happen.”
Horseheads ran for 388 yards on the day, holding the Tigers to 27 yards on the ground.
The Blue Raiders got 172 yards from Salisbury and 166 from Mosher as they combined for 338 yards on the night. Scanlon-Shaw had 52 yards.
Cardinale threw for 29 yards, with Salisbury hauling in two catches and Miles Woodhouse making a catch. Miles Barnes III had an interception for Horseheads in the fourth quarter.
Gennarelli Jr. threw for 66 yards on 6-for-11 passing. Nunn had four grabs, Hughes had two and Shabazz had a catch. Shabazz ran for 19 yards, Hughes ran for 17 and Nunn 16.
For Horseheads players the win was a reversal of what happened to them two years ago when they were beaten by the Tigers on the Blue Raiders field for the sectional title.
“We still have those feelings in the back of our minds from two years ago,” Salisbury said. “Coming out here and just executing after the feeling we had two years ago, it feels nice that the roles are reversed now.”
Union-Endicott is a younger team and Baleno hopes the players can learn from this experience.
“Hopefully we learn from it,” he said. “Like I told them before, all you can do in life is give great effort. Give great effort being a good son, give good effort being a good brother, a good uncle, a good father, a good husband at some point in your life. Just give everything you have and live in the moment and cherish the friendships and the people around you. That’s what we kind of build ourselves on at UE and hopefully that’s what we take season after season and we learn playing the game of football.”
Now it’s on to face Vestal in the sectional final for the Blue Raiders. The Golden Bears beat Horseheads in the regular season.
“As soon as that game ended we were having the feeling we were going to play them again,” Salisbury said. “This time we are going to do our best to make it a different outcome.”
PHOTOS BY ANTHONY GOSS
HORSEHEADS 37, U-E 8
U-E 0 0 0 8 — 8
HORSEHEADS 6 15 13 3 — 37
H: Lucas Mosher 1 yard run (Kick failed), 7:50
H: Mosher 5 yard run (Josh McCawley from Bradock Salisbury), 8:36
H: Finnian Scanlon-Shaw 6 yards (Trevor Reidy kick), :17
H: Bradock Salisbury 62 yard run (Try failed), 7:59
H: Salisbury 11 yard run (Reidy kick), 6:06
UE: Cameron Nunn 13 yards from Joseph Gennarelli Jr. (Qadir Shabazz from Gennarelli Jr.), 11:55
H: Trevor Reidy 30 yard field goal, 7:06
Bryce Thomas 3-3; Salisbury 14-172; Mosher 22-166; Scanlon-Shaw 6-52; Dominic Cardinale 4-(-5)
Cooper Hughes 9-17; Qymani Viera-Powell 1-2; Joseph Gennarelli Jr. 4-(-27); Cameron Nunn 3-16; Qadir Shabazz 3-19
Gennarelli Jr. 6-11-66-0-1
Salisbury 2-19; Miles Woodhouse 1-10
Shabazz 1-22; Hughes 2-16; Nunn 4-28
RUSHING 49-388 21-27
PASSING 3-6-29 6-11-66
TOTAL YARDS 417 93
INTERCEPTIONS: H: Miles Barnes III
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