MARCELLUS – The Homer Central football team saw its playoff hopes take a big hit Friday night as a pair of big plays cost the Trojans on the road.
A 70-yard run by Rob Seeley on the first play from scrimmage and a fourthdown touchdown pass with 15 seconds left in the first half helped Marcellus post a 21-14 Section 3 Class B West Division win over Homer. The Mustangs improved to 4-1 in the division and overall. The Trojans fell to 2-3 in division and overall.
“The opening touchdown we gambled,” Homer coach Gary Podsiedlik said. “That’s on me, we missed a tackle. If we had latched on and waited for teammates to come it wouldn’t have been six points.
“The rest of the game we really did a lot of things to counter what they were having success with . We put some things in and rehearsed it during the week, something we hadn’t done this season, and it helped nail down their option game. It was just a couple of big plays. We had a couple of little nicks and dings so we switched some players in. If you only give up 21 points in a high school football game, we should have a chance to win.”
Seeley found a little hole, cut back and proceeded to outrun the Homer defenders for thefirst touchdown just 18 seconds into the game. The kick by Natalie Clere gave the Mustangs a 7-0 lead.
Homer didn’t panic and responded with a 14-play drive that covered 64 yards. Dylan Yacavone capped the drive that took 8:06 off the clock with a threeyard touchdown pass to Charles Lines. The duo combined for the two-point conversion and the Trojans led 8-7 with 3:36 left in the first quarter.
After forcing a Marcellus punt, the Trojans started their next drive at their own seven-yard line as Liam Tierney’s punt was downed by his own teammates. Homer marched to the Mustang 29-yard line before two holding penalties and a delay of game flag had the Trojans looking at second and 26 at the Marcellus 45. Yacavone’s fourth-down pass from Mustang 34 fell incomplete and Marcellus took over. The teams traded punts, with Marcellus gaining field position in the exchange, starting at the Homer 47-yard line with 2:40 left in the first half.
Mustang quarterback Brayton Johnson raced 27 yards on the first play and a later 13-yard completion on third down got Marcellus to the Homer seven-yard line. A major penalty on each team on back-to-back plays kept Marcellus at first down from the Homer 11-yard line. Johnson completed a third-down pass to Tierney to the Homer three.
On fourth down, the Mustangs went for the touchdown and not a field goal. Johnson was forced to scramble and eventually found Sean Tierney in the end zone for the touchdown with 15 seconds left in the half. The 2-point conversion failed, but Marcellus would lead 13-8 heading into halftime.
Neither team got anything going on their first drive of the second half. Homer used its second drive of the half to march 77 yards in 10 plays to retake the lead. Yacavone started the drive with a 17-yard run. He later completed a 38-yard pass to Lines to the Mustang 27. Andrew Van Patten carried the ball six of the last seven plays and scored on a three yard burst. The conversion attempt failed, but the Trojans led 14-13 with 2:26 left in the third quarter.
It wasn’t until late in the fourth quarter when Marcellus sealed its victory. The Mustangs took over on their own 41-yard line and needed just two plays and 16 seconds to score. Johnson broke free and run for 25 yards on the first play. On the next play, he escaped again and raced 34 yards for the touchdown. Johnson ran for the 2-point conversion to give Marcellus a 21-14 lead with 4:03 remaining.
“The mistakes that hurt the most were the ones where we shot ourselves in the foot,” Podsiedlik said. “Two missed assignments gave up two huge plays that weren’t touchdowns, one did lead to a touchdown. Those are the things we have to stop doing. Make sure you trust your teammates and we will have more success.
“There was a little edge to the Marcellus kids tonight in a good way. You beat Homer, you finally beat Homer and you can tell people that you’re a good football team. We just have to regroup and that will tell us a lot about our character.”
Thanks to runs of 20 and 21 yards by Yacavone, Homer got to the Marcellus 39-yard line, but the drive stalled and Marcellus regained possession with 2:05 to go. The Mustangs ran out the clock for the win.
Johnson led Marcellus with 20 carries for 163 yards while Seeley netted 108 yards on 11 carries. Johnson completed five-of-13 passing attempts for 37 yards.
Van Patten led the Homer ground game with 27 carries for 91 yards, his first game, under 100 yards this season. Yacavone ran for 55 yards on six carries while completing four-of-10 passing attempts for 61 yards. Marcellus outgained Homer 273-208 for the night on the ground.
Homer will have to win out to make the playoffs. The first step comes one week from today at Corcoran Stadium when Homer faces Syracuse Tech Central, 1 p.m.
“If we want to earn a right to go to the playoffs, we have to win the next two games,” Podsiedlik said. “Skaneateles, Westhill and Marcellus are now three of the four teams. We can only control Homer, so our goal is to get a win next week, get back to 3-3 and win week seven. 4 and 3 gets us in the playoffs and you move on.”