SYRACUSE — The Homer Central varsity football team was down two players entering Friday night’s Section 3 B West Division game so the Trojans turned to its biggest strength.
With quarterback Dylan Yacavone and lineman Evan Morgan unavailable due to injuries, Homer ran the ball 59 times for 368 yards and five touchdowns to power the Trojans to a 35-26 win at Bishop Ludden. Homer improves to 2-2 in division and overall play. Bishop Ludden falls to 1-3 in the division and overall.
“It was a great team win,” Homer coach Gary Podsiedlik said. “We got hurt by Ludden’s passing game in the first half, but we made some adjustments at halftime and played better in the second half. We had kids playing in positions they weren’t used to. We sorted things out and did what we needed to do to win.”
Bishop Ludden scored first on a 51-yard pass from Nazier Kinsey to Antwon McMullen. The kick failed by the Gaelic Knights led 6-0 with 10:29 left in the opening quarter. Kinsey had a big game as the sophomore quarterback completed 14-of- 18 passing attempts for 250 yards and four touchdowns, plus one interception. McMullen caught nine passes for 157 yards and two touchdowns.
Homer pulled ahead 7-6 with 5:09 left in the quarter as Connor Matthews kicked the extra point after Andrew Van Patten dashed five yards for the touchdown. Van Patten carried the ball 29 times for 159 yards and three touchdowns.
Luke Pallone ran seven yards to open the second quarter with six points and a 13-6 advantage, but the Gaelic Knights responded through the air. Kinsey tossed scoring strikes of 15 and four yards to Odell Darby. Bishop Ludden took a 20-13 lead in the halftime locker room.
Homer made the defensive adjustments while the Trojan offense scored 22 unanswered points for a 35-20 advantage with 9:50 left in the game. Van Patten had a four yard touchdown dash and ran for the 2-point conversion. Logan Peck added a 33 yard run as the Trojans led 28-20 with 1:39 left in the third quarter. Peck finished the night with 18 carries for 156 yards. Van Patten crossed the goal line for the third time with 9:50 remaining in the game. His one-yard blast gave the Trojans a 35-20 lead.
After being shut out in the third quarter, Bishop Ludden closed the gap to 35-26 with 1:53 remaining in the game. Kinsey floated a six-yard touchdown pass to McMullen. The Gaelic Knights tried for the two-point conversion, but failed to make the final score 35-26.
Jake Calabro made his first varsity start at quarterback for Yacavone. The sophomore completed 1-of-2 passing attempts for 20 yards and a crucial second half first down.
Though Kinsey threw for 250 yards, the Trojan defense held Ludden to 52 yards on the ground and 10 first downs.
Homer will return to B West Division action next Friday with Home-Cort Jug battle against Cortland. It is also Home- coming for the Trojans. Kickoff is 7 p.m. on George Butts Field.