Starpoint can clinch a playoff berth with win at Ken East next Saturday.
By John D'Onofrio Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
The playoff hopes of one team were lifted, while the Section VI Class A postseason aspirations of the other drifted away like the free Army T-shirts that bazookaed up and over the Starpoint High School football stands.
Spartans junior tailback Evan Majewski followed his garnet and gray hogs pay dirt four times Saturday, leading Starpoint past visiting North Tonawanda, 48-7, before a large and enthusiastic crowd on Homecoming.
With the win, head coach Al Cavagnaro's Spartans improved to 3-1 in A North (3-2 overall), and most importantly, place their playoff destiny squarely in their own hands. A win at Kenmore East next week and the Spartans clinch a playoff spot.
“Our offensive line has dominated two weeks in a row,” Cavagnaro said . “We rushed for 336 yards today and had 360 last week. It's 65 and his buddies,” he added, pointing to Spartans senior behemoth No. 65 Steve Wilde, who had another big day on both sides of the ball.
“You couldn't ask for a better homecoming,” said Wilde, a deserving candidate for the prestigious Trench Trophy.
Under sunny skies and the experienced eyes of Time Warner Cable television cameras and broadcasters for the first time in history (game will air at 8 p.m. Tuesday), the Spartans turned three Lumberjack turnovers into touchdowns, beginning with the opening kickoff, which junior pinball Matt Wetzel recovered at the Jacks' 39.
Five plays later and faithful Spartans senior back John Rudes (7 carries, 34 yards, TD; 1 catch, 38 yards) ran up the middle and into the end zone from three yards out through a hole Spartans' AD Tom Sarkovics could have driven his golf cart through, giving the hosts a 6-0 lead just 2:20 into the game.
Moments later, after NT went three and out, Majewski (27 carries, 164 yards, 4 TDs), capped a five-play, 63-yard drive by running in from three yards out. Senior quarterback Andrew Rankie (1-for-1, 38 yards) tossed a two-part conversion pass to Majewski to give the Spartans a 14-0 lead.
Both defenses stiffened, forcing punts, then late in the second quarter, the Jacks were poised to score as their talented sophomore quarterback Chris Woodard (8-for-15, 72 yards, TD) drove his team down to a first and goal at the Spartans' eight.
A short gain, a tackle by senior Bart Mazzara for no gain and a Wilde stop for a loss of two set the stage for the game's key play, a fourth and goal situation at the Starpoint 6, where sophomore Richard Duermeyer (6.5 tackles) sacked Woodard and the Spartans drove 85 yards to pay dirt, breaking the game open for good.
Starpoint drove 85 yards on just five plays, capped by Majewski's majestic run around the left side for a TD.
Starpoint senior Tony Hart recovered an NT fumble on the ensuing kickoff and on the very next play, junior fullback Julian Mott ran 15 yards up the middle for a TD. Majewski's conversion run made it 28-0.
NT finally got on board with under a minute to go in the half, driving 62 yards on 13 plays, capped by Woodward's well thrown pass in the corner of the end zone to senior receiver Ian Gilhousen (3 catches, 48 yards, TD). NT senior Luke Topolski added the point after kick, cutting the Spartans lead at halftime to 28-7.
Midway through the third, Starpoint drove 64 yards on six plays, as Majewski plowed in from a yard out.
Fourth quarter TD runs of five yards by Majewski and 11 yards by sophomore Austin Bratek, followed by two extra points by senior Connor Wells, rounded out the scoring.
Starpoint sophomore Richard Duermeyer had 6.5 tackles and a sack to lead the Spartans' defense. Wetzel also finished with 6.5 tackles
For the young, but talented Jacks (1-4 A North and overall), all post-season playoffs hopes have ended in 2012, but there's definitely hope for a brighter future for a team that features an outstanding sophomore quarterback and several other underclassmen who play above their years.
“We've got some growing pains right now, but I'm not going to use the excuse that we're young or we're injured. Starpoint did a great job against us today,” said NT head coach Tony Truilzio.