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September 11, 2010

 

Trojans step up

Big second half stops Solvay

Football

Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
Homer’s Andy Parker (35) stiff-arms Solvay’s Mark Schafer (2) on a first quarter misdirection play Friday night at Butts Field. Parker rushed for three touchdowns in the 33-6 Trojans’ victory.

By TOM VARTANIAN
Staff Writer

It was some old-time, smash-mouth football as only Homer Central and the Solvay Bearcats know how to play Friday night at George Butts Field.
After being held to 56 yards of total offense in the first half by a tenacious Bearcats defense, senior halfback Cody Sandy rushed for 109 second-half yards and senior fullback-tailback Andy Parker added 88 yards and three touchdowns on just nine carries as the Trojans beat visiting Solvay 33-6 in a Section 3 Class B West Division encounter.
The Trojans rushed for 233 second half yards to make this Hall of Fame evening a happier occasion, improving to 2-0 in the division and overall. Solvay falls to 1-1.
“I just had to step up,” said Parker after leading the big second half by the Trojans. “I’m a senior this year. It’s my last year and I’ve played three years. I knew we had to turn it around in the second half, so I stepped up.
“We shot ourselves in the foot too many times in the first half,” he added. “We put it together in the second half. The scoreboard tells it all.”
Homer fumbled the ball away on one drive in the first half and twice Solvay picked off errant Trojan passes.
The Trojan defense was tough all night, however, with only a fourth-down gimmick play accounting for the six Solvay points. That play was a halfback-option pass by sophomore John Savo to senior Ryan Bidwell for a 28-yard touchdown with 8:37 left in the first half.
Savo added 76 rushing yards in the first half, with 54 of those coming on one long run where Parker made a touchdown-saving tackle at the Trojans’ 20-yard line late in the first quarter when the game was still scoreless.
Homer held Solvay to 98 yards in offense in the first half and 197 yards for the game. Senior quarterback Ronn Bidwell completed just 6-of-21 passing attempts for 57 yards after throwing for 172 yards the week before. He was sacked four times and hurried countless other times. His final two passes were intercepted by Hunter Osborne.
The first Osborne pickoff came in the Trojan end zone with 8:07 left in the game and Homer leading 21-6. The second Osborne interception came four minutes later and was returned 52 yards by the senior for the final Homer touchdown of the night.
“We knew the secondary would have to step up in the second half,” Osborne said. “We talked about it at halftime. We came through when it was needed.
“The first half was unacceptable for us,” he continued. “We are a knock-you-on-your-butt team and we didn’t always do that in the first half. We stepped it up in the second half and got the win.”
THE TROJANS MADE one subtle change in the secondary for the game. Osborne moved to cornerback and Dyson Sprouse moved to safety. The put Osborne on Bidwell and the move paid off.
Senior linebacker Frank Davis had a solid first half in helping hold Solvay to just 15 additional yards outside of Savo’s big run and touchdown pass.
“Coach always says to run to the ball,” Davis explained. “If one guy misses, someone else needs to be right there. We try to get eight or nine guys around the ball every play. We call that roll call. We need to do that in the first half like we do in the second half.
“We just work hard in practice every day,” he added. “We want to accomplish big things this season. The coaches do a great job and they tell us to give 100 percent every play whether we do it right or not. They just encourage us to do our best.”
A big turning point came early in the third quarter when Savo went down with a leg injury and never returned.
“When Savo goes down it hurts,” said Solvay coach Phil Merrill. “He’s an athlete. It’s like losing three or four guys with all the things he does. He’s very special for a sophomore.
“We wore down in the second half,” he continued. “The numbers game caught up with us. We walk a very fine line if we don’t get a break. We did play with a lot of heart and I was proud of that. The score wasn’t an indication of how hard theses two teams hit each other.”
Trailing 6-0, Homer held Solvay on the first possession of the second half. The snap went over Savo’s head, but it recovered and delivered a 37-yard punt that rolled dead at the Homer 18-yard line.
On the first play, Sandy broke off a 34-yard run to the Solvay 48 where Savo went down for the first time. Quarterback Thomas Austin had a big scramble out of trouble and gained 18 yards later in the drive to get the ball to the Solvay 15. Two plays later, Parker capped the seven-play drive with an 11-yard touchdown run to knot the score at 6-6.
On the ensuing kickoff, Savo went down for good after a nine-yard return. The Trojan defense held and Paul Clisson had to punt instead of Savo. from his own 24. Clisson was rushed and his punt only traveled to the Bearcat 40 before the ball bounced backwards and rolled dead at the Solvay 25 for a one-yard punt.
ON THE VERY next play, Parker broke free for the 25-yard scoring romp and Homer took the lead for good. Parker added the two-point conversion run for a 14-6 advantage with 5:50 left in the third quarter.
The Bearcats drove into Trojan territory, but the drive stalled at the 36-yard line. Homer got the ball back and Sandy began the eight-play scoring drive with a 22-yard scamper to the Solvay 42. Sandy added a 20-yard dash on second-and-16 from the Bearcat 36 and and facemask penalty set the ball at the eight yard line. Two plays later, Parker powered into the end zone for the third time and his seven-yard burst put Homer on top 21-6 with 11:17 let in the game.
The next Solvay drive ended with Osborne’s previously-mention interception in the end zone. The Trojans marched 80 yards in seven plays for a 27-6 cushion with 4:23 to play. Parker gained 35 yards during the drive and Conner Johnston added a big 13-yard blast, but it was Sandy who capped the drive with a 30-yard dash to the end zone.
After the kickoff, Bidwell tried to hit his twin brother Ryan, but Osborne picked the ball off at the Homer 48 and returned it for the final touchdown of the game.
The Trojans almost scored again on the kickoff when the ball scooted by the middle return guys and rolled all the way to the Solvay one-yard line where Clisson just fell on the ball. Pinned one-yard from their own goal-line, Solvay’s second offense just ran the ball and killed the clock while the Trojan White (second team) defense gave up a couple of first downs, but contained any big plays as the t clock counted down to :00.
Homer will spend this week preparing to host Marcellus this coming Friday evening at Butts Field. The Mustangs lost a heart-breaking 9-7 decision to visiting Westhill last night.

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