By JOHN LIKANJE
PERRY, N.Y. – Gabe Macdonald has adjusted to the quarterback position and fitted it into his style of play. After throwing only seven passes in last weekend’s victory, the 6-foot-3 senior slung five more from the pocket, Thursday night. That was more than enough as the Batavia-Notre Dame Fighting Irish offense exploded in a 64-3 victory over the Perry Yellowjackets.
“Gabe was going into the season as our starting running back,” Fighting Irish head coach Joe Zambito said. “Our quarterback got hurt in preseason. He broke his collarbone and won’t be back until Week 6 or 7. Gabe is a solid runner. He’s been able to throw the ball deep.”
Despite going 3-of-5 for 73 yards, two of Macdonald’s completions were touchdown passes – both of which came in a three-drive span.
The senior quarterback punished the Yellowjackets’ defense with three carries for 95 rushing yards and found paydirt twice in the first half. Two of Macdonald’s four touchdowns came on one-play drives as well.
“My team goes a second level,” Macdonald said. “They keep pushing. They don’t stop. It helps a lot when someone’s hanging on me.”
“I’ve been in the backfield for three years on varsity now.”
Jed Reese compiled 186 of his 250 rushing yards and two of his three touchdowns through the first 24 minutes of game play. The 5-foot-10 senior has started the season with back-to-back games of at least 200 yards and 458 total.
“He’s so fast, it’s insane,” Macdonald said about Reese. “It’s more of his ability to cut. People can’t see him. He’s just gone.”
“He’s come a long way this year,” Zambito said about his running back. “A lot of maturity on his part. He’s become one of the leaders of this football team. He can jump cut pretty nasty. He can leap guys and go through guys. Go around guys.”
Dylan Werner had eight carries for 103 yards and three touchdowns in the second half. The junior running back scrambled 81 yards to the house to extend the Fighting Irish advantage to 57-3 in the fourth quarter.
— John Mitchell Likanje Junior (@jml5798) September 13, 2019
Sophomore Cody Henry tallied 10 tackles to lead a Fighting Irish defense that blitzed the quarterback for seven sacks and a pair of interceptions. Macdonald had six tackles, a pick and a sack. Mark Sanders and Anthony Zambito compiled three tackles apiece.
The Fighting Irish broke out for 585 yards of offense and held the Yellowjackets to 97. Zambito’s squad found the end zone on 10 of their 12 drives. The Fighting Irish scored three of their 10 touchdowns on one-play drives as well.
“I think it shows more than anything that these guys love to play football,” Zambito said.
For Perry, junior quarterback Justice Fanaro was 8-of-18 for 80 yards. Senior Chalis Farmer kicked a 24-yard field goal for the Yellowjackets’ only points of the game.
Batavia-Notre Dame will host Red Jacket next Saturday at 1:30 p.m. Perry matches up with Cattaraugus/Little Valley (VI) Friday at 7 p.m.