By PETER MANCUSO
Lipani Lifts Block With Cadets For The Third Time
One of Hilton Coach Rich Lipani’s keys to the game coming into the Class A1 sectional championship was keeping the ball out of the hands of the Webster Schroeder offense and behind a stout offensive line and a dynamic running attack, his offense did just that. As the final horn sounded Hilton hoisted the Section Five Class A1 sectional block behind a convincing 40-7 win over Webster Schroeder (WS) at the Fairport High School football stadium.
Coming into the game both offenses were averaging over 34 points per game, while the Warriors defense had allowed less than seven point per contest. What was going to give in less than ideal conditions?
Early on, it looked like business as usual for the Warriors as they took the opening kick-off and six plays later jumped out to an early 7-0 lead. WS star QB Drew Pagano found WR Gavin Horton down the middle for 53 yards, taking the ball down deep into Cadet territory. Warriors RB Kaleb Juliano would soon follow with a 15 yard scamper through a hole and into the end zone for the touchdown.
Hilton answered right back, helped by the Schroeder kickoff going out of bounds and giving them favorable field position. Hilton’s Jeffrey Broadnax flashed some early game dominance, picking up nearly 50 yards on the ground before the Cadets’ drive stalled. Luca Dodge came in to kick a 27 yard field goal, putting Hilton on the board.
The Warriors’ second possession looked much like the first as Pagano found Torance Washington a few times and Webster Schroeder was on the move. But, a few penalties negated the momentum and the Warriors ended up turning the ball over on downs.
Hilton’s second possession of the game turned out to be the first turnover of the contest as Schroeder’s Washington picked off a Colton Thorp pass and the Warriors had the ball back looking to add to their lead. That is when Broadnax showed everyone in attendance he is not just a star running back. After a few completions by Pagano moved the ball to the Hilton 30, Broadnax intercepted Pagano on third down and the Cadets had the ball on offense for the third time.
This time, the t hunder of Broadnax and lightning of teammate Robert Lowry showed itself. Lowry opened the series with a 16-yard gain on a reverse then Broadnax grinded out the next 18 yards and a first down. Lowry followed with nine more before Broadnax plowed his way to Warriors 20 with nine of his own. All told, Hilton ran the ball for 69 yards on ten carries capped off by a Lowry one yard TD run and after a Dodge extra point, Hilton had a 10-7 lead.
It was a 10-7 Hilton lead heading into halftime as the Cadets defense allowed just one first down on the next Schroeder possession and kneeled out their fourth of the half to take the lead into intermission.
Hilton received the second half kick-off and wasted no time utilizing their two backfield stars. Once again, Broadnax and Lowry shared carries during the possession. Lowry took a third and nine carry from the Hilton 44 to the WS 20 for a 36 yard gain and the Cadets were back in the red zone. Three plays later Broadnax scored his first touchdown of the game with a seven yard rush right up the middle into the end zone. Dodge made the PAT and Hilton was now up 17-7.
Pagano and the Warriors looked to regain their offensive momentum on the next drive as he spread his completions around to a few different receivers. Faced with a crucial fourth and nine play, he found Washington for twelve yards, converting the first down and moving the ball into Cadet territory. Unfortunately for the Warriors, they wouldn’t get much further as a holding penalty put them in a tough down and distance and eventually they turned the ball over on downs at the Hilton 42.
Up ten with only 22.9 seconds left in the third quarter, the Hilton offense and the Schroeder defense knew exactly what was coming … more Broadnax and Lowry. Their fourth quarter lead nearly mirrored the 14-7 one they had back on September 2 when these two teams met in the first game of the season.
Broadnax and Lowry combined for 73 rushing yards over the next 12 plays ending with Broadnax barreling into the end zone for his second seven-yard touchdown of the championship game. Dodge connected for his third PAT on the night and Hilton had a 24-7 lead with 5:44 left to play in the game.
Dodge drove the next kickoff deep into Warriors territory and the returner was ruled down at the one yard line, giving Schroeder 99 yards to conquer if they were to cut into the Cadets lead with a touchdown of their own.
Unfortunately, Pagano had trouble catching the first snap of the drive and Hilton’s Conner Bellanca tackled him in the end zone for two points and a Hilton safety at 5:36 of the fourth quarter.
With Hilton set to receive the ball after the safety, time was running out on the Warriors.
And the duo of Broadnax and Lowry made sure of that. Starting on their own 28, the Cadets were in the end zone four plays later highlighted by Lowry’s 69 yard run to pay dirt and after another Dodge PAT, Hilton was up 33-7.
As the game came to a close, Hilton’s Cemel Grayson added a late touchdown when he recovered a fumble in the end zone, and the Cadets closed out Schroeder 40-7, capturing the elusive sectional title for Hilton and Coach Lipani.
Lowry finished the game with 218 yards on the ground via 18 carries and two touchdowns, while Broadnax added 138 yards on 26 carries and two touchdowns. The Cadets offense totaled 368 rushing yards on 46 carries. They came into the game averaging 220 yards on the ground
Broadnax and Lowry were smiling ear to ear in the post-game interviews, holding onto the sectional brick like they did the football the entire game. Both complimented each others abilities to get the tough yards throughout the game and smiled when they remembered they both scored twice in the sectional championship.
As one on-looking coach mentioned on the sideline as the game was coming to an end – this Hilton team will be tough to beat.
-Post game awards went to Hilton’s Karl Kuhns (Lineman of the Game), Webster Schroeder’s Torance Washington (Defensive Player of the Game), Hilton’s Robert Lowry (Offensive Player of the Game) and Hilton’s Jeffrey Broadnax (MVP of the Game)
-Hilton’s Brady Quill made ten tackles and Kuhns, in addition to opening huge holes on the Oline made five tackles on defense
-Cadets kicker Luca Dodge had an outstanding night, connecting on all five of his PAT’s and one field goal; he and WS kicker Jack Markovitz were blasting 40 plus yard field goals during the halftime intermission, getting acclimated to the conditions in case they were needed in the second half
-Hilton’s Broadnax and Lowry have combined for 30 rushing touchdowns this season
-Hilton’s last sectional football title was in 1994