RED RAMS NIP WARRIORS 7-6-ADVANCE TO SECTION III CLASS A FINAL
Warriors running back Matt Fellito (30) dives into the pile for a second quarter touchdown.
Jeff Pexton-MHTS/PGI Photo
The Whitesboro Warriors probably couldn’t have scripted tonight’s Section III, Class “A” football playoff game against Jamesville-DeWitt much better if they tried.
The Warriors, looking to return to the Section III finals for the fourth time in as many years, almost did precisely what they needed to do to win tonight’s matchup in front of the huge crowd, in a game played on the turf in Chittenango.
Whitesboro kept the highly proficient J-D offensive unit off the field for most of the first half (just 3 first downs in the first 24 minutes) and essentially tamed the running back tandem of Rasheed Baker and Josiah Williams for most of the night.
In fact, the Warriors held the heralded Rams offense to just 204 total yards for the game.
Tonight it was Williams’ defensive efforts, not his offensive swagger, that led his Rams to a heart pounding 7-6 win and a ticket to the Section final next week in the Carrier Dome.
Two key fourth quarter interceptions by Williams stymied Whitesboro’s chances, late in the game, and his second quarter solo tackle of Warriors running back Matt Fellito, on a two point conversion run attempt, made the difference in this defensive battle of the body blows.
Jamesville-DeWitt entered tonight’s action as the #1 seed for the playoffs and undefeated at (8-0) overall and (4-0) in the Class “A” American Division.
The Rams have also averaged nearly 34 points per game, while achieving the #11 ranking in the latest New York State Class A Poll.
The Red Rams looked like they were going to live up to all the hype when they scored on their opening offensive possession of the ball game, going 67 yards on 11 plays and taking 6:23 off the clock in the first quarter, before Ben Honis bounced in from the 6 yard line to make it 6-0 J-D.
Kaalar Winn chipped in the extra point to give the Red Rams a 7-0 lead, with 2:32 remaining in the opening quarter.
Whitesboro reaped some benefit from all of their hard defensive play early in the second quarter, when the “Big Blue Wrecking Crew” defense forced the Rams to a three and out with 9:11 to go in the second stanza.
Jamesville-DeWitt’s punt went off the side of Josiah Williams’ foot and resulted in net loss of six yards, setting Whitesboro up with a first and ten at the Rams 39 yard line.
Senior running backs Nick Carzo and Matt Fellito provided the Warriors a one two punch on the Warriors ensuing possession, then junior quarterback Bodhi Forbes made two solid pass completions during the drive, one to Alex Dryer and one to Joel Jakubowicz, to get Whitesboro to the one yard line with time winding down in the first half.
Matt Fellito dove over the top of the pile, for a Warriors touchdown on 3rd and goal with just 16.4 seconds remaining in the first half.
What happened next would have an enormous impact on the outcome of this playoff football game. The Warriors opted to attempt a two point conversion to take the lead, instead of trying a game tying extra point kick.
Bodhi Forbes took the snap from senior center Vinny LaGuardia and tossed the ball to a sweeping Matt Fellito, who was met almost immediately in the backfield by Josiah Williams for a 3 yard loss on the play and Jamesville-DeWitt held a one point lead going into the intermission.
Whitesboro’s two point conversion try may have been more an act of necessity than it was a move to take the lead, as the Warriors have only made 4 extra points through 8 previous games this season.
The defensive showcase continued in the second half, with most of the action being played between the 30 yard lines.
The Warriors appeared to be driving and headed for a score late in the fourth quarter when Josiah Williams stopped the #4 seeded Warriors in their tracks.
On first and 10 from the Jamesville-DeWitt 34 yard line with 5:46 remaining in the ball game, Forbes rolled to his right and launched a pass in the direction of wide receiver Johnny Jweid, but Williams stepped in front of Jweid and intercepted the pass at the Rams 10 yard line.
Whitesboro stopped the Rams ensuing possession and took over on their own 35 yard line with 1:43 to go and one timeout in the cupboard.
On the very first play from scrimmage, Whitesboro tried a half back option pass with running back Nick Carzo launching a long pass down field, but Williams hauled in his second pick of the 4th quarter to seal the deal for the Red Rams.
Whitesboro finished the night with 172 yards of total offense, with Matt Fellito leading the way on the ground with 67 yards on 20 carries and a touchdown.
The Warriors finish the season with an overall record of (6-3).
Jamesville DeWitt improves to (9-0) overall and will take on #2 seed Nottingham in the Carrier Dome next week. Nottingham was a 48-26 winner over #3 seed Indian River tonight.
Jamesville-Dewitt 7 Whitesboro 6
1 2 3 4 Final
Whitesboro 0 6 0 0 6
J-D 7 0 0 0 7