Brothers Hold Off Fulton

Christian Brothers Academy stops Red Raiders 31-27 in sectional title game

Fulton has yet to figure out how to beat Christian Brothers Academy. Sophomore Greg Paulus threw for over 180 yards and three touchdowns, while running for a score as the Brothers defeated Fulton 31-27 for the Section III Class A championship on Nov. 10 at the Carrier Dome. The win gave CBA its sixth consecutive sectional title since 1997.

The Red Raiders jumped out to an early lead on the legs of junior Ryan Hanson. A 45-yard run by Hanson highlighted the Fulton drive that took 5 minutes and 30 seconds. The drive ended with a 1-yard touchdown run by Fulton quarterback Collin Blake, giving the Red Raiders a 7-0 lead with six and a half minutes left in the first quarter.

Behind early, CBA went to the shotgun and Paulus delivered. After their opening drive stalled, the Brothers mounted an attack against the tough Fulton defense. Using quick passes, CBA moved the ball to midfield as the first quarter ended. In the second quarter, Paulus hooked up with senior Matt Whyland for a 16-yard pass to the Fulton 16. A personal foul by Fulton added additional yards onto the play, giving CBA first and goal. After two uneventful plays, Paulus found Whyland in the end zone for the touchdown to tie the game at 7-7 two minutes into the second quarter.

Behind early, CBA went to the shotgun and Paulus delivered. After their opening drive stalled, the Brothers mounted an attack against the tough Fulton defense. Using quick passes, CBA moved the ball to midfield as the first quarter ended. In the second quarter, Paulus hooked up with senior Matt Whyland for a 16-yard pass to the Fulton 16. A personal foul by Fulton added additional yards onto the play, giving CBA first and goal. After two uneventful plays, Paulus found Whyland in the end zone for the touchdown to tie the game at 7-7 two minutes into the second quarter.

Fulton would retake the lead on its next possession. Two long passes by Blake, the last one a 36-yard strike to senior Billy Hoyt put the Red Raiders at the CBA 1-yard line. Hanson rumbled in from there, putting Fulton back on top 14-7 with 5:35 left in the half.

CBA wasted little time in tying the score. Paulus hit Whyland with a 26-yard pass on first down from the 50-yard line with 3:33 left to move the Brothers down to the Fulton 24. After a time out, Paulus hit senior Lavar Lobdell with a 23-yard pass down to the Red Raiders’ 1-yard line. Paulus dove in for the touchdown on the next play, knotting the score at 14-14 with 3:23 left in the period.

Fulton’s next drive was three plays and a punt, leaving CBA with one last chance before halftime to score again. The Brothers worked the two-minute drill to perfection. CBA went 52 yards in eight plays to take its first lead, 21-14, with 34 seconds left in the half. The big play on the drive was an 11-yard pass from Paulus to sophomore Bruce Williams, moving the ball to the Fulton 4. CBA scored on the next snap, as Paulus found Whyland for the duo’s second touchdown of the night. In the first half, Paulus was 14 for 20 passing for 133 yards and two touchdowns in the air and one on the ground. Whyland had five catches for 70 yards and two scores.

The momentum was with the Brothers going into the second half. An injury to Blake late in the quarter changed Fulton’s game plan in the second half. The running game couldn’t get going as CBA made adjustments to stop Hanson.

The Brothers took the opening kickoff of the third quarter for another score. Led by senior co-captain David Greenky’s 29-yard burst, the Brothers moved the ball with ease. After failing to convert on third down CBA settled for a 27-yard field goal by senior Luke Barrett, extending its lead to 24-14 early in the third quarter.

Still feeling the effects of the injury, Blake became a pocket passer rather than the dangerous mobile quarterback the Brothers saw in the first half. The CBA secondary adjusted and picked off Blake on the Red Raiders’ next possession. But the Brothers were unable to capitalize on the mistake. Paulus was intercepted by Fulton and the drive ended. However, the Red Raiders fumbled the ball away immediately, giving CBA the ball at the Fulton 20. This time, Paulus would make them pay, finding senior Bill Kearney in the back of the end zone. With two minutes left in the quarter, CBA was ahead 31-14. The Brothers had scored 24 unanswered points since Fulton had a seven-point lead midway through the second quarter. But Fulton refused to die. The Red Raiders went back to the ground attack and Hanson rolled up more yards. The senior back had 50 yards on nine carries during the Fulton possession, getting within inches of the goal line. On the next play, Blake scored on a quarterback sneak, cutting CBA’s lead to 31-21 with 7:34 to play in game. Fulton was still two possessions from tying the game, and needed a break.

CBA needed to manufacture a big drive to keep Fulton from regaining possession. Time and time again, Paulus bailed CBA out with his pin-point passing and aggressive scrambling, keeping the clock ticking. On third and seven from the CBA 33, Paulus found Whyland for 12 yards and a first down with 3:09 left. After the sophomore quarterback gained 10 yards on a run for a first down, Paulus got another first down with less than a minute left, sealing the victory for the Brothers.

CBA head coach Joe Casamento said the sectional title victory was tough, because Fulton refused to go away.

“This was the hardest win for us. We had to do a lot of coaching and reach back for subs that don’t usually see playing time,” Coach Casamento said. “It’s nice to win this way. These kids played with a tremendous amount of heart.”

CBA won the title despite having four players suspended because of violating school policy. Coach Casamento said it hurts not to have those players in uniform, but he understands that they needed to be disciplined for their actions.

“There is a lot of love for those guys. They are still family,” Coach Casamento said.

Greenky said the win was “extra special.”

“We overcame a lot of adversity, but this team has a lot of leadership and is great bunch of guys. We always kept it positive and came through it. You have to stick together,” Greenky added.

CBA moves on to play in the New York State playoffs next week.

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