VOL 124 NO. 31
CBA swats Bees
By Luke Eggleston/ SUN staff writer
Defending state champs 2-0 after win over B’ville in the Dome
With one quick strike, the Christian Brothers Academy varsity football team was off to the races Sunday on the Carrier Dome’s fast field-turf surface.
Baldwinsville’s defense had forced a third and 8 on the Brothers’ 29-yard line when junior quarterback Mike Paulus targeted sophomore wide receiver Marcus Sales for a 71-yard touchdown pass. At the goal line, Baldwinsville defensive back Tyler Vincent appeared to strip the ball, but Sales eliminated all doubt when he recovered it in the end zone. After Kris Estabrook put the ball through the uprights for the point after, CBA led 7-0 and was en route to a 34-6 victory.
CBA coach Joe Casamento thought the early touchdown on third and long deflated Baldwinsville’s morale somewhat in the Kickoff Classic tilt.
“We hit them right away. We scored early,” he said, adding that the quarterback legacy Paulus had shown considerable improvement regarding reading the opponents’ defense, enabling CBA to present a more balanced attack. “I think Mike Paulus did a little better job of reading the secondary today…You can’t really load up to stop the run because we can beat you throwing the ball deep.”
Paulus was 16-of-27 passing for 320 yards and two touchdowns.
The quarterback’s performance complemented a strong showing by CBA’s offensive and defensive lines, which overpowered Baldwinsville’s traditionally rugged linemen. Casamento acknowledged that at least on Sunday, the Brothers were more physical.
“I thought today we were. I don’t know that we would always be but today I thought we seemed to have worn them down a little bit,” the coach said.
On offense, the line opened up large holes for Jovan Miller, who paced CBA’s rushing attack with 96 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries. Miller also recorded 69 receiving yards.
CBA scored twice more in the first half, once on a 10-yard pass from Paulus to Matt Kinnan at the 8:36 mark in the second quarter and then again on a 1-yard run by Greg Khanzadian with 1:36 to go in the half.
The Brothers nearly improved their advantage by another touchdown at the close of the half when Miller reeled in a short pass and then evaded a shoestring tackle on the goal line. The officials ruled that Miller had stepped out of bounds at the 3-yard line, however, and CBA failed to convert the touchdown opportunity with 25 seconds remaining in the half.
CBA was no less dominant in the second half. After forcing Baldwinsville to another three and out, CBA executed a five-play drive culminating in a one-yard touchdown run by Miller.
The Brothers’ lone gaffe on offense occurred in the third quarter. Paulus scrambled to his left, but was tracked down and wrapped up by Baldwinsville defensive lineman Tim Gravius, who forced the ball free. Brandon Card scooped up the fumble and ran it in for a touchdown.
CBA promptly bounced back, emphasizing its running game and keeping Baldwinsville’s offense off of the field.
The Brothers scored their final touchdown with one minute remaining in the third quarter. Miller ran to the left side of the field on a sweep play and then bounced back in toward the hash marks, negotiating a path among would-be tacklers on his way to the end zone.
Last year, CBA’s defense languished in the shadows while its all-state offensive players grabbed the headlines. Sunday revealed a Brothers team that will be able to rely on stifling defense.
“We’re very proud of it [our defense],” Casamento said. “We fly around a little bit and we run pretty well on ‘D’ so right now we’re hoping that can hold us together until our offense matures and we expect to put pressure on people with our offense.”
Casamento believes that his team has the potential for great things, but stressed that it is still very young and inexperienced.
“I thought we played very well today. We’ve got a lot of young kids out there and every week that we get a chance to go out there and do some new things and when it’s no longer new to them we’ll get better,” he said. “We’re hopeful that we can be very good. We’re talented but we’re still very young.”
With the win, CBA improved to 2-0 on the young season in both Class AA-1 play and overall. In its season opener at Corcoran, CBA defeated a strong Cougars squad 25-3. The Brothers’ next game is Friday when they host West Genesee at 7 p.m.
Baldwinsville fell to 0-1 in league play and 1-1 overall. The Bees next game is Friday when they host Auburn at 7 p.m.