OTEGO — In a microcosm of its season, Unatego started slowly Friday night, but once the Spartans found their stride the improvement was dramatic.
The Spartans scored twice late in the first half and then poured it on after halftime en route to a 42-14 Section Four Football Conference victory over once-beaten Deposit/Hancock that clinched their second straight Division V title.
Sophomore quarterback Josh Feyerabend was in the middle of all it, rushing for three touchdowns, throwing two more scoring passes and kicking a 37-yard field goal, to boot.
Following a 54-13 drubbing at the hands of perennial power Chenango Forks in Week 1, the Spartans (5-1, 4-0) have rolled off five consecutive victories.
“I don’t think anyone would have picked us (to win the division title) out of the get-go,” said Unatego coach Frank Microni, whose team graduated a boatload of seniors – Daily Star Player of the Year Tyler Butler included in that group – following a 6-3 season a year ago that ended with a 26-21 loss to eventual state semifinalist Tioga. “Nobody knew who these guys were. We lost a lot. We went into the season and tried to adjust to what we had.”
Microni’s squad seemed at a loss offensively over the first quarter-and-a-half Friday. The Spartans’ first four drives ended with two punts, an interception and turning the ball over on downs. They made one first down during that span.
But on their opening possession of the second quarter, Unatego drove 60 yards in 13 plays for the game’s first score. Included in the march was a half-yard gain by Feyerabend on a quarterback sneak on fourth-and-inches from midfield, and a 6-yard keeper by Feyerabend off the left side on a fourth-and-3 from Deposit’s 21.
Two plays later, Feyerabend scored from 8 yards on a keeper right, receiving a key downfield block by Ryan Marszal, to give the Spartans a 6-0 lead with 5:08 left in the first half.