“We managed to keep our heads high,” said Feyerabend, who broke former Duke point guard and ex-Syracuse quarterback Greg Paulus’ state record for passing yards in a game. “It was a lot of fun.”
In a 2003 game against Auburn, Paulus, then a junior at Syracuse-CBA, set the state record for passing yards, going 30-for-50 for 543 yards.
“If you told me we were going to score 50, I’d have thought we’d have a good chance to win,” Microni said. “They’re just very impressive up front. You have to tip your caps to them. They’re solid all the way around. I’m glad we didn’t quit. We could have easily shutdown and scored our 12 at halftime and folded the tent. But our kids were like let’s get the ball back and score, let’s get the ball back and score. They were into it.”
So dominant were the Tigers in the first half that they scored on all seven of their offensive possessions — minus a kneel down on the final play of the half — and faced just one third down in doing so. They compiled 352 rushing yards and 380 total yards in the first half.
Linemen Zach Kelsey (6-foot-3, 236 pounds), Mike Metella (5-11, 216), Jake Howland (5-11, 202), Carter Jackson (6-0, 287) and Dylan Babcock (6-5, 230) opened holes so wide that many times Tioga backs weren’t touched until they were 15-20 yards down the field.
“The holes were huge, a lot of cutback lanes and a lot of room to run,” Manuel said.
Tioga’s first possession covered 83 yards in six plays. Manuel carried four times for 66 yards on the drive, which he capped with a 6-yard scoring run — an off-tackle play to the left during which he wasn’t touched. Quarterback Ryan Verguson’s two-point scoring run made it 8-0.
“Our linemen, we give them a lot of credit,” said Verguson, who swatted away a pass by Tyler Butler on the final play to seal Tioga’s 26-21 sectional semifinal win over Unatego last season. “They’re big guys and they try their hardest. They throw their bodies in the way for our little running backs. They do their jobs and, as you can see, it takes care of the scoreboard.”