So what do you get when you add 157 and 67?
If you’re me, you come up with 124.
You’re reading that right, I forgot to carry the “1” while tallying Unatego sophomore quarterback Josh Feyerabend’s first-half numbers during halftime of the Spartans’ 32-30 victory over visiting Sidney on Friday.
That’s how I shorted Feyerabend 100 passing yards.
Let the booing commence over my bone-headed error.
There was Feyerabend, putting together perhaps the finest statistical half of football by a quarterback in Section Four history and he doesn’t get credit for it in this publication because I can’t add.
Profound apologies to Feyerabend, a young man who threw for 330 yards and four touchdowns during Friday’s first half and finished with 366 passing yards.
My only defense for missing what would seem to be such an obvious mistake is that since I started covering high school football in 1991, I’m not sure I’ve seen a quarterback throw for as many as 230 yards in a half.
So when I wrote on my stat sheet at halftime: “No. 5 (Feyerabend) 13-22, 230 yards, 4 TDs, 1 int” those numbers jumped off the page at me.
Though there’s no way of checking, I’d be willing to bet that no quarterback in Section Four has thrown for 330 yards in a half.
To show just how impressive Feyerabend’s performance was Friday night, when former Sidney quarterback Dylan Umbra threw for a single-season Section Four-record 2,594 yards in 2010, his best single game output that season was 339.
The strong-armed Feyerabend nearly topped that in the first half.
And this from a guy starting his second game at quarterback.
“He throws a good deep ball, but he has guys who can go up and get it, too,” Unatego coach Frank Microni said of Feyerabend. “He’s got a lot to learn. Playing quarterback is not easy, especially in this style of offense. He has a read on every play, run or pass. There’s definitely a learning curve.”
Sidney coach Jeff Matthews said Feyerabend’s performance didn’t surprise him.
“Last week, we saw him do similar things against Forks,” Matthews said of Unatego’s 54-13 loss in its opener. “He just had more opportunities. He threw two great balls against Forks, so we knew he could do that.”
Even 10 years ago, if anyone would have suggested that Sidney and Unatego would employ four-receiver sets while running no-huddle offenses, those around that person likely would have been waiting for the punchline.
But in front of a large turnout Friday night, the Warriors and Spartans used offensive schemes so similar that if you asked Feyerabend or counterpart Patrick Vibbard to run the other side’s offense it wouldn’t have been a problem — once they learned the terminology.
Both operated out of pistol formations; Feyerabend completed passes to six receivers, Vibbard hit five receivers; Feyerabend went 16-for-32, Vibbard finished 19-for-36; and they combined for throw for 631 yards.
“Football has changed the past 10 years,” said Walton coach Jim Hoover, whose 2-0 team will host Unatego on Saturday. “Teams are spreading you out and you have to have athletes to match up with their athletes. Hopefully, we can do that.”
Microni is in his fourth year as Unatego’s coach. He said when he was an assistant for current Oneonta High coach John Mushtare at Unatego about eight years ago, those two starting talking about changing the Spartans offense.
“When we were there, we started with a Delaware wing T,” said Mushtare, who led the Spartans from 2004-06. “Then we started spreading it out and running more option. Since that time, Frank has really run with the option theme. It’s an offense that allows them to compete against bigger teams. Look at them last year. I don’t know the stats, but they didn’t have any huge guys and they scored all sorts of points and competed at a high level.”
Microni said he switched to a spread offense to take advantage of the Spartans’ strengths. He said Unatego regularly produces enough quality athletes to compete, but it doesn’t have a lot of large bodies.
“We’re rarely bigger (than our opponents), so it’s hard to run that power game,” Microni said. “The evolution of football with the read option and throwing allows us to compete. We have a lot of guys with heart, but they’re not as big as most teams. We try to get our skill guys in space and let our linemen move.”
Two of Unatego’s best athletes, senior Kellen Komeda and junior Tanner Winchester, flourished in the system Friday night.
Komenda used his speed to rush five times for 83 yards and catch four passes for 134 more — the best coming on a fingertip grab in the first quarter that covered 44 yards and set up the Spartans’ second touchdown. Winchester scored on a 31-yard run around left end in the first quarter and made five grabs for 112 yards.
For as well as Feyerabend and Vibbard ran their offenses Friday, both should have learned one valuable lesson: Throwing late over the middle rarely turns out well.
All three of Vibbard’s interceptions — a first-quarter pick by Shane Bucci, a second-quarter pick by Ryan Marszal and a fourth-quarter pick by Lucas DeJoy — came on late throws over the middle.
Feyerabend’s second interception also came on a late throw over the middle that was caught by Dillon Rutenber in the third quarter.
Hoover needs five
Walton coach Jim Hoover, in his 38th season, is five wins away from becoming the fifth high school football coach in New York state history to amass 300 victories.
Ahead of Hoover are former Bethpage coach Howie Vogts (364), St. Francis Prep’s Vin O’Connor (332), former Shenendehowa coach Brent Steuerwald (318), and Somers’ Tony DeMatteo (303).
Delhi coach Dave Kelly is eighth on the list with 269 wins. He’s been coaching the Bulldogs since 1966.
Oneonta High will play its first home game with Mushtare as head coach at 7 p.m. Friday against Susquehanna Valley in a Section Four Football Conference Division II game.
The Yellowjackets have been outscored, 101-14, in losses at Elmira and at Norwich to start the season. SV (1-1) is coming off a 21-13 loss to Johnson City.
Also Friday, Bainbridge-Guilford (0-2) is at Deposit/Hancock (1-1) in a Division V game; Delhi visits Unadilla Valley for a Division V game pitting a pair of 0-2 squads; and Sidney (1-1) travels to Oxford (0-2) for a Division VI game.
In addition to the key Division V game between Unatego (1-1) and Walton (2-0), Cooperstown (0-2) travels to Dolgeville on Saturday.
Rob Centorani covers high school football for The Daily Star. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.