WHITESBORO — The Rome Free Academy football team took one on the chin on Saturday afternoon when the Black Knights lost 42-7 to host Whitesboro.
“Unfortunately after a short turnaround after our first game, a lot of our guys are sore,” RFA head coach Jake DerCola said postgame. “And with Whitesboro being a very physical team, and they pride themselves on that, it was very tough. I’m proud of our guys. They hung in there but you can tell that some of our guys were getting banged up and with the quick turnaround, it’s hard for the body to recover.”
RFA began its season last Tuesday with a 32-29 loss to visiting East Syracuse-Minoa.
Whitesboro opened the scoring on its first possession of the game.
Colin Skermont ran a quarterback draw and blew past the RFA defense for a 51-yard touchdown run. Anton Kichuk knocked through the first of six point after kicks to make it 7-0. Skermont’s touchdown run was set up after three rushes by Jeff Cubino and an earlier rush attempt by Skermont.
Rome’s first possession of the game ended quickly; two rushes by junior running back Dayton Kelly and then senior quarterback Evan DeLutis’s third down pass attempt was intercepted by Whitesboro senior Ryan Bushey.
Bushey’s interception set up the Warriors’ second score of the game.
Taking over at the RFA 29-yard line, Whitesboro used its physical rushing attack to work its way down to the 11-yard line. Cubino punched it in from there to give Whitesboro a 14-0 lead with 5:13 remaining in the opening quarter to cap off the five-play scoring drive.
The Whitesboro defense forced RFA to go three-and-out on its next possession and as the old adage goes, defense leads to offense, and the Warriors pushed their lead to three scores on the first play of the second quarter when Cubino powered in from eight yards out to extend the Warrior lead to 21-0.
The Black Knights were able to get points on the board before halftime.
On the first play of the drive DeLutis connected with senior wide receiver Alex Wells for a 29-yard gain, moving the ball from the Rome 13-yard line to its own 42. A Kelly run went for no gain, but on second down, junior running back Nevaeh Baez ran for a gain of nine, setting up a third-and-one. A false start penalty backed the Black Knights up to their own 46-yard line, setting up a third-and-six. DeLutis’ attempted pass fell incomplete, but on fourth down, he ran for the first to keep the drive alive.
Baez and Kelly ran the ball on first and second down with Baez’s run going for a loss of two and Kelly getting stopped in the backfield for a loss of one, to set up third-and-13 at midfield. DeLutis found a streaking Wells down the Rome sideline for a 50-yard touchdown. Peter Sciortino knocked in the extra point kick to make it a 21-7 game with 7:49 remaining in the first half.
Skermont and the Warriors scored with 11 seconds left before halftime when he hooked up with Kody Czternastek from 13 yards out to make it 28-7 at the break.
Whitesboro had second half rushing touchdowns from Cubino and Stephen Dorozynski to cap off the scoring.
RFA drops to 0-2 on the shortened season and will host Holland Patent on Saturday afternoon at 1:30.
“We’re not looking at what size school, or what their record is. We’re just looking at our next opponent,” DerCola said of the Golden Knights. “We just need to focus on doing the little things right. If we do those, we’ll come out with a victory. It’s like I keep telling them: make the basic plays. That’s what we’re looking to do. Make the plays we’re asking you to. We’re not asking you to be superheroes, just make the basic plays.”