Eric Coley’s monster game pushed the Fayetteville-Manlius Hornets to another level and helped them secure the 59-39 victory over the Henninger Black Knights, marking their first away win of the year.
But it wasn’t easy for F-M. There were constant cramps that would worsen as the game aged, there was a home crowd that refused to give up on their team, and then you had the Henninger offense that wouldn’t let up.
The moist weather conditions that featured off-and-on rain didn’t help the cramps. There were constantly teammates helping one another stretch out throughout the game, but, especially in the fourth quarter.
Coley was among the F-M players who would experience cramps throughout the game. He would keep on doing his thing despite the cramps and found a way to challenge himself and used it to set an example for his teammates.
When he took a play off in the middle of the fourth quarter, the trainer and a coach asked him if he would be able to go for the remainder of the game. He responded by looking up at the scoreboard and saying that “there’s only four minutes left, I’ll be fine”.
By refusing to exit the game, by having that “mind over matter” mentality, Coley demonstrated a very unique type of leadership. He silently sent a message and told his teammates that he wasn’t stopping until the clock had zeroes across it and neither should they.
The cramps wouldn’t stop him from being the dominant player he has been throughout the season. His final statistics included a whooping 405 rushing yards. On top of rushing for one-fifth of a mile, Coley scored five touchdowns and created opportunities for his teammates.
One of F-M’s junior running backs, Brody Phelan, piggybacked on Coley’s performance and scored a touchdown while rushing the ball five times and averaging five yards per carry.
Quarterback Henry Josephson and his receivers took advantage of the productive running game that opened up the field. Josephson finished 4-6 with 108 passing yards that included touchdown passes to Ryan Cicci and Ben Welling.
For the most part, the Hornets had a good game from a defensive standpoint. They punched Henninger right in the face in the first quarter, as they teamed up with their offense and ended up winning the quarter 26-0.
Other than a few slip-ups in the second and third quarters, F-M’s defense was dominant and disruptive. On top of making the wide receivers work harder in order to get open, they did a very good job of pressuring and testing Henninger’s offensive line and forced the quarterback outside the pocket on multiple occasions.
F-M’s win over Henninger was a team effort that included a play where running back Luke Hamel jumped in front of me as momentum carried a Black Knight my way.